Stokesay Castle

Stokesay Castle

Just a hop, skip and a jump over the Welsh border into Shropshire and a drive through Clun Valley took us to the picturesque Stokesay Castle, yesterday.

Situated in the South Shropshire valley of Onny, between Craven Arms and Ludlow, Stokesay Castle is one of England’s best-preserved medieval fortified manors. I’d driven past it many times on my way to places such as Ludlow, Leominster, Hereford and Ledbury, yet somehow in all my years I’d never stopped and visited. Yesterday, with blue skies and bright sunshine, we decided to make the most of it and finally visit Stokesay Castle.

Stokesay Castle
Stokesay Castle

Built in the 1280s and early 1290s, with its beautiful gatehouse built in the mid 17th century, Stokesay Castle is now an English Heritage property. There are a gift shop and a delightful little tearoom on site, with a number of tables and benches available around the grounds, as well as plenty of room for picnics outside the visitor centre or by the car park.

St John the Baptist Church, Stokesay
St John the Baptist Church, Stokesay

We parked in the car park (Beware: There is a £1 charge for parking via a coin-only operated parking meter) and walked through the churchyard to the castle grounds. If you have time, I would recommend taking a look around the church. We were surprised to find the church door unlocked and visitors welcome to look inside.

Having paid our entry fees in the visitor centre (£7.00 for an adult, £6.20 for an OAP or FREE for English Heritage members), we were faced with one of the most beautiful entrances I’ve ever seen – The Gatehouse.

Stokesay Castle Gatehouse
Stokesay Castle Gatehouse

The Gatehouse contains the castle tearoom, which sells a variety of snacks (sandwiches, toasties, salads, cakes, biscuits etc) and drinks. We were ready for a refreshingly cold drink by the time we’d finished looking around Stokesay Castle and took them outside to sit on a bench and watch the garden birds flitting about.

Stokesay Castle
Stokesay Castle

English Heritage has kept the thirteenth-century buildings simple, uncluttered and unfurnished. It gives visitors a real sense of the building, meaning you focus more on the architecture. The fact that the buildings remain largely unchanged by time means it’s not hard to imagine life there over the centuries.

The Great Hall at Stokesay Castle
The Great Hall at Stokesay Castle
The Solar at Stokesay Castle
The Solar at Stokesay Castle
Inside Stokesay Castle
Inside Stokesay Castle

A free audio tour is available to accompany visitors around the castle, but we didn’t take up the offer, instead preferring to make our own way around, seeing what we could find.

Stokesay Castle - Private

Having now visited Stokesay Castle, I can’t believe I hadn’t visited before. I’ll certainly be visiting again!

We spent the morning at Stokesay Castle before heading to the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre (just down the road in Craven Arms) for lunch and stopping by Clun Castle on the way home.

——————

This is just a small selection of the photos I took at Stokesay Castle. If you’d like to see more, please visit my Flickr account.

11 comments

  1. Kelly says:

    I love castles, cathedrals, old cemeteries… this looks wonderful and I’m glad you shared so many lovely photos from your visit! I love seeing places, no matter how old, and imagining all the “living” that took place there.

    Funny how we often don’t appreciate the places closest to us. There are so many wonderful things to see in a 100 mille radius of where I live that I’ve never visited!

    • Nikki says:

      I’m determined to make more use of my weekends and days off work by visiting these types of places nearby (and not just when I go away for the weekend).

  2. Peter says:

    This looks stunning!

    I love visiting places like this. Need to actually do some more this year I think as I’ve not adventured out for a while into the heritage stuff that the country has to offer.

  3. Hi Nikki,

    We don’t have English Heritage membership, but this looks to be one of their more substantial and better kept properties, so the entrance fee isn’t actually too bad.

    The pictures you took are amazing and that lovely blue sky makes you feel all the better, it is so rarely in this country that our photographs combine the two 🙂

    Another reason to check out your part of the world and somewhere else for our bucket list – Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Yvonne

  4. Jessi says:

    How gorgeous! Had a look at your Flickr too – your shots are fab. I’d love to visit someday – my family were from Shropshire before they got shipped over here.

  5. Jo says:

    I think we often overlook places close to home and see them only in passing when we’re off to visit places further afield, there’s certainly some gems to discover right on our own doorsteps. Stokesay Castle looks very interesting and I agree about the gatehouse, such a beautiful entrance to the castle.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *