It really pisses me off when people moan about lack of things to do and see in their local area. A few times happened to me that somebody was whining about their terrible weekend at home because they had nowhere to go and didn’t want to go to commercial places such as Alton Towers or some other high priced attraction. At this point, I started listing all the great places family could go to at no cost at all (apart from the cost of the petrol). One of these places is Stafford Castle. Do you want to know more about it? Then read on.
1, Amazing history
Stafford Castle is a Grade II listed ruin of a stone castle. At first, timber structures were built by Norman lord Robert de Toeni (Robert of Stafford) in 11th century. This was in 1347 rebuilt with stone by the 1st Earl of Stafford. As usual, the castle was extended and celebrated its heyday from 1444 when Humphrey Stafford was created Duke of Buckingham. The castle played an important role in the Wars of the Roses. Later in 1575, Elizabeth I, came to Stafford Castle and enjoyed her dinner here. Unfortunately, Staffords let the castle decline and the place gradually dilapidated. In 17th century, during the English Civil War, the Parliamentary Committee had it demolished. Thankfully, the Jerningham family inherited the Stafford Barony and in the early 19th century rebuild it to the magnificent four-storey structure. However, once more it started to crumble down after it was abandoned in the 1950s. Nowadays, Stafford Borough Council is looking after the site and the 26 acres of the surrounding land.
2, Educational Stafford Castle trail
You can either let kids run up the path right to the top of the castle or follow the educational trail and walk around it learning interesting facts about this amazing place. You can find out about the motte and ditch system or Ghotic reconstruction built in 1925. Our 7-year-old stopped next to each of the boards testing his reading skills.
3, Pram friendly
There is a tarmac path right to the top of the hill so you don’t need to worry about visiting with a pram. Even the woodland walk is ok but it can be muddy during the winter days when it rains a lot. We visited the castle in January and the paths were just fine.
We are dog lovers and like to take our Lola wherever we go. We always look for dog-friendly places and this one is one of them. Lola made many friends on this walk and she loved playing with them. As soon as we got home she laid on her bed and we didn’t know about her for a few hours only when she made barking noises from her sleep. However, if you are not so keen on dogs or your children are a bit scared of them, don’t worry too much. Most dogs walking up the castle were on the leash and they were let off down on the fields where they could enjoy themselves running around.
5, Great views
Once you climb up to the castle you can enjoy stunning views of the neighbouring area. There are also benches you can sit on and relax or have a mini picnic.
6, Lovely woodland walk
When you descend down from the hill don’t head to the visitor centre just yet. Instead, turn left and go for a lovely woodland walk. In the winter, you can see the building peeking through the trees.
7, Visitor centre
After you’ve seen it all, it’s time to pay a visit to the visitor centre. At the visitor centre, you can learn more about the history of the castle presented via enjoyable an audio-visual display. There are also some hands-on activities for children. Outside the visitor centre, you can find a well maintained Medieval Herb Garden.
Where is it
Are you ready to go? The castle is close to M6 and it’s very well signposted but if you are using sat nav you can use this address: Newport Road, Stafford, ST16 1DJ. Admission is free but there may be a charge for some seasonal events.
OTHER TRIP IDEAS IN THE MIDLANDS: