Beeston Castle

Beeston Castle information, pictures, videos and things to see including directions

Beeston is a medieval castle located on a rocky crag high above the Cheshire plain. Since early prehistoric times a fortification has existed on the cliff and a number of highly prized bronze objects have been found on the crag hinting that the crag was an important centre for metalworking in the Bronze Age. It is also believed that the occupation continued in to the Iron Age and the remnants of a substantial Iron Age hillfort still exist beneath the current medieval defences.

Beeston Castle picture from outside

The construction of the castle was started in the early 1220s by Ranulf, sixth earl of Chester(1170 – 1232) who was also one of England’s greatest medieval Barons. The castle also has an active part in the history between 1644 and 1645 during the Civil War when it was fortified and besieged for many months. However, after the surrender, the castle was partly demolished.

View across Cheshire from Beeston Castle

Things to see

With an advantageous location on a prominent crag, the inner most ward overlooks the flat landscape of Cheshire with views that stretch for impressive 30 miles in all directions.

The outer ward consisted of a striking gatehouse and curtain wall that encircled the inner ward with beautiful space perfect for picnics. The inner ward also has one of the deepest wells in the country.

Outer Curtain Wall and Wall Towers

The outer ward was protected by a masonry curtain wall consisting of eight towers that looked formidable from outside the castle enhanced by surrounding sloping grounds. However, the towers remain in ruins and bearing witness to over 800 years of history.

Outer ward interior

Originally housing up to at least 9 roundhouses in the prehistoric times, currently this is a large open area covered by trees and scrubs. This makes for a perfect location for a picnic or simply relaxing in the sun.

Inner Gatehouse

The inner gatehouse is enclosed by two towers with arrowslits on both sides and originally had two sets of gates and sockets for the hinges can be seen on either side of the entrance. 
The inner ward gatehouse is also believed to have been the most important section at Beeston Castle where the constable who was in charge of running the castle stayed.

Inner ward

A great rock cut ditch separates the outer ward from the inner ward. The man made ditch dates back as far as the earliest phase of the construction of the castle itself in the 1220s and stones quarried from the ditch were also used for the castle buildings. The approach has been reconstructed in the 1970s with a modern bridge, however, the remains of the original medieval entrance to the inner ward can still be found below it.

The interior of the inner ward remains fairly uneven and rocky indicating that no attempts have been made to flatten it and archaeological investigation found no evidence of any major buildings, halls or kitchens in the inner ward. 
The current ruin state of the inner ward is mostly the result of destruction after the Civil War.

Inner ward well

Believed to have existed since the early construction phase of the castle itself, the exact depth of the well has posed an interesting mystery for the Beeston visitors. According to a long standing tradition, it was believed that King Richard II used Beeston in 1399 for safekeeping of his treasures, this led to several exploration attempts. The most extensive attempt was made in 1842 when the well the cleared out down to a depth of 111m. The well was further explored twice in 1936 and 1976 but only as deep as 100m.

This makes the well one of the deepest in any castles in England. In addition to its depth, three openings off the well shaft were located and one of them was a tunnel 9m long which did not lead anywhere and its purpose unclear.

The castle as an ancient monument

Ministry of Works took over the guardianship of the castle in 1959 and passed it on to English Heritage in 1984. Since then, much work has been done to clear the site and remains a remarkable landmark that has drawn people since prehistoric times.

Getting to Beeston Castle, postcode and map

How to get to Beeston Castle by car
If you are using GPS/Satnav then the postcode you can use is: CW6 9TX
The castle is approximately 1.5 miles west of A49 and the full address is as follows:
Chapel Lane, Beeston, Cheshire, CW6 9TX
Phone – 01829 260464

Parking at Beeston Castle
There is a Pay and Display car park right opposite the castle entrance. There are approximately 100 parking spaces. It costs around £3 to park however this may vary if there are any events (prices correct as of March 2016)

Getting to Beeston Castle by Train
The nearest station is Chester which is approximately 14 miles away.

Beeston Castle entrance fees

Adult - £6.70
Child (5 – 15 years) – £4.00
Concession – £6.00
Family (2 adults, 3 children) – £17.40

Prices are correct as of April 2016. Please visit English Heritage website for most up to date prices.

Beeston Castle opening times
The castle is open to visitors from 10 AM to 6 PM between March and September, however, this may be subject to change. The castle is usually closed in November and December, therefore it is advised that you visit the official English Heritage website before you make any travel arrangements which can be found here:
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/beeston-castle-and-woodland-park/prices-and-opening-times

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