Castle Rushen

During our holiday on the Isle of Man, we visited Castle Rushen, which is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe. It was built in the late 13th century and was once home to the Kings and Lords of Mann. As well as being a royal residence, the castle has also been used as a fortress, a mint and a prison.

Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big Love

I love visiting castles, although one of the things I definitely don’t like about them are the narrow spiral staircases, and with two small children in tow these are even more of a challenge. Castle Rushen has a lot of spiral staircases to take you up to the top of the castle! Thankfully Jessica managed to climb up them quite well by herself and with Sophie in the carrier it was fairly doable, although there were one or two moments where I ended up carrying both children. On the plus side, it was good exercise but my thigh muscles were very achy the next day!

Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big Love

We climbed to the top of the castle and admired the view across Castletown and the Manx countryside.

Views from the top of Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big Love

Once inside the main part of the castle, it was a relief to know that there were no more spiral staircases to negotiate – just nice wide straight ones! Various historical scenes were shown in the different rooms of the castle – the lords dining in the medieval banqueting hall (and later on a similar scene but set in the 17th century), the medieval kitchen and James Stanley, Lord of Mann, in the Presence Chamber.

The medieval banqueting chamber- Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big Love17th century dining scene - Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big LoveJames Stanley in the Presence Chamber - Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big Love

One of the things I found particularly interesting about our trip to Castle Rushen was the History in Heels exhibition, which is taking place across various Isle of Man locations and tells the story of various women throughout the history of the Isle of Man. Reading about the women whose stories were part of the history of the castle was fascinating – from the heartbreaking account of the woman who was transported for stealing just a few yards of ribbons and who drowned en route to Australia, to the story of the Countess Charlotte Stanley who held the castle while her husband was away fighting in the English Civil War, until a mutiny within her own garrison forced her to surrender to the Parliamentarians. As much as I love exploring old castles, they never really come alive for me until I can connect them with stories about real people.

Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big Love

The gardens around the castle were quite pretty and the girls enjoyed running around the castle grounds, and seeing the cannons.

The gardens near Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big LoveLooking at the cannon - Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big LoveRunning around the castle grounds - Castle Rushen - Little Hearts, Big Love

Castle Rushen is open daily from late March until the beginning of November. Admission costs £6 for adults and £3 for children (under 5s are free).


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


28 thoughts on “Castle Rushen

  1. I love old castles, but like you, I like stories of the people who lived there too. Looks like you had a beautiful day for your visit and the History in Heels exhibition sounds interesting x #countrykids

  2. Looks like a fun place to visit and explore. I know what you mean about wanting the history of real people to connect you to a place.

  3. I have to confess to being a castle fan too, those spiral stairs look worth the climb for a wonderful view. As you say it is the real life love and tragedy that brings these places to life, thank you for a little insight into the struggles at this grand castle and for sharing some beautiful photos again on Country Kids.

  4. What a great castle. I love castles, but haven’t had an opportunity to make my kids to see many castles. They are so interesting, especially with the stories too. x

    1. Thanks Karen – it was really interesting to find out more about the history of the castle 🙂

    1. We enjoyed our trip to the Isle of Man, would definitely recommend it if you get a chance to go 🙂

  5. My parents-in-law live in Castletown so we’ve taken our boys to Castle Rushen several times. I quite like it, but is a dark and forbidding kind of place, isn’t it? I like my castles to be romantic ruins! #CountryKids

    1. I know what you mean – it is interesting to see a castle that’s so well preserved but there is something about romantic ruins too!

  6. I know exactly what you mean about spiral staircases – thus make my legs wobble when I’m on my own! I love history so visiting somewhere that is so well preserved like this is right up my street. It looks like you had a great day x #countrykids

    1. Thanks Claire – it was so interesting learning about the history connected with the castle.

  7. Looks a great day out and lovely weather 🙂 I also don’t like spiral staircases and always wonder about falling down them! Hat off to you for doing it holding two children 🙂 xx #counrykids

    1. Thank you – not sure how I managed the staircases but it was reassuring having hubby just behind me! 🙂

  8. Like you, I’m not a fan of the spiral staircases but the view looks as though it was well worth it. I do love a castle, although I don’t tend to go up to the top if we ever visit them these days as I find I get a bit funny with the height! Looks like a lovely day out.

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