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The 10 best castles in Devon

best castles in devon

Explore the best castles in Devon

Looking for the best castles in Devon? Look no further! These are places that I have loved visiting with my family and I hope that this post encourages you to check them out too. Devon is renowned for its picturesque coastline, quaint villages, and rich historical heritage. Among its many treasures are the impressive castles that dot the landscape, each with its own unique story to tell.

These fortified structures, which once served as strongholds for medieval lords and monarchs, now stand as fascinating remnants of a bygone era, offering visitors a glimpse into the region’s storied past.

From the imposing ramparts of Okehampton Castle, which dates back to the Norman conquest, to the atmospheric ruins of Berry Pomeroy Castle, where legends of ghostly sightings abound, Devon’s castles are a testament to the county’s turbulent history.

Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty and grandeur of these ancient structures, a visit to Devon’s castles promises to be a captivating experience. Prepare to be transported back in time as you explore these magnificent landmarks, each one a unique portal to the rich tapestry of Devon’s past. It is worth noting that this list sets out some of the best castles in Devon, but they are not in any particular order!


Powderham Castle – majestic on the Exe Estuary

Powderham Castle

Nestled along the banks of the River Exe, Powderham Castle stands as a remarkable example of a fortified manor house that has withstood the test of time. With its origins dating back to the 14th century, this ancient edifice has been the ancestral home of the Courtenay family for over 600 years, making it one of the oldest family estates in England.

As visitors approach Powderham Castle, they are immediately struck by its imposing presence and architectural grandeur. The castle’s exterior boasts a striking combination of medieval and Renaissance styles, with battlements, turrets, and intricate stonework that transport onlookers back to an era of chivalry and pageantry.

Inside, the castle’s interior is a treasure trove of historical wonders. From the grand entrance hall, adorned with suits of armor and family portraits, to the opulent staterooms, each space tells a captivating story of the castle’s illustrious past. Highlights include the Great Chamber, where visitors can admire a magnificent 17th-century carved oak screen, and the library, which houses a remarkable collection of rare books and manuscripts.

Powderham Castle’s grounds are equally enchanting, with meticulously maintained gardens, woodland trails, and a beautifully landscaped deer park that offers visitors a tranquil escape from the modern world. Whether exploring the castle’s rich interiors or strolling through its enchanting grounds, Powderham Castle promises an unforgettable journey through Devon’s rich tapestry of history and heritage.


Okehampton Castle: A Formidable Fortress in the Heart of Dartmoor

okehampton castle

Nestled north of the rugged landscape of Dartmoor National Park, Okehampton Castle stands as a testament to the region’s turbulent history. This imposing fortress, built in the 11th century by the Norman nobleman Baldwin de Brionne, has witnessed its fair share of battles, sieges, and intrigue over the centuries.

As visitors approach the castle, they are immediately struck by its commanding presence atop a steep ridge, offering strategic vantage points and natural defenses. The well-preserved remains of the castle’s massive curtain walls and towering keeps are a sight to behold, giving visitors a sense of the formidable fortifications that once guarded this important stronghold.

Within the castle’s grounds, a wealth of historical treasures awaits. The remnants of the Great Hall, where lords and ladies once gathered, still evoke a sense of grandeur, while the impressive motte, or artificial mound, provides a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can also explore the castle’s underground passages, which were once used for secret entrances and escape routes.

Beyond its architectural marvels, Okehampton Castle is also renowned for its rich cultural heritage. The castle’s grounds have played host to numerous events and festivals throughout the years, celebrating the region’s unique traditions and folklore. From medieval-themed reenactments to music and art exhibitions, there is always something captivating happening at this iconic Devon landmark.

Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of ancient fortifications, a visit to Okehampton Castle promises an unforgettable journey through Devon’s storied past.


Castles of Devon and Cornwall” by Mike Salter is a compact guidebook delving into the rich history and architectural heritage of these regions. Packed with informative text and captivating photos, it unveils the secrets of medieval fortresses, dramatic coastal castles, and intriguing ruins, offering explorers a roadmap to the past.

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castles of devon and cornwall


Berry Pomeroy Castle: A Haunting Relic Shrouded in Mystery

Berry Pomeroy Castle

Perched atop a steep wooded valley, the haunting shape of Berry Pomeroy Castle looms over the surrounding Devon countryside. This once-formidable fortress, with origins dating back to the 12th century, has long been cloaked in an air of mystery and legend, captivating visitors with its atmospheric allure.

As you approach the castle, the sheer scale of the remaining walls and towers is awe-inspiring, a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of its Norman builders. Passing through the imposing gatehouse, visitors are transported back in time, surrounded by the crumbling remnants of what was once a grand manor house and stronghold.

Within the castle’s grounds, a world of intrigue awaits. The roofless remains of the Great Hall, where lords and ladies once gathered for lavish feasts and revelry, now stand silent and eerie, inviting the imagination to run wild. Winding staircases lead to hidden chambers and lookout points, each offering tantalizing glimpses into the castle’s enigmatic past.

But it is the persistent tales of ghostly sightings and supernatural occurrences that truly add to the allure of Berry Pomeroy Castle. From the infamous “White Lady” said to haunt the castle’s walls to unexplained sounds and apparitions, this historic site has captured the imagination of ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts alike.

Whether you’re drawn by its rich history, atmospheric ambiance, or the thrill of the unexplained, a visit to Berry Pomeroy Castle promises an unforgettable experience. As you wander through its crumbling ruins, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder at the secrets this ancient fortress has yet to reveal.


Dartmouth Castle: A Coastal Fortress Guarding the Realm

dartmouth castle

Perched atop a rocky promontory overlooking the mouth of the River Dart, Dartmouth Castle has stood as an unwavering sentinel along the Devon coastline for over 600 years. This formidable fortification, constructed in the 14th century by order of John Hawley, has played a pivotal role in defending the realm against foreign invaders and ensuring the security of one of England’s most strategic ports.

As visitors approach the castle, they are immediately struck by its commanding position, with sweeping views of the English Channel and the picturesque town of Dartmouth below. The castle’s imposing curtain walls, studded with towers and battlements, exude an air of strength and resilience that has withstood the test of time and the fury of the elements.

Within the castle’s walls, a fascinating journey through history awaits. The well-preserved gun batteries, which once bristled with fearsome cannon, offer a glimpse into the castle’s defensive prowess, while the keep and its intricate architectural details transport visitors back to an era of chivalry and medieval grandeur.

One of the highlights of a visit to Dartmouth Castle is the opportunity to explore the underground tunnels and passageways that snake beneath the fortifications. These eerie, dimly lit corridors were once used by soldiers to move ammunition and supplies, providing a firsthand experience of the castle’s intricate defensive strategies.

Beyond its historical significance, Dartmouth Castle also offers breathtaking vistas and stunning natural scenery. From the castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in panoramic views of the rugged Devon coastline, the sparkling waters of the River Dart, and the quaint charm of Dartmouth’s historic harbour.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply someone seeking an unforgettable cultural experience, a visit to Dartmouth Castle promises to be a captivating journey through time and a testament to the enduring legacy of England’s coastal defenses.


Tiverton Castle: An Enchanting Medieval Manor House

Tiverton Castle

Nestled in the heart of the town of Tiverton, this enchanting castle stands as a captivating remnant of Devon’s rich medieval heritage. Originally constructed in the 11th century as a formidable fortification, Tiverton Castle has undergone numerous transformations over the centuries, ultimately evolving into an elegant manor house brimming with charm and character.

As visitors approach the castle grounds, they are immediately transported back in time, greeted by the sight of the imposing gatehouse and the remnants of the original curtain walls. But it is upon stepping inside the castle’s inner courtyard that the true magic of this historic gem is revealed.

The centrepiece of Tiverton Castle is undoubtedly the magnificent Great Hall, a breathtaking example of Tudor architecture. With its soaring timber-framed roof, intricately carved oak panels, and grand fireplace, this impressive space exudes a sense of grandeur and refinement that would have been fitting for the noble families who once called this castle home.

Tiverton Castle’s grounds are equally captivating, with meticulously manicured gardens, tranquil ponds, and winding pathways that beckon visitors to explore the castle’s idyllic surroundings. Whether strolling through the fragrant rose gardens or admiring the ancient oak trees that dot the landscape, a visit to this enchanting castle promises a truly magical experience.

For those seeking a journey through time and a taste of Devon’s rich history and culture, Tiverton Castle is certainly worth a visit destination, offering an unforgettable glimpse into the grandeur and romance of England’s medieval past.


Lydford Castle: A Towering Relic of Norman Conquest

lydford castle and saxon town

Perched atop a rocky outcrop in the heart of Dartmoor National Park, the imposing remains of Lydford Castle stand as a towering testament to the Norman conquest of Devon. This formidable fortification, constructed in the 12th century by the Norman baron William de Bracton, has borne witness to centuries of turbulent history, enduring sieges, battles, and the relentless passage of time.

As visitors approach the castle, they are immediately struck by its commanding presence, with the towering keep and curtain walls looming over the surrounding landscape. The sheer scale and strength of the castle’s defenses are a testament to the ingenuity and skill of its Norman builders, who sought to establish a formidable stronghold in this rugged and remote region.

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Within the castle’s walls, a wealth of historical treasures awaits exploration. The remains of the Great Hall, where lords and knights once gathered, offer a glimpse into the castle’s storied past, while the atmospheric ruins of the chapel and living quarters evoke a sense of the daily life that once unfolded within these ancient walls.

One of the highlights of a visit to Lydford Castle is the opportunity to climb to the top of the towering keep, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Dartmoor wilderness. From this lofty vantage point, visitors can truly appreciate the castle’s strategic location and the challenges faced by those who sought to conquer this formidable stronghold.

Beyond its architectural and historical significance, Lydford Castle also holds a unique place in local folklore and legend. Tales of ghostly apparitions, secret tunnels, and hidden treasures have captivated the imagination of visitors for generations, adding an air of mystery and intrigue to this ancient site.

Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply someone seeking a truly immersive experience in Devon’s rich heritage, a visit to Lydford Castle promises an unforgettable journey through time and a tangible connection to the region’s Norman past.

Lydford Castle is managed and maintained by English Heritage. Click here for details of more English Heritage places in Devon.


Totnes Castle: An Ancient Fortress Guarding the Dart Valley

totnes catle

Perched atop a steep hill overlooking the picturesque town of Totnes and the winding River Dart, the imposing ruins of Totnes Castle stand as a silent sentinel, a reminder of Devon’s turbulent history and the enduring legacy of its ancient fortifications. Dating back to the 11th century, this formidable castle has borne witness to centuries of conflict, triumph, and intrigue.

As visitors approach the castle grounds, they are immediately struck by the sheer scale and commanding presence of the remaining walls and towers. The massive curtain walls, punctuated by crenellated battlements and imposing gatehouses, exude an air of strength and resilience that has withstood the test of time and the ravages of war.

Within the castle’s inner bailey, a world of historical wonder awaits exploration. The remnants of the Great Hall, where lords and knights once gathered for feasts and councils, offer a tantalizing glimpse into the castle’s storied past. The atmospheric ruins of the chapel and living quarters evoke a sense of the daily life that unfolded within these ancient walls, inviting visitors to imagine the sights, sounds, and struggles of those who called Totnes Castle home.

One of the true highlights of a visit to Totnes Castle is the opportunity to ascend the towering keep, a feat of Norman engineering that has stood as a defiant bastion against the elements for nearly a millennium. From the top of this lofty vantage point, visitors can take in sweeping views of the picturesque Dart Valley, the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside, and the charming town of Totnes below.

Beyond its historical and architectural significance, Totnes Castle also holds a special place in local folklore and legend. Tales of ghostly apparitions, secret tunnels, and hidden treasures have captivated the imagination of visitors for generations, adding an air of mystery and intrigue to this ancient site.

Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, or simply someone in search of an unforgettable cultural experience, a visit to Totnes Castle promises to transport you back in time and immerse you in the rich tapestry of Devon’s storied past.


Compton Castle: A Fortified Manor Steeped in Medieval Charm

compton castle north

Nestled in the rolling hills of South Devon, the enchanting Compton Castle beckons visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in the region’s rich medieval heritage. This captivating fortified manor house, with origins dating back to the 14th century, exudes an air of romance and intrigue that has captured the imaginations of travelers for generations.

As you approach Compton Castle, the first glimpse of its crenellated towers and sturdy stone walls immediately transports you to a bygone era. The castle’s imposing gatehouse, complete with a portcullis and murder holes, serves as a reminder of its defensive capabilities, while the beautifully manicured gardens and surrounding parklands hint at the refined lifestyle enjoyed by its noble residents.

Within the castle’s walls, a world of medieval splendor awaits. The Great Hall, with its soaring timber-framed ceiling and impressive fireplace, is a true architectural marvel, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of medieval banquets and gatherings. The private chambers, adorned with intricate plasterwork and period furnishings, evoke a sense of intimacy and domesticity that belies the castle’s formidable exterior.

Beyond its historical and architectural wonders, Compton Castle also boasts a stunning natural setting, with winding paths leading through verdant gardens and ancient woodlands. Whether strolling through the fragrant rose gardens or enjoying a picnic in the tranquil meadows, visitors are sure to be enchanted by the castle’s idyllic surroundings.

For those seeking an immersive experience in Devon’s medieval past, a visit to Compton Castle promises to be a truly captivating journey, one that seamlessly blends history, architecture, and natural beauty into an unforgettable cultural adventure.


Kingswear Castle: A Coastal Gem Guarding the Dart Estuary

kingswear castle

Perched atop a rocky promontory jutting into the River Dart, the historic Kingswear Castle commands breathtaking views of the picturesque estuary and the surrounding Devon countryside. This compact yet formidable coastal fortification dates back to the 16th century, when it was constructed by order of King Henry VIII as part of a network of defenses designed to protect England’s strategic maritime interests.

As visitors approach Kingswear Castle, they are immediately struck by its unique location, seemingly clinging to the cliff face and presenting an imposing silhouette against the azure waters of the Dart Estuary. The castle’s sturdy granite walls and battlements exude an air of resilience, having withstood the relentless onslaught of wind and waves for over four centuries.

Upon entering the castle grounds, a world of historical fascination unfolds. The well-preserved gun batteries, which once bristled with fearsome cannon, offer a glimpse into the castle’s defensive prowess, while the atmospheric guardrooms and living quarters invite visitors to imagine the daily lives of the soldiers who once manned these formidable ramparts.

One of the true highlights of a visit to Kingswear Castle is the opportunity to explore its extensive network of underground tunnels and magazines. These dimly lit, winding passageways were once used to store ammunition and supplies, and they now offer a unique and immersive experience, transporting visitors back to a time when the threat of invasion was ever-present.

Beyond its historical significance, Kingswear Castle also offers unparalleled natural beauty and stunning vistas. From the castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in sweeping views of the River Dart, the charming town of Dartmouth, and the verdant rolling hills that characterize the Devon countryside.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply someone seeking an unforgettable cultural experience, a visit to Kingswear Castle promises to captivate and delight, offering a truly unique perspective on Devon’s rich maritime heritage and coastal defences.


A Timeless Enigma: Unveiling the Majesty of Castle Drogo

Castle Drogo

High above the Teign Gorge, shrouded in an aura of mystery and grandeur, stands Castle Drogo. Unlike its weathered counterparts, this remarkable structure isn’t a relic of a bygone era, but a 20th-century marvel – the last castle ever built in England. Completed in 1930, it’s a testament to the vision of self-made millionaire Julius Drewe, who yearned for a medieval-inspired retreat nestled amidst the rugged beauty of Dartmoor.

The imposing granite exterior, a blend of architectural styles, evokes a sense of timelessness. Imagine yourself standing at the castle’s entrance, the wind whipping at your hair as you gaze upon the grand towers and imposing facades. Intricate carvings and heraldic emblems hint at a rich lineage, though the castle’s true story lies within.

Step inside and discover a captivating blend of grandeur and practicality. The grand hall, adorned with Minster oak paneling and a magnificent fireplace, evokes a sense of medieval hospitality. Explore the labyrinthine corridors lined with portraits of the Drewe family, each room offering a glimpse into their lives and the evolution of the castle over the years.

Castle Drogo isn’t just a historical monument; it’s a window into a bygone era. Admire the meticulously preserved Edwardian kitchens, complete with original appliances and a glimpse into the daily workings of the household. The opulent drawing-room, with its plush furnishings and elegant décor, transports you to a time of afternoon teas and lively social gatherings.

Beyond the castle walls, explore the stunning Lutyens-designed gardens, a vibrant tapestry of color throughout the seasons. Formal terraces give way to cascading waterfalls and hidden pathways, each offering a unique perspective of the surrounding Dartmoor landscape.

Castle Drogo stands as a compelling reminder that history isn’t always confined to the distant past. It’s a place to ignite your imagination, ponder the dreams of its creator, and appreciate the enduring beauty of a bygone architectural style reimagined for the 20th century.

Castle Drogo, like several others on this list, is managed by the National Trust. Click here for more great National Trust places in Devon.

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