Castle Rushen

1128 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2018

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

Entry is through the barbican and outer gatehouse which has the ticket office and a small shop. (Don’t bother with the guide book – it is poor.)

A doorway leads into the main ward, a grassy area between the keep and the curtain wall. Derby House is on the right, but is not open or visitors as it is still the law court for the south of the island. The main ward contained stables, brewery, blacksmith, workshops and a mint in the C18th. Nothing is left of these buildings.

Stone steps lead up to the curtain wall with its walkway. Near them, steps lead down into the dungeon. The remains of the foundations of a small chapel can still be seen. This was built by the seventh Earl of Derby as it was more convenient for the family living in Derby House to use this than the original chapel at the top of the keep.

The inner gatehouse leading into the keep once once had a deep pit in front of it, crossed by a drawbridge but this has been filled in and it is reached up a ramp. The two portcullises are still there. Between them, in the roof are three murder holes. Above is another guard room.

The ground floor guardrooms on either side of the gatehouse entrance were used as prison cells in the C18th. Bishop Wilson was imprisoned in one of them in 1722 following a dispute with the lieutenant General. A model of the Bishop is displayed in his cell, working on a translation of the Bible into Manx.

Inside the keep is a large central courtyard with a well and open fireplace. Stone steps lead up to rooms on the first floor.

The ground floor of the keep has display boards with history of the castle. The upper floors were originally accessed by spiral staircase. The metal and stone stairway referred to as the ‘Prison Stairs’ was added later. Pictures of the Stanley Lords of Man with their coats of arms are hung on the walls.

Some of the rooms in the keep are furnished as they might have been in the in the C16th and C17th. Off the main rooms are smaller rooms which were prison cells in the C18th and these now contain information boards.

The two main rooms on the first floor are furnished as they might have appeared in the C17th when the Earls of Derby were the Lords of Mann. The main room with its red and gold wall hangings and red velvet chair of estate was the Presence Chamber and is the most impressive room in the keep. C17th visitors reached it by the external staircase from the courtyard.

Next to it is the Lord’s private dining room, a small dark room with green and purple wall hangings. Off is a small garderobe.

On the opposite side of the presence chamber are the kitchens with cobbled floors and a large open fireplace. Food hangs from the ceiling and there are beer barrels and a few shelves for storage.

The rooms on the second floor are furnished as they might have been in the C15th. The Lord’s great chamber is basically furnished with a few wooden chests. The walls are hung with painted linen cloths, which provided protection against cold and damp. They were cheaper than tapestries and could be painted with images specifically related to the family.

The small room off the great chamber is the treasury, which was the most secure place in the castle. Valuables and documents were stored here.

The King’s dining room has wall hangings with jousting scenes. The three small windows are lined with velum, making the room very dark. Only the select few, like the Bishop of Rushen Abbey, would be entertained here. For other occasions, the first floor hall (now the presence chamber) would have been used. Benches were used apart from the King and most important guests who had chairs. Food was placed on the table for guests to serve themselves. On very special occasions, roast peacock would be served, with its skin and feathers sewn back on after cooking.

The small rooms off were used as prison cells in the C18th.

A spiral staircase leads up to the keep ramparts with views of Castletown and the surrounding area.

In the south tower was the Medieval chapel, which now houses the clock mechanism and weights. The clock is dated 1597, and is unusual as it just has one hand. It is thought to have been a gift from Elizabeth I.

Other rooms contain information about the history of the castle, personalities and the prison years. Allow plenty of time for a visit as there is so much to see and read.

There is more information about Castletown “here.”:


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.