Britain has no shortage of castles. There’s a huge range in size, fame and condition for castle fans to choose from. Some, such as the Queen’s favourite abode at Windsor, are superbly preserved, with well appointed interiors. Others, such as my local – Corfe Castle – is in a somewhat lesser state of repair. Indeed, Corfe is just a small collapse or two away from having its status altered from ‘castle ruins’ to ‘pile of medieval blocks’. But it’s a popular and well maintained set of ruins, run by the National Trust, so I suspect any intervention by Mother Nature would be put right soon after. It’s even just had mainline train services restored to its accompanying train station for the first time since the 1970s
To my mind, the perfect castle should exhibit three key characteristics. It should be in one piece, at least on the exterior. It should have a filled moat. It should have a functional portcullis. I don’t need great stories of famous battles or noble families – I can invent my own if I’m in the mood. These three points do rather narrow down the number of ‘perfect castles’ to be found. My favourite? Bodiam in East Sussex. I went as a kid. And again four years ago. Alas, the weather was not on our side. I’ll have to go again one day, I guess.