Explore the crumbling remains and towering gatehouse of this once mighty 14th-century castle, which was an integral part of the English Civil War.
The romantic remains of Donnington Castle make for one of the best examples of 14th-century military architecture in England. Take a step back in time as you explore its twin-towered gatehouse, impressive earthworks and detailed carvings.
Try to imagine what the building would have looked like back in the 1380s when its owner, Sir Richard Abberbury, upgraded his manor house into Donnington Castle. Today the most striking remaining feature is the towering gatehouse.
Donnington Castle stands at what was once an important strategic position overlooking the Lambourn Valley, where major thoroughfares crossed. During the English Civil War it played an important role in the campaign of Charles I and was attacked many times. Try to spot the brick patches placed over pitting from cannonball fire.
In 1646, the badly damaged castle was demolished following a vote by parliament. Locals, however, requested that the gatehouse be saved. Interestingly, in the early 15th century, Donnington Castle was owned by Thomas Chaucer, son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer.
Wander around the castle and pay attention to the flint stonework on the three-level gatehouse and circular towers. Consider the battles which ensued here, but also the peaceful times when it was the home of Sir Richard Abberbury and hosted illustrious visitors such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The green lawns make for a pleasant place to spend a sunny afternoon contemplating the history and beauty of this area.
Donnington Castle is located 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) north of the town of Newbury. There is free parking on site. You can also reach the castle by public bus. The castle and its grounds are free to enter and are open during daylight hours.