The Happy Knight at Acton Burnell Castle

March 3, 2014

Acton Burnell Castle is a great example of history you can sometimes find on your doorstep. Who needs to build a pretend play fort at home?

Remains of Acton Burnell Castle

We are so fortunate to have a lot of history where we live.

Whilst history can be educational for kids – it can also engage their imagination. Here’s The Happy Knight to show you around the castle:

The History Bit

So not much remains of the castle today. It was more of a fancy fortified house than a real castle, but it’s still plenty old – they started building it in 1284.

It was built by the Chancellor of Edward I. Not sure why he built it all the way in remote Shropshire – especially as this was the lawless bad lands of the day (the Welsh Marches), with battles between England and Wales not too far away.

Remains of the First Parliament
This is also believed to be the site of the first Parliament in Britain.

There are two medieval stone long building/barn gable ends in the field next door (now a school sports field). In 1283 the first parliament was held here.

Oh, and if you drive from the Shrewsbury direction to Acton Burnell Castle, look right just before the village of Pitchford and you may catch a glimpse of the Elizabethan black and white tudor mansion called Pitchford Hall.

Queen Victoria went on holidays to Pitchford Hall as a child.

…and parts of the road you drive on was put down by the Romans, tracing their march from nearby Wroxeter (Viroconium), the fourth largest Roman city in Britain.

Acton Burnell Castle and Statue
It’s also worth visiting the Acton Burnell church next door. It still has its medieval tiles on the floor.

Acton Burnell Castle – Free Entrance

This is one of the many sites that fall under English Heritage and is completely free to enter, and open all year around during day light (though the odd ghost hunt has been known to take place after dark).

If you are heading down the A5 to Shrewsbury and onto Church Stretton / The Long Mynd via the A49, you can detour via Acton Burnell from Shrewsbury. It’s a great spot for picnic and let your little knights blow off some steam, as well as seeing some picturesque villages and history that you won’t see from the main road.

(If you are stopping, note that there’s no facilities at the castle).

Langley Chapel

On the road sign in the village you’ll also see Langley Chapel, which is also an English Heritage property.

This is a very small 17C chapel.

There’s not much parking here, but may be worth seeing if you are into your history, especially as it’s next to the more interesting Langley Hall, a tiber framed gatehouse built in 1610 – which you can stay in (it sleeps 6).


Getting in Touch with Acton Burnell Castle

Here's how you can get in contact with Acton Burnell Castle.

Acton Burnell Castle Website

0870 333 1181

Where to find Acton Burnell Castle

Sat Nav Postcode: SY5 7PE

Located in the village of Acton Burnell, signposted from A49, 8 miles south of Shrewsbury. Drive into the village. Turn left where the main road turns to the right (it's sign posted), then turn right before the gate for Concorde College. Note that the car park is free, but only has space for four to five cars.


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Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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