All of these castles, including the residence of the Royal Family in Windsor and medieval strongholds with moats, are close to London.

People frequently envision distant palaces encircled by endless acres of land in distant parts of the world when they think of castles.

And while many castles are built on expansive grounds, many more are found close to populated areas like London.

You don’t even need to leave London to see one, as the British metropolis is home to two significant operational palaces and the fabled Tower of London, a renowned medieval stronghold complex that includes a castle, a jail, and numerous other structures going back to the Middle Ages.

Watch the ceremony Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace, where the Royal Family resides and works. Visit Kensington Palace in the neighborhood for its magnificent grounds.

Visit the palace, where Queen Victoria was born in 1819, and pay your respects at the Princess Diana memorial in The Sunken Gardens.

If you have the time, go 30 minutes southwest of London to view Hampton Court Palace, which served as Henry VIII’s residence from 1514 until his death.

If you’re up for a longer vacation, here are nine castles that are just a day trip away from London and can all be reached by vehicle, public transportation, bus, or guided tour.

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle is a Victorian jewel located around 90 minutes from London. It has more than 200 rooms spread throughout more than 1,000 acres of undulating terrain.

Due to its role as the Crawley family’s on-screen residence, Highclere Castle is referred regarded be the “genuine” Downton Abbey.

Some of the first floor’s 12 bedrooms are accessible to guests, along with the opulent library, bar, drawing room, and smoking room, among other areas of the house.

The Carnarvon family has resided at Highclere since it was reconstructed as a castle in 1679 on the site of an older residence that was erected in 749.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace, a vast baroque masterpiece about an hour and a half from London, was Sir Winston Churchill’s childhood home. It was constructed between 1705 and 1724 and was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 1987.

The historic mansion, which is still owned by the Churchill family, was created by Sir John Vanbrugh and is regarded as the best example of Baroque architecture in all of Britain.

Broughton Castle

Broughton Castle looks medieval, complete with a moat. The castle, which is located around 80 miles from London and was formerly a focal point of Charles I’s opposition, is made of Hornton ironstone from the area.

Although the building was built in 1306, the majority of what visitors see now is from the 1550s. Shakespeare in Love and Jane Eyre were both filmed in Broughton.

The castle, which is only a 90-minute drive from London, has been owned by the same family since 1447 and is available to visitors in its residence, garden, and tearoom.

Highgrove House

Highgrove House, King Charles III, and Camilla, Queen Consort’s family home, is roughly a two-hour journey from London.

Highgrove underwent a radical alteration in the gardens after the then-prince moved in in 1980; they now feature a center for organic farming and are a refuge for animals.

The stunning Georgian neoclassical mansion is not accessible to the general public, although hundreds of people visit the grounds each year.

Windsor Castle

The Royal Family’s residence is at Windsor Castle, the oldest and biggest inhabited castle in the world, which is located forty minutes west of London.

The site, which William the Conqueror founded in the eleventh century, has a history spanning more than 900 years and has housed 39 kings.

The Queen spent the majority of her weekends at the castle, which welcomes visitors all year long.

Leeds Castle

The moat and the labyrinth are two great characteristics of this castle. Leeds Castle, a Norman fortress and the private residence of six medieval queens, was previously a castle for Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, located just over an hour from London.

The 2,400 yew trees that make up the maze, which is square on the ground but seems round from above, add to its difficulties.

Once you’ve found the center, you may leave the maze through a grotto below ground that features fantastic creatures.

Hever Castle

It’s difficult to believe that this magnificent castle is only one hour south of London. Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I, spent her formative years in Hever Castle, a 700-year-old manor with a double moat.

The Tudor home and walls were erected in the fifteenth and sixteenth century after the construction of the old medieval castle in 1270. The 125-acre castle is open every day.

Rochester Castle

Rochester Castle has three levels above a basement and is 113 feet tall. It was constructed beginning in the 1080s to protect a significant River Medway crossing.

King John besieged the location in 1215, and Henry III and Edward I afterward repaired it. The castle was a fortification until the sixteenth century despite three separate sieges.

Rochester Castle is manageable in a half day and is about 30 miles from London.

Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle, which is around 65 miles from London, has a nearly 1,000-year history, looks out over the River Arun, and has magnificent grounds that are worth a visit on their own.

The motte, a man-made hill rising more than 100 feet above the dry moat and built-in 1068, is the oldest part of the castle. The Dukes of Norfolk and their forebears have resided at the castle for over 850 years.