Lets take a look at some of the castles that remain in the West Midlands region. Dudley Castle (West Midlands county), Tamworth Castle (Staffordshire), Kenilworth Castle and Warwick Castle (Warwickshire). Dudley also includes a zoo. Warwick is now like a Merlin Entertainments place. Kenilworth is English Heritage ruins and gardens. Tamworth is small but intact.

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Castles within the West Midlands region

Lets take a look at some of the castles that remain in the West Midlands region. Dudley Castle (West Midlands county), Tamworth Castle (Staffordshire), Kenilworth Castle and Warwick Castle (Warwickshire). Dudley also includes a zoo. Warwick is now like a Merlin Entertainments place. Kenilworth is English Heritage ruins and gardens. Tamworth is small but intact.

Dudley Castle

Located in Dudley, West Midlands, these days it is a part of Dudley Zoo. It is on Castle Hill. A Grade I listed building.

A castle was built here soon after the Norman Conquest and was a wooden motte and bailey castle. The castle was rebuilt as a stone fortification in the 12th century, but was demolished in the orders of King Henry II. The castle was rebuilt during the 13th century. The tower we see today above the zoo was built in the 14th century. It was slighted by Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War. There is a pair of Russian cannons that were brought back from the Crimean War. They were brought to Dudley in 1857. You can see one below from the view above the track at the zoo.

One of the stone walls and corner turrets at Dudley Castle, seen within the grounds of Dudley Zoo. This dates from the 14th century.

Dudley Castle can be seen from many places in Dudley Town Centre. This is the view from close to Dudley Sixth Form College. You can see how badly slighted the tower was on the right from here.

This view was from Priory Park in Dudley. England flag flying proudly.

This view of Dudley Castle was from Trindle Road in Dudley. The turret from the wall is seen below. From this view taken in October 2016, you can see both of the Russian cannons. Dudley currently has no railway station, but there might be a future Midland Metro line through the town. At present you can get buses there from Birmingham (bus stops are close to outside of the zoo).

Tamworth Castle

Located in Tamworth, Staffordshire. While the castle is now in Staffordshire, before boundary changes in 1889 it used to be in Warwickshire.

You might enter the castle grounds via the Holloway Lodge. A Grade II listed building, it resembles a castle gatehouse. The lodge was built in 1810. Tamworth Castle itself can be seen from above and is a Grade I listed building. A Norman castle built in 1080. The site served as the residence of the Mercian kings during the Anglo Saxon period, but fell into disuse during the Viking invasions.

Within the Castle Grounds there is a statue of Ethelfleda (also known as Æthelflæd). She was the The Lady of the Mercians in 913. The statue dates to 1000 years later in 1913 and is Grade II listed. She was the daughter of Alfred the Great. She led the defence of Mercia against the Danes, fortified Tamworth and other towns.

Tamworth Castle seen on top of the hill. Was a motte and bailey castle. Rebuilt in the 12th century, with repairs and reconstruction during the 13th century. The castle is now a museum. In March 2012 I couldn't see if it was open or not.

Heading up the path, getting closer to Tamworth Castle for a walk around the perimeter. Was nice views of the River Anker from up here. The castle was continuously in use from the 11th and 12th centuries until the 17th century. From the 16th century it was adapted as a residence, but fell into disrepair by the 18th century. The castle was sold to the Tamworth Corporation in the late 19th century (now Tamworth Borough Council).

A look round the back of the castle close up. The council has regularly maintained the castle and turned it into a tourist attraction. The grounds have been landscaped. You can get a train to Tamworth Station from Birmingham New Street, if you wish to visit this castle.

Kenilworth Castle

Located in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. It is now managed by English Heritage. It's a Grade I listed building, and was built from the Norman period to the Tudor period. The castle was the subject of a six month long Siege of Kenilworth in 1266. The castle was founded in the 1120s around a Norman great tower.

From this view you can see the Leicester's Building and The Great Tower, as you enter the castle grounds. On the August 2017 bank holiday weekend was an event called the Clash of Knights (actors were in medieval costumes).

A view of the ruined  Leicester's Building. Below was tents and canopies for that medieval bank holiday weekend event that took place at the time. Recreating what it could have been like in the 12th, 13th or 14th centuries. This tower block was built between 1571 and 1572 by Queen Elizabeth I's favourite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. It was built to provide private lodgings for the queen and her close servants. She visited in 1572 and again in 1575.

This is The Great Tower. Kenilworth Castle was founded in the 1120s by Geoffrey de Clinton, Lord Chamberlain and treasurer to Henry I. The tower is one of the castles earliest surviving features. The Norman keep, or 'great tower' was always the most commanding building at the castle. Most of the base structure was built from 1124 until 1130. King John added an open fighting gallery around 1210 to 1215. Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester altered it in the late 16th century. He enlarged the window openings and may have used the upper floors to display paintings. During the Civil War in the 1640s, it was slighted.

There are steps up to the Strong Tower. This view was from outside of the Great Tower. You can climb up to the top. There are views of the Outer Court from the window openings of the ruined tower. Underneath there was also cellars that you can have a look at. This tower, along with the Great Hall to the left was built between 1373 and 1380 by John of Gaunt, the third son of Edward III. These parts of the castle were slighted during the Civil War in the 1640s and 1650s.

The view of the castle from the Elizabethan Garden. From here you can see the Great Tower on the left. The garden is a recreation of the The Queen's Privy Garden. There are car parks at the castle, but you can also park at car parks in Kenilworth Town Centre, and get a free bus to the castle from Johnsons (this was on the Bank Holiday visit, not sure if they do that when it's not a bank holiday). Since Spring 2018 when Kenilworth Station opened, that has given visitors from Birmingham an alternate route to get to the castle. Trains from Birmingham New Street to Coventry, then on the branch line to Leamington Spa (get off at Kenilworth). Or from Birmingham Snow Hill (or Solihull) towards Leamington Spa. Change trains towards Coventry. The castle is a 20 minute walk away from the station in Kenilworth.

Warwick Castle

Located in Warwick, Warwickshire. It is operated by Merlin Entertainments. It's a medieval castle that started after the Norman Conquest and was developed from 1068 onwards. It is next to the River Avon.

Seen from Castle Hill next to this roundabout is the Warwick Castle Lodge. It is a Grade II listed building and was built from 1796 until 1797 by Samuel Muddiman and John Williams. It has Neo-Gothic details. You can enter the castle grounds from this lodge. Tickets for the castle can be quite pricey, but it maybe possible to get an online discount.

The castle was bought by the Tussauds Group in 1978, hence why there are loads of waxwork figures around the castle. The castle started off as a motte and bailey castle. It was later rebuilt in stone during the 12th century. The facade opposite the town was refortified during the Hundred Years War in the 14th century. In 1604 it was granted to Sir Fulke Greville by James I. The Greville family, who became Earls of Warwick in 1759 held it until Tussauds bought it in 1978.

This is a view of Guy's Tower. Probably named after Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick, during the 14th century.

This is a view of the Caesar's Tower. The view was from Banbury Road in Warwick. It also dates to the 14th century. The towers dominate the skyline of Warwick from the nearby houses in the area. The town centre isn't that far from the castle. It's well worth a look for it's mix of architecture.

Usually on my visits to Warwick, I'm just there to have a look around the town, so the earlier photos didn't get to see the castle from the river. In May 2016 I found a view of the castle from the Castle Bridge on Banbury Road. From here you can see people on paddle boats that look like swans or dragons. Boat hire is from St Nicholas Park. There is a weir at the far end of the river, so people in the boats have to turn back.

The castle really does look magnificent from here! Queen Elizabeth I visited the castle in 1566 and again in 1572. John Dudley was granted the castle in 1547 and was given the title Earl of Warwick. The title went extinct in 1590 on the death of Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick (an elder brother of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester who owned Kenilworth Castle). There is almshouses in Warwick called Lord Leycester Hospital. Robert Dudley founded it in 1571. You can get trains on the Chiltern Mainline from Birmingham Snow Hill or Solihull to Warwick. The castle is a short walk away from there.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.