Old Wardour Castle is an ancient ruin in southern England, 15 miles west of Salisbury, Wiltshire. Built in the 1300’s, it was destroyed during the English Civil War in 1644. Rather than rebuild the castle, it was left as a ‘romantic ruin’, a ghostly memory from the past. This castle is now an English Heritage site, available for all to visit and explore.
I drove to Old Wardour Castle through the hills and valleys of Wiltshire for a visit with family. Sitting on a hilltop, yet tucked away behind lush forest, Wardour Castle certainly deserves the title of ‘romantic ruins’. I have visted my fair share of castles since I moved to the UK, but Wardour Castle is unique in it’s own right.
Continue reading for a glimpse into Old Wardour Castle.
To get to Old Wardour Castle, you will need to drive. We put the post code SP3 6RR in our Sat Nav and took off through Wiltshire county.
I always say that England has the most beautiful countryside, and for good reason! A drive to Wardour Castle takes you through stunning hills and valleys, thick forest, and farm land. It was a lovely spring day, the sun was shining and the wind was breezy and light. We could see the castle from the car park, overlooking the fields and a nearby pond, boldly standing at the top of the hill.
The Stone Grotto
Upon entering the grounds, there is a 16th century stone grotto on the left, in the surrounding forest. It’s a fun spot for children (and adults!) to peek their head through the jutting walls and overgrown ivy.
When you visit, try and spot the ancient fountain!
The Castle Courtyard
If you can imagine, hundred of years ago when the ruins were still a grand castle, the inner courtyard would have been bustling with activity. According to old text, courtyards like this were the center of chatter and speculative gossip!
What would the walls say if they could talk?
Climbing the East Tower
From the courtyard, you can climb narrow spiral staircases up two, three, or four floors. This is not for the faint of heart, the steep, narrow stairs have crumbled in places. But if you’re up for it, the view from the top is spectacular, overlooking the pond and fairy forests.
Each floor offers an intimate look into what life might have been like hundreds of years ago. Square indentations in the wall were once a fire hearths, burning to warm cool stone rooms where the lord’s family might have played cards and embroidered. Huge barred windows overlook neighboring valleys, where they could have seen for miles and miles. I imagine it would have been a calm and peaceful life, at least until the civil war that destroyed it to ruin.
Old Wardour Castle Might Just Be My Favorite Castle…
I do love a good English castle (and a good ol’ English Cathedral), but Old Wardour might be my favorite so far! There were plenty of informative signs throughout the grounds offering a look into the past. If you want a more in-depth history of the castle, you can also rent a headset audio tour of the grounds. Most of all, I love the romance of it all, the stone grotto, crumbling stair cases, the still pond, and the lush forests.