The start of building of Middleham Castle can be traced to 1190, by Robert Fitzrandolph, 3rd Lord of Middleham and Spennithorne, and is best known these days as the childhood home of Richard III.
Located in Wenselydale (Yes, like the cheese.) in Northern Yorkshire, the castle is surrounded by a small village and the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.
In 1270, Middleham became the property of the Neville family (Earl of Warwick) and from what I can find remained their possession until the reign of James I when it was sold. The structure then fell into ruin during the 17th century and became what it is today, but the ruins are beautiful and a lot of fun to ramble around.
When visiting Middleham, there is no car park for the property, so parking is on the street, where permitted, and in the local car park. There is also no toilet/restroom facilities in the castle itself, so if you need the loo, then you must walk to the town’s public facilities as with six people we learned rather quickly.
The castle appears compact from the outside, but is actually rather large when you go within the walls. The rooms were a good size, and there is a repaired spiral staircase that can take you up to the roof where there are some amazing views of the local countryside and give you an aerial view of some of the internal structures within the castle.
There are wells that can still be viewed as well as the old ovens in the kitchen and the remains of the old horse mill, which are really fascinating. The Great Hall can be seen from above as well as the cellars beneath due to the missing floor.
There is an English Heritage gift shop just after you walk through the Keep with the usual fare as well as a 15th century replica of the Middleham jewel that is on display for visitors to view.
I will say my children loved this castle. They tend to like ruins and places where they can run around, and despite Middleham’s age, it is a pretty good spot for that. Fortunately, mine aren’t so young that I have to worry about the steps, which would be of concern with parents of toddlers. 🙂
4 thoughts on “Middleham Castle”
So glad you liked Middleham. Have you been to Leicester to see Richard III Centre? If not, i would highly recommend it. Hope you like Bath, The Royal Crescent and The Jane Austen Centre
I haven’t seen the Richard III centre yet. I’ll have to see about checking that out! Thanks!
Midlleham Castle is a fascinating place isn’t it? I was born and brought up in Leicester but have lived most of my life in North Yorkshire, so I guess you could say I have a double connection with Richard III. He spent some of the years of his youth at Middleham under the care of his cousin, Richard Neville 16th Earl of Warwick, known as The Kingmaker. I’d love to visit the new centre, next to Leicester Cathedral, that Michelle mentions.
Near Middleham, there’s another place worth a visit, which you may not have heard of. It’s called The Forbidden Corner, described as a “unique labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, follies and surprises”. It’s not open all year round and you have to book your arrival time in advance, as they have a limit on the number of visitors they’re allowed. I think your children would really enjoy it if you find time to get back up here in the future.
As you mention, Wensleydale is also famous for it’s cheese and the Wensleydale Creamery at Hawes has a visitor centre, shop and café. You can see the cheese being made and buy all sorts of different flavoured Wensleydale cheeses in the shop. Wensleydale with cranberries is my favourite and the one with ginger runs a close second. There are quite a few others!
Thanks for sharing your travels again.
Oh! Cassandra Grafton mentioned The Forbidden Corner to me! We saw the signs but had no idea what it was. I did enjoy Middleham Castle though. I find what’s left really interesting. It seems a lot of the castles and ruins are all different in some way. There’s always something that sets them apart. I just need to blog it all right when I get back. The longer I wait, the harder it is to get everything in that I would include when I first go!
I have to admit that I’m not a fan of Wensleydale cheese, but I love the name from Wallace and Gromit. Wallace is such a cheese fiend. I just think it’s so funny when the one female character in one of the short films (I’m blanking on the name at the moment) says that she can’t eat cheese because it breaks her out in a rash, and Wallace says, “Not even Wensleydale?” Product of my weird sense of humour I guess. 😉