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Get your children excited about history by taking them to explore some magical places.

Medieval castles have a special kind of magic that make them a perfect destination for families. Young children can pretend they’re adventurous knights, older children will be fascinated by tales of what went on inside the walls and parents can marvel at the architecture. Leave the planning to the experts by visiting Windsor and Edinburgh castles as part of a guided holiday in the United Kingdom and you’ll also have the chance to tuck your children into bed at Ruthin Castle, a 13th-century fortress in Wales that’s been converted into a hotel. You’ll be able to indulge in a proper Welsh dinner and have the chance to explore the gorgeous castle grounds in your free time.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

You might recognise this as the backdrop for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Step back in time by listening to tales from your travel director as you explore Edinburgh Castle as part of a guided holiday ­– they’ll help you peek into its nooks and crannies. As well as housing Scotland’s National War Museum, this 12th-century fortress is home to The Honours of Scotland (Britain’s oldest crown jewels); the Royal Palace and the Stone of Destiny, an ancient symbol of the Scottish monarchy. Plus there’s a family-friendly itinerary available on the castle’s website that includes Mons Meg, a huge medieval canon, and the one o’clock gun – just be sure to warn small children what’s about to happen!

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

A visit to this picture-book building with its white façade and tall spires really does feel like stepping into a fairytale. Any parent who has sat through the same Disney movie six times in a row (and secretly loved it) might recognise this 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace because it’s thought to have been the inspiration behind the Disney logo and Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Completed in 1880 after being commissioned by Kind Ludwig II of Bavaria, it was opened to the public seven weeks after his death in 1886. 

Windsor Castle, England

You may already know the royal family spends a lot of time here but did you know that Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world? The construction was ordered by William the Conqueror in 1070 but since then scores of royals, including Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and the current Queen, have added their own renovations. Taking an organised day trip from London to the castle as part of a guided holiday is an easy way to add to your itinerary – tickets and transport are organised for you, plus you can pick your travel director’s brain for extra historical facts during the coach ride there. It’s easy to keep children engaged with the resources available on the castle’s website, including a fun trail in which one of the Queen’s corgis helps young participants to spot the quirky details of the building.

Kronborg Castle, Denmark

This building, which dates back to the 16th century, is probably best known as the setting for William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (the castle is called Elsinore in the play). About an hour north of Copenhagen and with views across the Øresund Sound, the Renaissance structure burnt down in 1629 and was rebuilt as a fortress for the Danish army. Little ones might take some convincing to join a walk through the castle conducted by Horatio, the only main character of Hamlet to escape with his life, but you’ll all enjoy an unforgettable family experience by going underground to explore the building’s casemates from which guns were fired.

Uncover even more magical castles across the United Kingdom with Trafalgar.

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