Ashby de la Zouch Castle, Ashby de la Zouch

Ashby de la Zouch Castle is a ruined fortification in the town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England. The castle was built by William, Lord Hastings, a favourite of Edward IV, after 1473, accompanied by the creation of a 3,000-acre (1,200 ha) park. Constructed on the site of an older manor house, two large towers and various smaller buildings had been constructed by 1483, when Hastings was executed by Richard, Duke of Gloucester. The Hastings family used the castle as their seat for several generations, improving the gardens and hosting royal visitors.

During the English Civil War of the 1640s, Henry, a younger son in the Hastings family, became a Royalist commander in the Midlands. He based himself out of the castle until he was forced to surrender it after a long siege. A fresh rebellion occurred in 1648, leading Parliament to slight the castle in order to prevent it being used militarily: the two towers were badly damaged with gunpowder and undermining. Parts of the remaining castle were turned into a new house and continued to be used by members of the Hastings family for many years, although they moved their main residence to Donington Hall.

The castle became famous after it featured in Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe in 1819, and its owner, Francis Rawdon, opened the ruins to visitors. Restoration work was carried out over the course of the next century, but by 1932 the Rawdon family could no longer afford to maintain the castle. It passed into the guardianship of the Ministry of Works, who carried out extensive repairs and opened the castle gardens. In the 21st century, the castle is managed by English Heritage as a tourist attraction, receiving 15,164 visitors in 2015. The historian John Goodall considers the site to be an "outstanding example of a late medieval castle", with its grounds forming "one of the best-preserved and most important" examples of an early Tudor garden.
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Ashby de la Zouch Castle Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
314 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Visited today with husband, 6 year old and 2 year old. Parked in public car park just a few minutes walk from entrance. Free on a Sunday. We took our wellies which was a good idea as there was lots...  more »
  • Visited on a Sunday afternoon, just over £6 per person with disabled parking available but a free car park around the corner on sundays! The castle ruins are great to stroll around, able to climb to.....  more »
Google
  • Needs a bit of work 😂 great ruin with great history. The 98 steps up to the top of the tower make the pulse race but the views are worth it. The tunnel is great but mind your head. Grounds and garden is lovely. Staff are friendly and informative and definitely worth talking to. In the sun it is sunning at photogenic. In the wet and overcast it is imposing. Well worth 2 to 3 hours of your day.
  • Marvellous place. Highly evocative and steeped in history. The castle ruins date back to approx 1470 and are sensitively managed in the capable hands of English Heritage. The audio tour, which came as a free option with our admission, vividly and, often amusingly, brought the story of the castle to life. We were able to ascend the 98 steps by spiral staircase to the top of one of the castle's ancient towers. The views from the top were amazing. We were also able to plummet the depths and traverse a tunnel below ground where the inhabitants of the castle were able to take refuge from the pounding of the castle above during the English Civil War. The gentleman in the ticket office/gift shop was very welcoming and helpful and I noted the very reasonable prices of the refreshments on sale. A great day out which was thoroughly enjoyed by all our party.

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