Reviewed by Nicola Wilson
“A hidden Wonder”
My family and I recently visited Pickering Castle in April 2015.I really enjoy this visit! What an interesting historical find! Pickering Castle is set in the heart of Pickering’s Historic Market Town in North Yorkshire; near to Pickering Steam Railway and Beck Isle Museum. Pickering Castle is well hidden and we could have easily overlooked it. We have driven through the town centre before and never noticed that Pickering stands claim to having a castle before now. I would definitely recommend Pickering Castle to other historical enthusiasts, ramblers, photographers, painters, wildlife lovers and part-time explorers. This castle is worth stopping to have a look at. Its amazing views of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park is all inspiring.
When you think about castles you start to think about large stately homes of Kings and Queens with large majestic well-kept gardens. Pickering castle is a refreshing change to “the norm”. Pickering Castle is a 13th Century purpose built fortified castle that was used by the townspeople of Pickering.
Upon arrival the kids were given a kids worksheet and we filled this out while we walked around the guided tour (that was full of facts and pictures) that was numbered around the site. A member of the English Heritage staff was amazingly informative and personable. Racheal read my topical children stories and feed them full of facts about the castle.
The Castle’s facilities includes: The Chapel and Museum; which is beautifully restored and has an informative facts/pictures and a large interactive book. A Cabin Shop; with ice creams and drinks and the normal English Heritage merchandise. A Guided Tour. A small free car park. A well-kept car park Toilet and The Mound; with its views of interesting ruins (you can see some remaining detail of a staircase and doorways). They also have picnic tables and I could have easily spent all day there if the weather hadn’t changed. Pickering Castle isn’t a huge site but its main attraction is the Mound with the ruins of the castle on top; which is well worth exploring for the beautiful views alone.
I give the site a rating of 3 out of 5. There were some bad points: 1. I didn’t like the sudden drops, I recommend you do not leave any children unsupervised. 2. I was looking forward to seeing the natural wildlife that was recommended by the staff but I didn’t see any. I would have liked to see this encouraged more! i.e: camera bird boxes, shelter for animals etc… 3. As it is of need of a small make-over and it’s important to look after an architectural treasure such as this and I would have liked to have explored the outer wall.
Well done Pickering Castle you have proudly flown the flag for Pickering and will until we return again.
Tickets (with Gift Aid): Adult £4.30 (£4.80), Child £2.60 (£2.90), Family £11.20 (£12.50).
English Heritage membership starts from £41 and gives you unlimited access to castles and gardens, historic houses and abbeys, and kids go free.
For more information visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pickering-castle.
Pickering Castle, Castlegate, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7AX