Stokesay Castle, Shropshire, is a fortified manor house is set in a stunning location in the Only river valley between Craven Arms and Ludlow. It is one of the best preserved medieval castles in the country.
The orinal castle was built by local landowners the De Lacys, but the castle as it stands was the work of Laurence of Ludlow, a wealthy wool merchant in the 13th century. It is a symbol of the importance of the area in a europe wide trade of the valuable commodity of British, and particularly Welsh, wool.
Stokesay Castle is made up of the Solar block flanked by the north and west towers, a 17th century half timbered gatehouse surrounded by moat. It was never intended to be a serious fortification and probably served as a manor house. It is one of the best preserved medieval fortified manors in the country. Currently operated by English Heritage it can be viewed from the outside but tour around the buildings is recommended, particularly to see the wood panelling of the solar room.
There are often events in the castle including stagings of Shakespeare’s plays by travelling theatre companies. If you get a chance to see one while you’re visiting it is highly recommended – the backdrop of the castle courtyard is amazing.
There is a tea room in the car park and an English Heritage gift shop with an interesting range of plants for sale at the entrance to the castle. The chapel of St John The Baptist is also with a visit and is just outside the castle grounds. Walks up the hill behind the castle are also recommended, and the visit can be combined with the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre.