Monday 6 September 2021

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire (an English Heritage site)

Bolsover Castle English Heritage review

With a view to making the most of our new English Heritage membership, on a recent trip to York we made a stop at Bolsover Castle located in the town of Bolsover, north east Derbyshire and just off the M1. Booking in advance wasn't required, but as it was the school holidays and we were taking a non-member with us we chose to book our tickets and purchase the extra one in advance. 

There is free parking in the town centre and English Heritage provides a handy map of parking spaces. However we arrived mid morning, and our first choice of parking in the main car park was full. We headed for the additional car parking and found a space, but when we returned to the car early afternoon the car park was crammed with thoughtlessly parked cars to the point where we nearly couldn't get our car out. So if you are visiting at a busy time I'd save yourself some stress and avoid the car park located to the side of the castle - head for a town centre one instead even if you have to walk for a few minutes!

Bolsover Castle Terrace Ruins

A visit to the castle is divided into three main areas. We started with the Terrace Range. This is a series of ruined stately rooms which once formed the entrance to the castle. Even though there is no roof you can still get a really good impression of what it would once have looked like.

The views from the huge old windows are just stunning! We found a bench just outside to sit and enjoy our packed lunch looking out across the surrounding countryside. 

Terrace Range Bolsover Castle view from window

Next we explored the Little Castle, which was not a permanent residence but rather created as an extravagant retreat for entertaining. We had a really interesting chat with one of the guides who told us all about the paintings in one of the entrance rooms and how they reflected the activities that were planned for visitors - lots of eating, drinking and entertainment like hunting and plays. 

Little Castle at Bolsover Castle

We spent a lot of time wandering around the beautifully decorated rooms upstairs and then exploring the kitchens and cellars below ground.

Inside the Little Castle at Bolsover Castle

Then we emerged into the Fountain Garden with a beautiful working fountain in the centre. The fountain extends below ground level and is filled with various statues and gargoyle type creatures that spout water up and around. The grassy area is another lovely spot to sit for a while, surrounded by the high wall studded with built-in niches. Then we climbed up to the newly restored circular Wall Walk along the top of the wall. You can enjoy wonderful views across the countryside and back towards the Little Castle and ruins.

Bolsover Castle Fountain Garden

We finished our visit at the playground. Ours are getting a little bit too old for a playground to be honest, but it was a good way to burn off some excess energy before heading back to the car to continue our drive!

We spent just over two hours at the castle and it was one of my favourite castle type attractions that we've visited. I really enjoyed the contrast between the derelict ruined areas and the beautifully preserved Little Castle, each with just the right amount of explanatory displays to keep us all interested. It is beautifully maintained and the views really are stunning. It felt like a very peaceful place to visit, and was a great place to break a long journey with some fresh air and pleasant picnic spots. 

A family ticket currently costs £32.80 which I think is quite reasonable, although like most English Heritage properties if you are visiting more than a couple of the large attractions over the year then it's often better value to purchase a year's membership. 

You can find out more information about the castle here - Bolsover Castle English Heritage.

Bolsover Castle English Heritage family review

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love reading your comments!