I have so many great memories of Richmond Castle from when I was younger, both from day trips as a family and as part of a school trip. I’ve often thought about taking my kids there but for some reason never got around to it, which is mad considering it’s only a 30min car ride away. So, this half term I was determined to put that right.
Just a quick warning; despite my best efforts to sift through the hundreds of photos I took and whittle them down, this is still a pretty picture heavy post.
As soon as my son spotted the Castle Keep rising above the town he got really excited, and when I told him you could actually go up to the top he was beside himself. Any castles we have visited in the past have been complete ruins and he has always been so disappointed that there were no towers to climb, so this was a big hit.
Needless to say climbing The Keep was the first item on the agenda! With L still not being able to last a whole day on her feet and having a picnic with us I’d had to take the pushchair but I parked it up inside the ground floor of The Keep while we climbed and apparently a lot of people do the same.
The tower is 100ft high and, although there are a couple of floors to stop off on, getting to the top is no easy feat. The stairs are quite narrow and worn in places and some are quite steep (this picture above is from the best section). L managed to get about half way up but I had to carry her the rest (my legs were burning!). It’s definitely worth it when you reach the top though. The views across the town and the Yorkshire Dales are spectacular.
I have a picture of me and my best friend from school sitting in a window half way up The Keep and as soon as we passed it I had to get one of M and L sitting in the same place. It was a bit on the windy side to say the least but the kids thought it was great.
On the second floor of The Keep is a large hall with a wooden floor and L discovered, to her delight, that jumping on it created a really good echo. I think she could have entertained herself in there for hours.
After the Keep we followed the castle walls and explored the ruins. There is so much open space for the kids to run off some energy, as well as more stunning views.
Next we came to the Cockpit Garden. This area wasn’t developed last time I visited but is a very welcome addition. Built on quite a steep slope and with steps in several places, it wasn’t the easiest to navigate with a pushchair but we managed (would have been easier with two adults!). Thankfully our pushchair is pretty robust and great for off-road (essential when you have dogs) so it bounced along quite well but I’m not sure how you would get on with a small pushchair as some of the pathways are cobbled; something to bare in mind if you visit.
After exploring all of the gardens we decided it would make the perfect picnic spot. There were plenty of benches dotted about the gardens (as well as picnic tables in the main grassed area inside the castle walls) but we had a blanket with us and set up on a nice flat section with a slope behind and one in front. As soon as the kids had wolfed their food down they had so much fun running up and rolling down the hills.
We must have spent an hour and a half just in that one spot. Having never rolled down a hill before L was extremely pleased with herself for figuring it out. Although I often had to get her in position and give her a push.
M also had a great time getting L to chase him, then hiding in bushes and jumping out. She was soon wise to his tricks though. I don’t think the bright yellow coat helped him much! Can you spot him?
After all that running around L was worn out and needed the pushchair so I’m glad I took it. Although getting up out of the gardens with her in the pushchair was a lot harder than going down into them!
After watching M run around and explore the rest of the ruins L decided she didn’t want to miss out. She got straight back out the pushchair and didn’t get in again till it was time to leave.
There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore. This one seemed to lead to an old toilet!
The kids loved exploring the remnants of the old chapel. It was just one tiny room, and very dark except for when the sun shone through the open doorway.
Everywhere you go around the castle there is the opportunity to find another amazing view.
It was an extremely windy day (as you can tell from the windswept look in all the pictures!) and pretty cold, but the rain held off and we had one of the best days out in a long time. We spent about 4 hours in there in the end and the kids were on the go the whole time. Needless to say L was asleep before we’d driven out of the carpark. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend a visit to Richmond Castle. I’m confident we’ll be back very soon.
The castle is run by English Heritage so members can get in for free. If you’re not a member it’s £5.30 for Adults and £3.10 for children (5-15yrs). You can find out more information on the English Heritage website.
Did you have any great days out during half-term?