It took us just under an hour to get from Leicester to get to Bolsover Castle. I am a sucker for a beautiful castle and Dunnottar in Scotland is still my favourite, but Bolsover comes a very close second for the view from the road.
Unlike many tourist attractions, there is free parking available just over the road from the entrance to the castle and we couldn’t wait to get inside and start exploring.
The romantic ruined terrace range which overlooks the Vale of Scarsdale was our first port of call. It is a dramatic roofless shell that was once a range of stately rooms that formed the entrance to Bolsover Castle and is perfect for a game of hide and seek.
The kids were keen to see what else we could find and our next stop was the Fountain Garden which was designed around the statue of Venus emerging from her bath. Cue much giggling from the kids as not only was Venus loosely draped in shawl, but the statue also featured lots of little boys going for a wee-wee.
We wandered around the stunning the gardens which were manicured to perfection with plants and flowers planted to capture the spirit of the garden in its heyday.
To one side of the garden is the Little Castle with medieval-style turrets and towers. Inside the castle is a labyrinth of sumptuous rooms which has been brilliantly preserved and beautifully restored, with richly coloured wall art, carved marble fireplaces and stunning painted ceilings.
Inside was a room with a stage for the kids and regal costumes to try on, plus there was an English Heritage member of staff on hand to talk about some of the rooms and paintings. She was really knowledgable and happy to answer all the questions the kids threw at her, even managing to answer the request for a ghost story.
If you visit Bolsover Castle I urge you to walk along the Castle Walls as it has stunning countryside views, and looks down on the fountain garden down below.
Our final stop was the riding school, where William Cavendish trained his horses back in the 1600’s.
We just missed the Cavalier Horsemanship display which is on 3 times daily, which demonstrate moves that we know today as dressage and all with the riders clothed in the frills, feathers and high boots. Thankfully the kids were happy to clamber up onto a wooden horse or gallop around the displays aboard a hobby horse.
In the grounds there is also a small play park and a large picnic area complete with medieval games for people to try.
Visiting castles with kids opens up their imaginations as they climb the ramparts, investigate the history of the castle, or simply take in the atmosphere. During Easter, English Heritage will be running a series of Easter Adventure Quests across the country, where families can meet a costumed character, solve clues and win chocolate rewards.
I really would recommend visiting an English Heritage property as a fun family day out and you can read about our visit to Kenilworth Castle here.
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