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Bolton Castle
Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle

Wensleydale, England

The Basics

Bolton Castle is famous for its architectural detail and for its history: it was once home to an imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots. Visit to see her bedroom and learn about the castle’s history, then enjoy archery, bee hives, and birds of prey on the grounds. The castle is still occupied by its current owners, but a large proportion of the property is open to the public, including the old kitchens, dungeon, nursery, and armory.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • You must pay an admission fee to enter the castle and grounds.

  • Dogs are not allowed in the castle or on the grounds.

  • The castle is full of uneven surfaces, and you must climb a spiral staircase to reach the upper floors, so the site is not easily accessible to those with reduced mobility.

  • The castle’s Guest Hall contains a tea room open to visitors.

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How to Get There

Bolton Castle is located near Redmire, Wensleydale, on the eastern border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s approximately 5 miles west of the town of Leyburn; to reach the castle from Leyburn by car, follow the A684 towards Wensley. Bus service runs between Leyburn, Bolton Castle, and the surrounding towns from Monday to Saturday. The Wensleydale Railway —a seasonal Heritage Railway service—also links Leyburn and Redmire.

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When to Get There

The castle building is open from April–October, and the grounds are open all-year-round. That said, the castle is sometimes closed for special events or weddings; check the schedule before planning a visit.

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Middleham Castle

Continue your castle tour with a visit to the equally impressive Middleham Castle, located about 20 minutes southeast of Bolton Castle. While no longer habitable, the medieval ruins are fun to explore and offer a sense of the building’s once imposing size and structure. While visiting, learn about the building’s history: the castle was King Richard III’s childhood home, and the fascinating Middleham Jewel was discovered nearby.

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