Our last stop during our trip to the Isle of Wight last month was Carrisbrooke Castle. It was high up on my list of places to visit on the island as it’s close to East Cowes where we were getting the ferry home, and somewhere I’d never been before. We wanted somewhere we could while away a big chunk of our last day as our ferry home was booked for 6:30pm and we checked out of our caravan at 10am that morning.
We actually ended up spending our morning at the model village (this can easily be walked in an hour, though we did it faster as it was so quiet, but did hang out at the model train for AGES because Henry loved it so much) and then popped to Newport for lunch before heading to Carrisbrooke Castle.
To be honest, its a great site for anyone with kids as it’s pretty enclosed with only one main entrance and exit, and then one smaller entrance/exit at the back which goes out to a field which is part of the external castle grounds. You’re probably best going with either confident walkers, or little ones that are happy to be carried as there are a lot of steps dotted around, especially going up to The Keep. Henry was totally in his element having a wander about, though I did have a firm grip on his hand for 99% of the walk around the top of the castle. Unfortunately my mum mind has made me so much less care-free and although there are a lot of barriers and the castle is well-kept, I still couldn’t completely push the fear of Henry falling from my mind. So hand of steel grip was in action for the afternoon.
Henry’s highlight was the donkeys that work inside the castle. They work for six minutes a day, and walk inside a giant wheel to pull water up from the well. Of course this is for demonstration purposes, and we missed the demo for the day, but we did spend an inordinate amount of time hanging out with the four donkeys in their stables, with Henry shouting “eeeyore” to every other guest. Typically we forgot to get a single photo with the donkeys!
We had a lot of fun climbing about, and looking through various windows to the beautiful views of the Island. The views from The Keep are amazing and so worth the climb. Carrisbrooke Castle also played home/prison for King Charles I and there are lots of interesting facts about him and where he lived during his time at the castle. Henry just wanted to climb the windows, but Dann and I found it all very interesting, and can’t wait to return one day when the boys are a bit older so we can learn all about the history of the castle together.
Also the tea room is lovely, with really excellent cake, and colouring pages and toys to keep the kids entertained. A big winner for this energetic family.
Entry to Carrisbrooke Castle is £11 with gift aid donation for adults, and free for under 5’s. It is also free of charge to English Heritage members. Also parking is charged in the car park (coins only), but is refunded to you when you buy an entry ticket. Or if you don’t have cash, give your registration number to the ticket office when you arrive.