Castles and Military Monument Walks

 

The countries of England, Scotland and Wales have seen centuries of fierce battles, powerful invasions and hard-fought conquests. From border disputes to overseas infiltration, each confrontation has left a lasting mark on the British landscape.

Because of this, the United Kingdom is home to literally thousands of ancient castles, fortified towns, great walls and other territorial monuments. Each military landmark gives a unique insight into the long, turbulent history of the British Isles.

Click here for a full list of walking trails featuring military monuments, or check out our favourite examples below:

Castles and Military Monuments: Borders Abbeys Way

Borders Abbeys Way

The Borders Abbeys Way is best known for the four fantastic ruined abbeys that it passes. Yet this walking trail features four intriguing ‘castles’ to visit as well. Jedburgh Castle was once located where a haunted Howard Reform Prison is now based. Secondly, the ruins of Roxborough Castle show where one of Scotland’s strongest fortresses used to stand.

The remaining two ‘castles’ on this route are Floors Castle and Abbortsford. Both of these grand country houses boast wonderful turrets and other castle-like architecture. Abbortsford in particular is one of the world's most famous houses, previously belonging to Sir Walter Scott.

The Borders Abbeys Way combines a range of amazing monuments to create a unique journey into the history of Scotland's border country.

Castles and Military Monuments: Fife Coastal Path

Fife Coastal Path

The 'Kingdom of Fife' was historically a Pictish stronghold dating back to the 6th century. The region has also long been revered as the ancestral home of the Scottish monarchy. As a result of this, Fife’s coastline features a variety of ancient fortifications, built to house royalty or to defend against invaders.

The Fife Coastal Path is a scenic Scottish Great Trail that visits many of the region’s finest castles. From North Queensferry to Newport-on-Tay, the route passes the castles of Aberdour, Macduff and St Andrew’s, to name a few. For those eager to learn about Fife's turbulent history, take a walk along this incredible trail.

Castles and Military Monuments: Hadrian's Wall Path

Hadrian's Wall Path

Hadrian’s Wall Path follows the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall, constructed in AD122 by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. This world famous National Trail boasts countless sites of Roman history to discover. As well as the Wall itself, which still stands in many places, the route features a plethora of forts, milecastles and other fascinating ruins.

Incredibly, there is even more history on offer as you near the end of the wall. Upon reaching Carlisle, you can visit the mighty castle that dates back 900 years. Hadrian’s Wall Path is truly an historian's dream trail, with something new to uncover at every turn.

Castles and Military Monuments: Lady Anne's Way

Lady Anne's Way

Lady Anne Clifford was the daughter of the 3rd Earl of Cumberland, who lived in the 17th century. After winning her inheritance, she spent the rest of her life restoring her family’s castles. She visited each site in turn to oversee the work, following the path now known as 'Lady Anne's Highway'.

Lady Anne’s Way heads through the Yorkshire Dales from Skipton Castle, where Lady Anne was born, to Brougham Castle, where she died. Other sites associated with the Lady include the castles of Pendragon, Brough and Appleby. These great monuments, along with several others along the route, tell the inspiring story of Lady Anne’s remarkable life.

Castles and Military Monuments: Offa's Dyke Path

Offa's Dyke Path

During the 8th century, King Offa ordered a huge earthen wall to be built along the England-Wales border. Stretching from coast to coast, much of Offa’s Dyke is still seen today, and is one of the longest archaeological monuments in Britain.

The Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail follows this earthwork from Chepstow to Prestatyn. As well as the famous Dyke itself, there are plenty of other fantastic sites passed along the way. The many castles and hillforts which are also featured on the route add further intrigue to this historic walking trail.

Castles and Military Monuments: Mary Queen of Scots Way

Mary Queen of Scots Way

Mary Stuart, better known as Mary Queen of Scots, lived and reigned in the 16th century. She endured a life filled with controversy before her beheading in 1587. The Mary Queen of Scots Way travels through the areas once frequented by this Scottish Queen.

The path passes through central Scotland from coast to coast, showcasing many castles and hillforts. In particular, the town of Stirling is home to the castle where Mary was crowned. It also features the famous Wallace Monument, which overlooks the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Walking the Mary Queen of Scots Way is thus the perfect way to uncover part of Scotland’s tumultuous past.

All Castles and Military Monument Walks:

 

North of England

South of England

Scotland

Wales

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If you have any further questions or queries, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you.