Its been a few years since we last had a family holiday on the Isle of Wight and this time we did a bit more exploring around the Island and joined up as members of the English Heritage. Our first visit was at Carisbrooke Castle in Newport which is famous for where Charles I was imprisoned before his execution in 1649.

As you drive through Newport you start to wonder if you’ve made a wrong turn or something because there was no sign of castle which could be seen standing prominent on a hill. But following the trusty sat nav and eventually heading up Castle Hill, there it suddenly appears in front of you with the huge gate house standing tall.

Since the Saxon times there has been some kind of fortification at the site but Carisbrooke Castle as you see it today had been built upon since 1100 and survived its only attack by the French in 1377 thanks to a local hero Peter de Heyno who shot the French commander.

The most impressive part of the castle is the keep which was built in the reign of Henry I and Elizabeth I from the expected invasion of the Spanish Armada. The keep is a castle within itself and was the last standing point from an invasion on the main fortification. There are many uneven steps to reach the the top, but the views are worth the climb. The shear height and slopping hill would be enough to ‘keep’ any enemy from penetrating this part of the castles defence. So confident that they could survive this part of the castle they even built a huge well which could supply enough drinking water for a very long time.

There is plenty to explore and admire at Carisbrooke and so far one of the best castles we’ve visited. Make sure you bring a decent camera and take plenty of photos.

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