Ashby de la Zouch Castle | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Ashby de la Zouch Castle

North West Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

11 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Ashby de la Zouch Castle

Ashby de la Zouch Castle was a 12th century manor house turned castle in Leicestershire, whose atmospheric ruins can still be explored today.

Ashby de la Zouch Castle history

Originally constructed in Norman times, Ashby de la Zouch Castle was the property of the Zouch family until the end of the 14th century, when it passed through a number of hands before landing in the possession of Edward IV‘s Chamberlin, William, Lord Hastings in 1462.

Expanded and renovated under Hastings, Ashby de la Zouch achieved the transition from a stately home to a castle during which time the imposing 24-metre high Hastings Tower was built. After its expansion, it was the site of several royal visits from the likes of Henry VII and Charles I, and even briefly held Mary, Queen of Scots in 1569 during her imprisonment in England.

The demise of Ashby de la Zouch Castle occurred following the English Civil War however. During the war, the castle had served as a Royalist base, but in 1646 was taken by the Parliamentarians and subsequently fell into disuse. Ashby de la Zouch would later inspire Sir Walter Scott, who set certain jousting scenes from his 19th century novel Ivanhoe at the site.

Ashby de la Zouch Castle today

Today Ashby de la Zouch Castle’s ruins are managed by English Heritage, with the site a Grade I listed building. Visitors can immerse themselves in its eminent history, from enjoying entertaining audio tours and exploring its sunken gardens to embarking on tours of its underground passageways.

The remains of Kitchen Tower, Great Hall, Great Chamber and chapel can all be viewed, each consisting of towering stone structures with once-magnificent archways and windows. The Hastings Tower may still be climbed, offering great aerial views over the site and the surrounding area.

Getting to Ashby de la Zouch Castle

Ashby de la Zouch Castle is located in Ashby de la Zouch, 12 miles south of Derby on the A511. Disabled parking is available onsite, however all other parking must be undertaken in the nearby town centre. The nearest train station is Burton on Trent, 9 miles away, while a number of buses stop in the nearby area, with the closest stop a 5-minute walk away on North Street.

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