Days out in Yorkshire: Helmsley Castle, North Yorkshire

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Helmsley is one of those places that a lot of people have either been to or heard of, and it’s mostly thanks to the Black Swan Hotel or the Feversham Arms Hotel & Spa.

But peek behind the very velvety curtain and you’ll find a chunk of Medieval history in the shape of Helmsley Castle.

The castle was built almost 900 years ago, mostly from wood, by prominent military figure during the reign of Henry I, Walter Espec.

Work to convert the castle to stone began about 70 years later.

And now under the watchful eye of English Heritage, Helmsley Castle offers all the trappings of a fascinating day out.

The bridge to the castle’s entrance crosses an archetypal moat, though it is no longer filled with water.

The shape of the entire perimeter wall is still visible with the help of a little imagination.

It’s a shame that some pesky antagonists decided to lay siege to the castle 300 years ago, culminating in the destruction of the vast majority of the masonry.

Still, the East Tower remains upright, as does the old hall, which was converted into a Tudor mansion in the Sixteenth Century.

It’s now home to an exhibition showing the castle through the ages.

There’s an interesting audio tour for every visitor which provides extra narrative at particular points around the castle – great if you’re there as an interested novice rather than a seasoned castle buff.

So next time you’re in Helmsley, don’t forget to see the castle.

FACTFILE

Prices: Adult £5.00, Child £3.00, Family £13.00. Free for English Heritage members.

Opening Times: Saturday & Sunday, 10am to 4pm

Address: Castlegate, Helmsley, North Yorkshire

Car Parking: Pay and display parking in Helmsley

Attraction Website: www.english-heritage.org.uk/helmsleycastle

Telephone: 01439 770442

Sat Nav: YO62 5AB

For more days out see www.yorkshire.com

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