Bolsover Castle was built in the 12th century. This spectacular castle is steeped in history and sits high up on a hill with stunning views over the surrounding countryside.

The oldest part of the castle may have fallen into ruin, but you can still get a sense of how it would have been lived in way back in the 12th century. You are still able to make out the huge stone door frames, fireplaces and windows.

Still standing is the Riding House. This enchanting indoor arena was built around 1660, by William Duke of Cavendish. William’s dedication to equestrian arts and horsemanship was well known at the time, making him the epitome of the cavalier. We were lucky enough to be offered a peek inside the shoeing room, with its stone flagged floor where you could imagine the horses being prepared for the chance to show off their skills to the English noblemen of the period. Indeed, English Heritage who are today’s custodians of Bolsover Castle, stage equestrian events in the Riding House, allowing today’s visitors the opportunity to experience the space being using as it was intended.

A beautifully manicured walled garden welcomes you to the Little Castle’s pretty exterior. Designed around the statue of Venus - goddess of love, it includes a secluded chamber designed for intimate banquets set into the garden wall.

Inside the Little Castle there are quite a few steps to climb, but as you do, you get a sense of who would have walked there before you. Each flight of stairs takes you to rooms with beautiful ornate fireplaces, beautifully painted ceilings and, of course, each room benefits from those amazing views. The Castle was built as an extravagant retreat for entertaining, eating drinking, hunting and plays. Exploring the cellars below ground, you get a feel for the heat and how the food would have been prepared for the many banquets and parties that would have taken place. Indeed, at huge expense to William Cavendish, in 1634 Charles 1st was said to have visited Bolsover.

There is an outdoor picnic area, children’s play area, café, giftshop and toilets. There is also plenty of free parking nearby. Dogs are welcome too, (just not inside the Little Castle).

The grandchildren asked how knights were able to walk so many steps in their suits of armour! They loved the views from the wall walk and enjoyed the cellar and the ‘spooky’ kitchens. They had fun participating. There were three generations of the Thornley family on the trip, and we can confirm that there is definitely something for everyone.

My daughter is keen to go back to see the next event at the Riding House and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my family and exploring Bolsover Castle and enjoying a beautiful spring day. Well worth a visit – and the staff were all amazing too!

This blog was written by Annette Thornley - Business Development Manager at Visit Nottinghamshire. 




Nobody has commented on this post yet, why not send us your thoughts and be the first?

Leave a Reply