On our travels we are always on the look out for things to do while we travel up and down England and Scotland. We recently wanted to know what to do in Ashby and we found it was famous for its Castle. We decided to visit The Ashby De La zouch Castle and we were not disappointed. Situated in the lovely little town of Ashby in Leicestershire. The Castle is dominating the skyline above you, you can’t fail to be impressed. It is an English heritage site and when we arrived we decided to get the free audio so that we could get the feeling of a bygone day whilst listening to the history of old. The audio is very amusing and sort of conjures up the time with its dramatic accounts of the different eras.
It was originally a house in the 12th century but gained Castle status in the 15th century. This was due in part to Lord Hastings a very good friend and confidant of Edward IV (his lord chamberlain). Lord Hastings had the chapel and the keep like Hastings tower added, which is 78 feet ( 24 meters high). You can climb the rather steep stairs of the tower ( no hand rail) to the top where you get some magnificent views of the countryside and of the sunken grassland in front of the Castle which were presumed to be a new garden feature of the times. Poor old Lord Hastings was executed by Richard the III following the demise of Edward IV. Hastings was accused of being a traitor.
As you walk around you can feel the history ooze out of the structure of the buildings. In later times the Castle was to see may Royal guests, these where to include Henry VII, Mary Queen of Scots, James I and Charles I. When you listen to the accounts of the kitchen you soon learn that it would have been a very expensive affair with only the finest of meats, fish and breads where served and the amount by todays standards would leave any dietitian today agog !!
During the Civil war this was a Royal stronghold but it did fall to the parliament in 1646. When Charles I, heard of the defeat at the battle Naseby he high tailed it North on the run. There is an ingenious tunnel from Hastings tower to the kitchen presumably for a quick escape and also perhaps so that weaponry could be transported underground during the civil war. You can still visit it today even though it can be a little damp, there are lights to guide the way.
We would recommend anyone who is looking at what to do in Ashby to visit this lovely setting and amazing structure and off course walk around the lovely town.