Most young children like ruined castles and our two are no exception. The weather forecast was for a fine, sunny day and daughter rang up to find out if I wanted to go to Bolsover Castle with them. How could I say no….
Bolsover Castle is set high on the ridge above the Vale of Scarsdale and is visually exciting as you approach from the M1. The castle has recently undergone a million pound makeover which includes a new adventure playground. This has proved a huge hit with the younger visitors with its wooden castle with ladders, ramps and slides as well as passageways to explore. There are also swings. It kept our two happy for well over an hour. There are picnic tables close by so grandparents can sit and watch the kids enjoy themselves.
We eventually managed to persuade them away from the playground and set off to explore the castle itself. The Little Castle isn’t little and is the tall keep dominating the castle with rooms and staircases to explore. The boys particularly liked the Star Chamber with its sumptuous furnishings. As modern reconstructions they could try out all the chairs and sit in the grand chair of state where William Cavendish would have received his guests. There were fireplaces to peer up as well as the kitchens. There is also access to the wall walk around the Fountain Garden.
The terrace range is in ruins, and again great to explore with the grand staircase down to the terrace with views across the valley. The riding house block contains a rather boring, child unfriendly exhibition but joy of joys, they found a box of dressing up clothes as well as a wooden horse with saddle to ride. Number One dressed up in jacket, gloves and huge floppy hat and pretend to be William Cavendish on his horse. A carefully placed mirror meant he could admire himself at the same time. There is also a hobby horse which Number Two loved charging around on making the appropriate sounds.
The shop has a good selection of books on castles as well as swords, bows and arrows. It also sells children’s chain mail armour, surcoats and helmets.