Our Yorkshire Dales from York tour features two Castles!

Castles in North Yorkshire

There are a number of beautiful castles dotted around the landscape of North Yorkshire in various states of ruin. Some of the castles are fairly inconspicuous and have a hidden, more subtle history. Other castles in the county have a more obvious history, rich in local stories and importance to the country’s monarchy.

There are also sites that bear the name “castle” however are stately homes as opposed to actual castles. These include Castle Howard and Allerton Castle, where the term “castle” is used for English country homes that have been built on sites of former military castles.

Two of the most notable castles, which are featured during Mountain Goat’s tour of the Yorkshire Dales are:

Middleham Castle
Built in 1190, Middleham Castle, in Wensleydale, is most notably the childhood home of Richard III. In 1270, the castle was owned by the Neville family, headed by Richard Neville, known as the “kingmaker”, who was also a significant leader during the ‘War of the Roses’. Anne Neville, Richard Nevilles daughter, later became the wife of Richard III.

Most of the walls of Middleham Castle are still intact and has a substantial Norman “keep” (a fortified tower) surrounded by a 13th century curtain wall. The original gatehouse was adapted in the 14th century with diagonal turrets and fringed by an arch. The entrance was modified in the 15th century, creating a tower in the north east corner of the castle.

Bolton Castle
Built 1378 - 1399, Bolton Castle can also be found in Wensleydale. The casle itself has never been sold and was built by, and remains within ownership of the Scrope family. Mary, queen of Scots, was held prisoner in this castle for 6 months of her life, where she was given the South West tower with incredible views over Wensleydale. She had 51 knights and 30 other members of staff and the Scrope family borrowed rugs, furniture and tapestries from Barnard Castle (a nearby castle in County Durham) and local houses to make the castle “fit for a queen”.


In vengeance against the Pilgrammage of Grace,  supported by the Baron Scrope, King Henry VIII commanded Bolton castle to be torched, causing widespread damage. Sir Francis Knollys, an English courtier for three separate Kings and Queens, said the castle had “The highest walls of any house he had seen”.

Other castles in North Yorkshire include: