Day Out: Stokesay Castle

Sunday 22 February 2015 by

Stokesay Castle, Days out, Castle, History, English Heritage,  Craven Arms, Travel

Back in my teens, most of my friendship group went on a school trip to Stokesay Castle near Craven Arms, whilst I stayed at school and sat on mostly empty desks in my normal lessons. It was possibly the only time I ever wished I had taken GCSE History.

This half term, I finally made it there myself with the Smalls and my parents. My parents have been a few times before with various family members but this was the first time for me and the Smalls. It was a lovely day out and my teenage self is finally appeased!

Stokesay Castle, Days out, Castle, History, English Heritage,  Craven Arms, Travel

Stokesay is not your typical castle – more a fortified manor house than the castles you are used to seeing – but this just makes it even more interesting. The contrast between the typical dark, draughty castle-like rooms and the manor house style living quarters with actual glass in the windows builds a really interesting picture of what it must have been like to live there. There were rough stone walls and echoey halls alongside glorious carved woodwork and pretty stained glass windows.

There were all sorts of little nooks and crannies to explore and it made me laugh when I walked into a room to discover Tori and my Mum stood with their heads up a chimney having a look to see how it worked!

Stokesay Castle, Days out, Castle, History, English Heritage,  Craven Arms, Travel

There is a guide book available to buy or you can listen to the audio tour they hand out as you go in – we gave these to the Smalls after a while and they were totally captivated! Tori wanted it to be set to the room we were in but Arthur was just happy to let the guide chat away in his ear about anything and everything. A great idea that works for all ages as it doesn’t rely on you being able to read (it also had a choice of languages to listen to if needed).

Stokesay Castle, Days out, Castle, History, English Heritage,  Craven Arms, Travel

Once you’ve finished exploring the castle itself there is a lovely little tearoom in the gatehouse selling warm drinks and homemade cakes and you can even take a walk around the (now dry) moat to take a look at the castle from below. Arthur was a bit concerned there would be crocodiles in there but we couldn’t find any so I think it’s safe!

Stokesay Castle, Days out, Castle, History, English Heritage,  Craven Arms, Travel

There’s a nice little gift shop in the grounds selling castle-related gifts and jams and chutneys etc. and the church alongside the castle (thought to have been built as the castle chapel) is also open to visitors whenever the castle is open and is well worth a visit.

Stokesay Castle is an English Heritage property so it is free for English Heritage members to visit. Non-members pay £6.50 for adults and £3.80 for children (there are concessionary and family tickets also available. See their website for details.)

We had a lovely day out exploring though wrap up warm if you are visiting at this end of the year – it was a bit chilly!!

You can follow Carole on Twitter: @caroleheidi

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