This week, we decided to continue our English Heritage Challenge with a visit to Ashby de la Zouch Castle in Derbyshire. With a rainy morning on the cards we set out for our Sunday outing eqipped with coats and umbrellas and came back with ever-so-slightly soggy feet from walking the grassed castle grounds.
Formerly built as an entertaining ground for the rich and famous, the two ‘pleasure towers’ are still visible as you tour the grounds along to a rather amusing commentary on the free handsets. Your tour takes you past these first rather than around the castle and as we were the only visitors (I know!) today we had free rein to explore the castle and all of its nooks and crannies without being trapped on a twirly staircase waiting for other visitors to pass, our hurdle being the terrifying (ok maybe not THAT terrifying) birds seeking shelter there, Doris will let you past but the other one flew at our head making for some interesting-sounding shrieks I’m sure.
The castle itself stands at just a third of it’s former size, but you can tell how beautiful and commanding it must have looked in its heyday, with large windows and decorated fireplaces still visible, we had a blast exploring the ruins and caught the atmosphere of the tunnels as we made our descent and cross over to the kitchens underground.
- Where: Ashby de la Zouch, Derbyshire.
- Random Features: This one has an atmospheric underground tunnel from the civil war you can walk through as well as a super high tower to climb & fabulous fireplaces.
- Seiges: During the civil war this castle was set up as a Royalist stronghold and after its defeat was partially destroyed.
- Creature Features: You will witness many a crow (they had just been fed when we got there) as well as an abundance of other feathered friends as you climb the steps to the tower. They flew at our head.