We are now on to my favourite day of the holiday ... Castle day. Wednesday morning we headed out to the town of Ludlow, which just as all the other towns had been, was very cute and old and there was a market in the town center so it was bustling with life even in the early morning.
Ludlow Castle was a lot bigger than I expected. When you first look at it, it doesn't look much and I'll admit I was a bit disappointed at first because I was worried we wouldn't be able to make it last the day. Well boy was I wrong. The moment you step across that bridge you see how huge it once was and you can really get a sense of how incredible it would have looked. Considering castles were built so long a go, before scaffolding and modern building materials and equiptment, it always amazes me how skilled the workmen must have been. What amazed me more was how high up you could climb. Most castles that I have visited the upper levels are out of access because the stairs have crumbled away or the floors are not safe. But the tower to the left allowed you to climb right to the tip top, up about 4 sets of spiral stairs and then look out over the entire town. The view was absolutely gorgeous and even though it was windy, we stayed up there for ages just watching the world go by. There was just so much to see there, and so many little rooms that you don't always notice at first. You could easily spend a day there if you wanted. And the grounds had picnic benches scattered around so you could sit and eat your lunch while admiring it. I think it may be safe to say that Ludlow has now officially taken over Wardour as my favourite castle, and I also noticed you can have weddings there ... I'll be dropping some sublte hints to the boyfriend, haha.
Stokesay Castle was a little bit smaller ... and actually not a castle at all. It was a mansion, but none the less it was still very impressive and the audioguides gave us great insight into the families history behind the house, and again, it had a very vibrant yellow painted house as you walked through the entrance which I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. At first I didn't find it too impressive; the main part of the house was very bare, the plaster had come off the walls and the floors were very uneven and comparing it to Ludlow it seemed a little underwhelming. But walking over into the towers where the bedrooms were it was much more preserved, one room even had all of it's original wooden panneling and an ornate fireplace which was beautiful, and funny little holes in the walls so the women could look into the dining room and spy on their husbands (Because obviously women weren't allowed to eat with the men ... for some reason.) We were also able to climb to the top of this castle as well, up some very steep steps I found hidden in the corner. One thing that was nice about Stokesay was that although there were a lot of families there, a few of the employees took the children to one side and kept them entertained, teaching them about the history and letting them practice jousting and dressing up, which meant the adults could go and explore in peace.
I was actually pretty tired out by the time we came to the end, we hadn't eaten much that day and the sun was unexpectedly hot. We did sit down at Stokesay's tea room and enjoy a little cheese scone which was very nice, before heading home.
I won't go into too much detail about these castles because we'll be here all day, So I'll leave you with the pictures and let you make your own minds up. Do any of you guys have castles that you love to visit? I'm always looking for recommendations.