The best medieval sites in the UK
Medieval times might not have been very pleasant for those who lived in them, but they are certainly a huge source of fascination nowadays. Medieval-inspired books and movies, architecture, folklore are fun, but it’s even more fun to explore the remnants and heritage of these dark ages. Medieval Britain is a fascinating topic if you like tales, legends, epic battles and political intrigue, and although these are things that you can learn about from books or movies, you can almost catch a glimpse of the past if you visit some of the best medieval sites in the UK. All of these sites are scenic, and most of them have been the scene of some important historical event too – they are the perfect destinations for a traveler who likes history!
Hastings Castle, East Sussex
Hastings Castle was the setting of one of the most decisive battles in British history, so important that Britain wouldn’t be what it is today if the Battle of Hastings hadn’t happened in 1066. The battle between William the Conqueror and Harold II, the Anglo-Saxon King of England, took place on a hill a few miles from the castle. Hastings Castle was built by William in 1066 and rebuilt in stone three years later, and today it is a very picturesque ruin.
Rye, East Sussex
At the present, Rye is much cleaner and better equipped than it used to be in the Middle Ages, not nothing can shake off the feeling of being in a place stuck in time when you are walking on its narrow cobbled streets. Rye was known to provide ships for the royal navy in medieval times, after which it became an infamous smuggler’s den. Rye Castle, the old docks and the timber houses are amazing relics of the past.
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
The UK is famous for its beautiful castles, but Warwick Castle is above anything you can see in other parts of the kingdoms. This stunning medieval castle overlooking River Avon once belonged to the Earl of Warwick who played a crucial role in the War of Roses. The castle itself is in a very good state, and it is also home to impressive collections of medieval armor and weapons.
Caerphilly Castle, Wales
The English were not the only ones who mastered the art of castle building in the Middle Ages – the Welsh were just as good at it. Caerphilly Castle is one of the largest and best preserved medieval castles in Europe, built by the Anglo-Norman lord Gilbert of Clare in the 13th century. The castle is so well fortified that it’s defenses are impressive even today.
Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent
Medieval cathedrals were just as important in medieval British life as castles, if not more so. The Canterbury Cathedral is still one of the most important places of Christian worship in the country, as well as the scene of several important events in history, so it is certainly one of the best medieval sites in the UK. Plus, the graceful and intricate architecture of the building can’t fail to impress.