Middleham Castle

Built-in 1190, Middleham Castle today is in the care of English Heritage.

Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle History

Construction on the current castle site began in the mid-12th century. Prior to that, a Motte and Bailey-style castle existed in Middleham from the time of William the Conqueror.

Middleham Castle looking along the side

The original castle consisted of not much more than earthworks and perhaps a wooden palisade. When the new castle was built, it was constructed of stone and had a massive central keep, thus the old castle was abandoned. Today the earthworks can still be seen to the Southwest of the existing castle.

In 1270, Middleham Castle passed by marriage to Robert de Nevill and remained in their family possession until 1471. Around 1300, stone curtain walls were added, surrounding the massive keep. The castle passed down through generations of Nevills until 1471 when Richard Nevill, the Earl of Warwick, was killed at the Battle of Barnet. King Edward IV then granted the castle to his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later became King Richard III.

Middleham Castle view

Richard III spent some of his youthful years at Middleham in the care of Richard Nevill and was very fond of the castle. Richard made Middleham Castle his principal castle in the North of England and it was at Middleham that his young son Prince Edward died in 1484. Richard was crowned King of England in 1483 and was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 just over two years after becoming King.

After his death, the castle was seized by Henry Tudor, King Henry VII. It was maintained until the 16th century when it was sold by King James I and fell into ruin. In 1925 it was placed in the guardianship of the Office of Works made repairs to the castle and made it safe once again during the 1930s. In 1984 the castle came under the care and ownership of English Heritage.

Middleham Castle Visitor Information

Middleham Castle Highlights

Middleham Castle, East Wall

For a castle in ruins, Middleham Castle is still an imposing site. The remaining ruins are massive and fun to explore. In order to get a good view, before you enter the castle’s entrance, walk to the left around and past the castle walls, and follow the road back a few hundred yards so you can see the castle in its whole scope.

The Castle entrance itself is on the village side of the castle. Cross over the wooden bridge and go through the gatehouse. Upon exiting the main gatehouse, you will see the gift shop to the left where you purchase your ticket.

Most of the Middleham Castle foundations are still intact and the guidebook will help you determine what each room was used for around the castle.

The most impressive part of the castle is the central keep. You can still see how the keep was divided into two parts and had different levels.

the Middleham Castle ruins

Kitchens and cellars were located on the ground floor and the great hall and chambers were on the second level.

The stone staircase is long since gone to the second level, but a modern wooden staircase provides access to the upper level and the top of the keep which probably has some great views of the North Yorkshire countryside and the old castle earthworks to the Southwest.

One of the most beautiful views of the castle can be found by leaving the town of Middleham and driving up the hill behind it where you can see the castle rise up from the valley below over the trees.

Opening Hours

Middleham ruined castle walls, from the inside

The castle is open to the public daily.

Apr-Sep: Daily 10 am to 6 pm.
Oct-Mar: Thurs-Mon 10 am to 4 pm
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays during winter

Group visitors can get a 15% discount for more than 11 people, plus a free ticket for more than 20 people. Contact 01969 623899 for booking and details.

A gift shop is also open in the castle.

Contact Information:

For updated info about opening times and tickets visit the official website or contact the Tourist Centre at 01969 623069

Middleham Castle Location

The castle is located in the town of Middleham, 2 miles South of Leyburn off the A6108 in North Yorkshire England.

Middleham Castle Map

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