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Live and breathe the story of England at royal castles, historic gardens, forts & defences, world-famous prehistoric sites and many others.
We’re excited to announce that we’re planning to reopen our sites in the coming weeks. We’re really looking forward to seeing you again. On 13 June we will reopen the first phase of our sites, with a significant number of further sites reopening in early July. We hope to have all sites open again by August. We’ll be sharing more information on how you can book your visit as soon as we can, and will be announcing which sites are reopening in advance of this. The first sites to reopen will be announced around 10 June, and we'll let Members know by email ahead of this.
People have lived and worked at Beeston since prehistoric times and in the Bronze Ages it was an important defended settlement and metalworking centre.
To help us tell the history of Beeston Castle, a replica Bronze Age roundhouse has been built using authentic tools and evidence from past archaeological digs plus the help of a dedicated team of 60 volunteers. The roundhouse is now open for all visitors to immerse themselves in all things Bronze Age.Find out more
A bank is created at the base of the crag and the site attracts Bronze Age metalworkers.
The site is transformed into a substantial hillfort with earthwork defences.
Ranulf, 6th Earl of Chester, one of the greatest barons of England, starts to build the ‘Castle of the Rock’.
Find out more about the history of Beeston Castle
Henry III seizes Beeston.
Hostages from Wales are held at the castle. The outer defences are completed.
Major rebuilding works include three new towers and a massive bridge leading to the inner bailey's outer gate.
According to legend, Richard II hides part of his treasure at Beeston Castle in the inner ward well, before being captured by the future Henry IV.
The abandoned castle is left to fall into ruin.
A garrison of 200-300 Parliamentarians occupies the castle.
In a midnight raid, Captain Sandford leads nine Royalists to take control of the inner ward. Parliamentary leader Steele dines with them and sends beer to their men before surrendering.
The Royalist garrison is besieged by the Parliamentarians for nearly a year. Starved out, they finally surrender and Parliament demolishes most of the castle's defences.
Lord Tollemache buys the estate and builds his own castle opposite Beeston. He promotes it as a tourist attraction and stocks the grounds with kangaroos and deer.
The first Beeston fête is held. It becomes an annual event on August Bank Holiday.
The castle is taken into state care and becomes the site of major excavations before being taken over by English Heritage.
Learn more about the history of Beeston Castle