It was a stop from driving home after a week in Yorkshire, and our second of the month. We had chosen Beaumond Cross hotel for a lunch break on the way north. It had an unprepossessing appearance, with scaffolding at the front, but the welcome was warm and the food very good. Conversation with the owner elicited his plans for near-complete refurbishment, after which it will be well worth a stay. We may do that, since there is much more to see in Newark than the castle.
The journey home gave us time for an hour or so for brunch and to visit the castle ruins. Looking for brunch took us through some fascinating lanes where we found the market square surrounded by some fine buildings. The market was not very interesting on a Monday but perhaps is more so later in the week.
Newark has the same chain cafes and restaurants as everywhere but also some quirky individual ones. We chose one of these, stretching in a right angle along two arcades. As at the hotel we found the staff very friendly and the place had a variety of local people eating and drinking. (It is also a bar with a range of alcoholic drinks.)
The castle was a few minutes’ walk away, standing in a small park beside the Trent. It has several information boards and an interesting three-dimensional map-plaque of the town. This shows the interesting still medieval layout of streets, lanes and alleys. The area is very easy to access by mobility vehicles. We learned that the castle was medieval and had later been a favoured residence of both James I and Charles I on royal progress. This accounted for the support Newark gave to Charles during the Civil War. Nonetheless, it was forced to surrender and orders were given for its destruction. Further damage was later caused by the need of building stone.
The remains are essentially a curtain wall and a gate tower, still impressive in ruin. Views of the Trent and its water meadows can be seen from window apertures. The extant stonework is splendid, with several periods of architecture discernible.
We will return and spend much more time in the town, perhaps adding Clumber Park to our itinerary: it is only a few miles away.