- Visit Ludlow Castle for a great historical experience, and you immerse yourself in the castle's rich history.
- Check out the array of festivals held in and around Ludlow, from food festivals to Medieval festivals, theatre, music and more.
- Don't miss out on the events that Ludlow Castle holds, especially during the school holidays so your little ones can have a great time learning while having fun and engaging in the site's history.
Ludlow Castle is one of the most magnificent medieval ruins in England and offers a great family day out, set within the exquisite Shropshire countryside in the centre of Ludlow market town, bustling with festivals, people and more just waiting to be discovered. Wander around the Castle grounds to discover the ancient homes of royalty, from queens, kings, judges, princes and the nobility. Immerse yourself in Ludlow Castle history for a glimpse into medieval society.
If you're looking for things to do in Ludlow, you won't be short of a fun time as the town has a strong pull that always draws in families and history lovers, it's something quite unexplainable. People can often spend hours in the castle without getting bored or tired of it. Plus, as the town has a stunning collection of narrows roads, artisan shops and Tudor buildings, there's something delightful and pleasant about the place. But, of course, it is undoubtedly the rich history that draws people to the town and Ludlow Castle.
Ludlow Castle has an interesting, riotous, history, becoming Crown property in 1461 and remaining a royal castle for the following 350 years. Originally a Norman Fortress, Ludlow Castle expanded over the centuries to transform into a fortified Royal Palace, which has cemented Ludlow’s place in history. It was originally constructed to hold back the Welsh and has passed through the generations of the Mortimer and de Lacy families to Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York. During its time as a Crown property and royal castle, the Council of the Marches was formed with responsibility for the Welsh government and its bordering counties. But the castle was abandoned in 1689 and Ludlow fell rapidly into ruin. If you're after some great Shropshire castles and experiences, check out Attingham Park, a National Trust English country house and estate in the village of Atcham, offering some more rich historical experiences and beautiful gardens.
Ludlow Castle, since 1811, has been owned by the Earls of Powis, declined further but then, this majestic historical monument became open to the public, inviting curious souls and history lovers to immerse themselves in the history for this castle. Now the Castle boasts many responsibilities and is an important cultural epicentre for Ludlow, being home to many of Ludlow’s main festivals which run through the year and are open for everyone to enjoy in and around the castle and at Castle Square.
In June each year, the castle becomes the central venue for the Ludlow Festival, which is a tradition that began in 1634, with the very first performance of John Milton's Comus. The castle's inner bailey transforms into the stage for outdoor Shakespearean plays, which are accompanied by music concerts in the outer bailey, boasting some famous names such as Michael Ball and Jools Holland. Ludlow Fringe Festival is full of laughs, drama, music and mayhem, normally taking place in August. Storm the castle and get inside Ludlow Castle for Ludlow Food Festival for your chance to marry history and food, with more than 180 food and drink producers, samples and tasting going on. Don't miss out on Ludlow Spring Festival around the castle which is brimming with feasting, fun, live music and motors, typically taking place in May. You might want to check out Ludlow Medieval Castle Fayre for the full historical Ludlow experience, from performances from all your Fayre favourites. Home to theatre, music, jesters and storytelling, there are bite-sized historical highlights, activities that all the kids can enjoy and some behind the scenes tours, events, demonstrations, exhibitions and creative workshops.
If you miss out on any of the festivals, there are plenty of Ludlow Castle events held on site and in the town of Ludlow, including family events and activities during the school holidays. Its repertoire includes Living History, Guided Tours, Birds of Prey, flying displays and a Medieval Christmas Fayre in November, so whatever the season, whatever the weather and whatever your mood, they'll be something at Ludlow Castle for everyone to enjoy.
Ludlow Castle has undergone many wonderful transformations too, as Castle House, which was the last grand mansion built in Ludlow, underwent restoration in 2006. Today it is a space comprising a jewellery-makers' and artists' shop; tea rooms; and several five-star self-catering apartments for up to a seven-night stay, working together with fine function rooms for hire for events and weddings.
When you're feeling peckish, visit the Ludlow Castle tea rooms at the Castle Café, and the Tea Room. These eateries were converted from buildings that were previously put to a different use, the castle's architects transformed them, however, and now they have become a wonderful catering experience because of a sympathetic revamp, making trips to the castle even more worth it. Ludlow Castle has a shop and tearoom within the building walls, and the converted Castle House has much to offer. Like the rooms built into the castles outer curtain wall, where now there is holiday accommodation, and civil marriages take place within the beautiful architecture of the walls. Be sure to check out the three luxury self-catering holiday homes that live within Castle House and the Beacon Room, plus peruse the Library as this is where civil wedding ceremonies occur, you might be inspired! The Library is licensed for up to 60 guests. There is Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon room, which has two bedrooms and sleeps 5. There is the Sir Henry Sidney room, which has two bedrooms and sleeps 4. And there is the Comus rooms, which has two bedrooms and sleeps 4, so you're spoilt for choice.
We have to warn you though, there have been some ghost sightings at Ludlow Castle, typically at the graveyard though so you can easily avoid it if you want unless you're a fan!
When you're ready, the town of Ludlow, Shropshire, is just waiting to be discovered. Here there are a wealth of independent shops and eateries, plus some hidden away in the medieval streets, so make sure you have time to wander through all the nooks and crannies whilst you and your family are here, revelling in the history, quaint streets and more. There are also some great walking routes nearby, be sure to walk around the outside of the Castle and down through to the River Teme taking in the Bread walk. If you come at the right time, you can get involved in great events like the Great Easter Egg Hunt and more.
Check out St Laurence’s Church, which is a short wander across the market square from the Ludlow Castle and boasts a stunning medieval parish church. There are some wonderful large stained window which honour and celebrate Ludlow’s famous medieval inhabitants like the Duke of York, Edward Prince of Wales, King Edward IV and Arthur Prince of Wales. Plus, don't miss out on the Castle Lodge which is located on the other side of the market square and this is a striking, decadent building dating back to the thirteenth century. It was actually once a prison, but has also, surprisingly, been a hotel and now is in private hands. Nowadays, it is open to the public for a small charge, and this contributes toward the upkeep, but it's also worth a visit,
To learn more about National Trust Ludlow Castle, head to Ludlow Museum for more great English Heritage Shropshire experiences. Ludlow museum is home to some fantastic interactive exhibitions and an environment steeped in the history of the area, while also embodying the architecture and history through its town-centre location. The museum building is situated within the historic walled town of Ludlow, which forms a key focus point at Broad Street.
When your little ones are looking for some extra fun in the West Midlands region, why not check out the Birmingham Botanical Gardens too.
What to know before you go
- Ludlow Castle opening times are 10am–5pm.
- When you're feeling peckish, there is the Castle Café, open 10am to 4pm, serving snacks, hot drinks and more.
- Plus, there are toilets, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. The toilets facilities are in the Castle Shop, and in Castle House for the tea rooms, which include accessible toilets and baby changing.
- Some areas are navigable by pushchair and wheelchair, although as this is an old castle, not every area is, like in the towers. Those with access needs can avoid paying the castle fee if they will be unable to navigate all the castle.
- Dogs are welcome within the Castle and the Tea Room's Courtyard but are required to be kept on a lead.
- Ludlow Castle is located in Ludlow, Shropshire.
- If travelling by public transport, the Ludlow Train Station is a 12-minute walk from the Castle. Alternatively, you can get a bus from there which takes five minutes. The service 701, or 722 to Assembly Rooms will take you to Ludlow Castle.
- If travelling via car, Ludlow is situated on the A49, if you're coming from Birmingham, head west on the A456, travelling through Kidderminster, stay on the A456 through Tenbury Wells, then turn right onto the A49 and there will be signs to Ludlow that you can follow. If you're travelling from the M5, take Junction 3, and continue on the A456 through Kidderminster and Tenbury Wells, then turn right on the A49 and follow the signs to Ludlow.
- There is Ludlow Castle parking on site with a car park.