Making the most of our English Heritage membership, we visited Brougham Castle. I must admit, this particular castle was unknown to me before our expedition into Cumbria. When we arrived at the site, we found extensive remains of the one influential castle, yet more impressive was its picturesque location.
Brougham Castle was built with the Scots in mind, located close to the English – Scottish border. Indeed the river that runs beside the castle, River Eamont, once marked the border between England and Scotland. This was until 1092 when King William Rufus established the border further north. There had been a Roman presence on the site, once the site of a Roman fort, and a town had then sprung from this military base. The keep of the castle which still stands today was built in the 13th century. Additional buildings and structures were later added, including the double gatehouse, built in the 14th century.
Our visit to Brougham Castle
The castle itself is surprisingly rather extensive and the three floors of the keep can be accessed by a staircase. However on the day we visited, gales and snow hampered our plans and we were advised not to explore the upper levels in the interests of our own safety. We had been told that the upper levels of the castle offer some amazing views of the Cumbrian countryside. We did, however take shelter in the various lower level rooms of the keep during the turbulent weather and found them to still offer excellent protection from the harsh weather.
We explored the ruins of the ‘Tower of League’.
Aurelia had plenty of fun running through the ruins of the castle.
There is a small (but well stocked) gift shop at the entrance of the castle with toilets. This small shop also houses a tiny museum which displays some of the archaeological finds from the site, including some Roman artefacts. Brougham Castle is only a small, perhaps little known site, yet the staff are extremely friendly and well informed about the castle.
Due to the terrible weather, we only spent about 40 minutes at the castle. But we could quite easily have spent much more time on the site and explored the upper levels of the keep.1