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Broughton Castle

This privately-owned castle, dating back to the 14th century, makes a great day out. Various royals have slept in the fortified manor house and it has appeared in several famous films. Admire the moat, and wander through the gorgeous gardens.

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There’s something really charming about the privately owned, 14th -century Broughton Castle, which sits (complete with moat) a few miles outside of Banbury. The charm lies in the fact that it feels quite laid-back: devoid of tourists and not at all commercial. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to admire: stunning hand-painted wallpaper, cannonballs fired at the castle during a Royalist siege in 1642, battered armour on the walls of the Main Hall, and a tiny Council Chamber at the top of the castle — ‘a room that hath no ears’ — used in the 1630s by the opposition to Charles I.

If you’re keen-eyed, you might recognise it from one of its feature film appearances: Jane Eyre, Shakespeare in Love, The Madness of King George, and also the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall — not a bad CV.

The grounds are — of course — gorgeous, with plenty of love seats, mature trees, and vast stretches of lawn. Essentially, it’s a dream for children to bomb around in, and a great place to bring a lunch.

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