Kings, queens, ghosts, war and battles – our English castles are dripping with history.
Scrambling around ramparts and exploring old halls are all part of the fun of visiting our ancient landmarks.
There are hundreds of ruined, preserved or restored castles dotting the English landscape.
Weve picked out a few within a two-hour drive of Cambridge that are worth a visit:
Stansted, CM24 8LY
40 minute drive
The only medieval castle and Norman village reconstructed on its original site to exist in the world.
Visitors can travel back in time and experience a bygone lifestyle – wandering around village homes, sitting by log fires and feeding roaming livestock.
The 10 acre site provides a unique insight into community life in Domesday England and is a great destination for young families.
In July there is even a special catapult launching event.
Also on site is The House on the Hill Toy Museum, which claims to house the largest collection of toys in the world.
The castle is open every day until Sunday, November 5, 10am to 5pm.
For more information visit: www.mountfitchetcastle.com
The castle, located about 90 minutes from Cambridge in the city of Norwich, was designed to be a royal palace rather than a fortification.
Strangely, no Norman kings ever lived in it, with Henry I only known to have stayed in there during Christmas 1121.
Visitors can climb the 62 steps of the Norman staircase and enjoy a 360-degree canvas of uninterrupted views high above Norwich.
Or if heights aren't your thing, you can take a guided tour into the castle's eerie dungeon. There you'll learn about the prisoners kept at the castle and get the chance to examine instruments of torture and punishment like the ducking stool, scolds bridle and gibbet iron.
When you've had enough of the fascinating castle, you can also explore the art gallery on site.
The castle is open from Monday to Saturday 10am-4.30pm and Sunday 1-4.30pm.
For more information visit: https://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/norwich-castle
Bayley St, Castle Hedingham, Halstead, CO9 3DJ
50 minutes drive
The 900 year old Norman keep of Hedingham Castle stands in 160 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland where the Lindsay family, descendants of the original owners, the De Veres, still live.
Today it is used as a location for weddings, events and film making.
Visitors can explore and picnic in the castle grounds, stop off at the café, and roam around castle's four floors including its tapestry room and minstrel's gallery.
Across the summer of 2017 there are jousting, re-enactment, vintage car and theatre events in the grounds.
Between April 2 and October 29, Hedingham is open every Sunday from 10am to 5pm, Wednesdays during school terms 11am-4pm and Tuesdays and Wednesdays during school holiday 11am to 4pm.
For more information visit: www.hedinghamcastle.co.uk
Castle Rising, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, PE31 6AH
One hour and 20/30 minutes drive
One of the largest, best preserved and most lavishly decorated keeps in England, surrounded by 20 acres of mighty earthworks.
It is the former residence of Queen Isabella, widow (and alleged murderess) of Edward II. The castle is owned and managed by Lord Howard of Rising.
Visitors can scale the steps to the gatehouse to view the earthworks and explore the castle's Great Hall and decorated waiting room and visit the remains of Queen Isabella's apartments.
Special events are organised in May and August.
The castle is open from April 1 to November 1, 10am to 6pm daily or dusk if earlier in October.
It is also open November 2 to March 31, Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm.
For more information visit: www.castlerising.co.uk
Church Street, Framlingham, Suffolk, IP13 9BP
One hour and 20/30 minutes drive
Once a fearsome fortress, visitors can now muster their courage and explore Framlingham Castle's towering walls.
It was behind these walls that Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen of England.
Framlingham's stories are shared in its exhibition, and visitors can walk the ramparts of the castle to enjoy its breathtaking views.
The Poorhouse is closed until June 2017 due to a £1.2 million visitor improvement project.
Jousting, outdoor cinema, re-enactment and children's events are held over the summer.
For more information visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/framlingham-castle
Oxborough, near Swaffham, Norfolk, PE33 9PS
One hour drive
This 15th century moated manor house has 500 years of history to explore with hidden doors, rooftop views and a secret priest's hole.
Admire the Victorian Gothic interiors, and ornate architectural additions that reflect a romantic view of Oxburgh's medieval past, or enjoy the walled garden and the French parterre.
Its collections include embroideries worked by Mary, Queen of Scots, and colourful wallpapers from the mid-19th century.
The Hall is surrounded by 2Read More – Source