How many towns can say they have two castles to their name? Well, Sherborne for one. The old castle sits in the grounds of the new one (which was built using some of the stone form the original) and it dates back to the 12th century.
Originally built as a fortified palace, Sherborne Old Castle is now an English Heritage site and has gradually fallen into a romantic state of ruin that makes it a dramatic spot to spend time. Picnics are welcome and the castle sits in the midst of some of Dorset’s most striking countryside, and it’s easy to see why Sir Walter Raleigh loved it so much.
He even leased the castle, but when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for getting married to one of the maids of Queen Elizabeth I without her blessing it was leased out to somebody else. Even so, the castle remained one of the explorer’s favourite places and he returned to it often throughout his life.
These days, the grounds of the castle attract all kinds of wildlife and if you visit during July or August you’ll see Lady Betty’s Pinks in flower across the grounds – they’re even named after the beloved wife of Sir Walter.