Bolsover Castle – in its original form – was built in the 12th century by the Peverel family. In 1553 it was bought by Sir George Talbot, later to become the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury and husband of the redoubtable Bess of Hardwick.
In 1608 the castle was sold to Charles Cavendish, who employed Robert Smythson as his architect to rebuild the castle. The tower (the “little castle”) was completed around 1621 and other buildings were subsequently added, including a riding school. The castle fell into ruin during the English Civil War but William Cavendish restored it to good order in the late 17th century.
After many years of disuse, the castle was given to the nation by the 7th Duke of Portland in 1945 and is now looked after by English Heritage. Heritage events are regularly held at the castle and it is open to the public for most of the year.
Bolsover Castle is well worth a visit, not only for its history but also for the stunning views it commands and the beautiful gardens. A fun day out for everyone – and mostly accessible aside from the little castle (steep steps) and some of the outer footpaths.
Opening times: Visit the English Heritage site here.
Parking: Car park available but can get very busy at peak times. Car park in Bolsover town centre 5 minutes walk away
Facilities: Toilets, restaurant, and gift shop in the visitor centre. Shops, pubs, and restaurants in Bolsover.