IF the new historic big screen blockbusters Mary Queen of Scots or The Favourite have got you interested in royal history, then a visit to a castle is just the ticket. Here are some castle favourites to visit that are either right here in Essex or well worth a drive out for a day trip excursion.

1 Colchester Castle, Castle Park, Colchester


The castle museum is open all year round and there’s always plenty to do. Visit the castle museum’s Norman archway, explore the Roman vaults and go up onto the panoramic Castle roof. During half term, on Thursday, February 21, the castle is hosting a medieval archery event for youngsters, with sessions throughout the day. Call 01206 282941 to book. cimuseums.org.uk

2 Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent

This picturesque, 700-year-old castle was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I’s mother. From February 9, the castle will be hosting a snowdrop walk where a heavenly carpet of 80,000 snowdrops will provide a magical trail for visitors to follow. Visit www.hevercastle.co.uk for info and ticket prices.

3 Hampton Court, East Mosely, Surrey.

If you are a fan of the Oscar-nominated The Favourite, you won’t want to miss this. Until March 10 the palace is giving visitors the chance to view costumes created for Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz in the film and see the historic filming locations for key scenes in the movie. The Cartoon Gallery, Fountain Court, and Henry VIII’s Kitchens all appear on screen and are included in the palace admission ticket.

Visit www.hrp.org.uk for ticket prices and opening times. You can save a lot by booking online.

4 Hadleigh Castle, Hadleigh

Although there’s not much of the original castle left, a stroll up to the romantic ruins of the once royal castle overlooking the Essex marshes, makes for a great day out – especially as its free. The barbican and two striking drum towers – one later used by Georgian revenue men looking out for smugglers – are part of the castle’s substantial building works during the 1360s.

Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/hadleigh-castle/

5 Windsor Castle, Berkshire


From now until mid February, the castle is hosting an exhibition entitled Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which features the wedding outfits worn by the couple at their wedding in May 2018. In the setting of the Grand Reception Room, the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress will be displayed alongside the Duke’s frockcoat uniform.

Also displayed will be the outfits worn by Prince George and Princess Charlotte in their roles as pageboy and bridesmaid.

Visit www.rct.uk