Conisbrough Castle is located in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire and was initially built in the 11th century by William de Warenne, the Earl of Surrey, after the Norman conquest of England in 1066.
The castle fell into ruin in the 16th century and by the end of the 19th century had started to become a tourist attraction. English Heritage took over control of the castle in 2008 after extensive renovations to the floor and roof.
The castle consists of a visitor centre, circular keep surrounded by a stone curtain wall.
Booking is simple. During the coronavirus pandemic, English Heritage has introduced an online booking system so that you can choose the date and time slot available; this ensures that you aren’t battling through crowds and that everyone is adhering to the social distancing rules currently in place. Once booked you receive your confirmation email and you are good to go.
Having visited on a Friday afternoon finding somewhere to park was quick and easy there was plenty of on-street parking spaces available on the side roads surrounding the castle and its always a bonus when you don’t have to pay for parking when you have a day out.
On our arrival at the visitors centre, we were greeted by the English Heritage staff who advised us on the social distancing measures in place, which direction to take to keep us apart from other visitors. The visitors centre is well laid out and takes you through the complete history of Conisborough Castle along with a selection of archaeological finds and artefacts from the site that have been discovered over the years. The displays are well designed and informative and care has been taken to cater to people of all ages. There is also a gift shop with various souvenirs you can purchase as a reminder of your visit.
From the visitors centre, there is a small incline upwards into the grounds, which are impeccably maintained. Once inside you are invited to walk amongst the ruins, throughout the site, there are displays that give you insights into the events that have happened in the castle over its history.
The ruins are where things come to life for me, trying to imagine what the various nooks, crannies, windows and gulleys were used for in times gone by.
The keep itself is striking to look at. The castle was the centre of a great Norman lordship, given by William the Conqueror to William de Warenne. It was most likely built in the 1170s or 1180s. To get inside the keep you have to climb a number of stairs, these look quite modern compared to the rest of the keep, I believe the entrance is where a drawbridge was once located. Once inside you are greeted with a large open plan room and in the centre, there’s a large open space in the floor, unsure of what this was used for previously but now used as a wishing well by visitors. You take the stairs to the top of the keep, as you navigate your way through there are various rooms with large fireplaces on each level, there are various smaller rooms located around these main rooms, one of which was used as a chapel. Decorated with intricate, detailed stonework, is a must-see on your visit here. There are educational videos projected on to the stone walls inside the building which rotate every so often for you to view and learn about the history of the castle and its people. After the long climb to the top, you are rewarded with spectacular views across the town.
I’d certainly give Conisbrough Castle our Stamp of Approval. To learn about the site and book tickets for your visit click here. Conisbrough Castle is situated at Castle Hill, Conisbrough, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN12 3BU.