Richmond Castle | Imposing Yorkshire Stronghold

Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire towers over the prosperous market town of Richmond, and the River Swale. Here’s our guide.

The castle was originally built from 1071 onwards by Alan Rufus after the Norman Conquest of England. It is referred to as a ‘castlery’ at Richmond within the 1086 Domesday Book. 

richmond castle

During the 12th century, Alan Rufus’s great-nephew, Conan, expanded the castle and constructed the keep. Despite the fact that it was derelict by 1540, it was restored centuries after this. In fact, the castle is the best-preserved castle from the early Norman period in England, which is why it is such a critical and popular tourist attraction. Read on to discover everything you need to know about it. 

Where Is Richmond Castle?

Richmond Castle | Imposing Yorkshire Stronghold 1

You will find Richmond Castle in Richmond, North Yorkshire. It is situated near to the centre of the town in Richmond, with a commanding position above the River Swale.

As can be seen on the above map, Richmond (the castle icon) is just off the A1 road between Leeds and Newcastle.

Richmond Town

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Richmond Town

The town of Richmond in North Yorkshire is actually worth a visit in itself.

A prosperous market town on the River Swale, it has a lovely market square, and lots of small shops, cafes and pubs. There’s also a great weekly market that has been serving the local community for centuries.

History Of Richmond Castle

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Alan Rufus

So, let’s delve a little bit deeper into the history of Richmond Castle.

During the 1069, William the Conqueror put down a rebellion in York, which was then followed by what we call the “harrying of the North.” This was an act of ethnic cleansing, which meant that huge areas were depopulated for generations. 

North Yorkshire lands were divided up and given to his loyal followers as further punishment. The borough of Richmond was given to Alan Rufus of Brittany.

He started to construct the castle as a defence against rebellions in the future and to create his own personal power base. Known as the Honour of Richmond, his holdings covered areas of eight counties and amounted to one of the most extensive Norman estates in the country. 

By the end of the 14th century, Richmond Castle fell out of use as a fortress. There were no major improvements to it after this date. A rise in tourism caused the castle to be repaired in the early 19th century. 

Richmond Castle Today

castle in richmond yorkshire

Richmond Castle is undoubtedly one of the best tourist attractions in North Yorkshire. Not only can you explore one of Britain’s greatest Norman fortresses, yet you can also enjoy some of the most breathtaking views of the Yorkshire Dales. 

You can also explore the gift shop, which is filled to the brim with present ideas, and there is a tranquil and beautiful Cockpit Garden as well. Make sure you check out the castle’s exciting and fun events programme, as there are a lot of live-action events that take place here throughout the year. 

Visitor info:

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If you are interested in visiting Richmond Castle, it is advisable to book in advance via the English Heritage website. While this is not a necessity, you will get a guaranteed slot and you can also be sure that the best prices are found online as well. Do not forget to bring your book confirmation with you if you do book online.

Opening times

Opening times do differ throughout the year. During most weeks, Richmond Castle is only open on Saturday and Sunday. However, there are some weeks throughout the year whereby you can visit Monday – Sunday, so it is always worth checking out the English Heritage website before planning your trip. The castle’s opening hours are 10.00 am until 4.00 pm. Late admission is 30 minutes prior to closing time. 

Admissions fees

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If you want to visit Richmond Castle, there are two different pricing options; with a donation and without a donation. Of course, if you are a member of English Heritage, you will be able to visit this castle free of charge. Otherwise, the following prices apply: 

  • For an adult, the price with a donation is £7.60, and the price without a donation is £6.90.
  • For a child (aged between five and 17-years-old), the price with a donation is £4.60, and the price without a donation is £4.10.
  • For a concession ticket, the price with a donation is £6.90, and the price without a donation is £6.20.
  • For a family (two adults and up to three children), the price with a donation is £19.80, and the price without a donation is £17.90.
  • For a family (one adult and up to three children), the price with a donation is £12.20, and the price without a donation is £11.00.