Christmas at Tamworth Castle

How is it December already?! I’m starting to feel a little festive as the countdown begins, and one of the things I love in England at Christmas time is the way lots of old stately homes and castles ‘get dressed’ for Christmas. I’ve always loved the saying – I remember when I was young my Granny asking if the ‘church was dressed for Christmas yet?’. I thought…why would a church get dressed. But ever since, I’ve enjoyed historic places wearing their Christmas clothes.

This year, one such place I visited was Tamworth Castle. Tamworth dates back to the Anglo Saxon times, and visiting it in its Christmas dress was even more lovely!


Anglo Saxon Royal Palace

When the Anglo Saxons arrived in England, one of the kingdoms they formed was Mercia – what is now the West Midlands. It was one of the most powerful Anglo Saxon kingdoms, and Tamworth was its capital. Tamworth became the chief residence of Mercian King Offa in the late 700s, and there is evidence of a wooden structure being here in the 700-900s.

One of the most amazing legacies of the Anglo Saxon period in Tamworth is the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest hoard of Anglo Saxon gold and silver ever found. It consists of almost 4,600 items and metal fragments, amounting to a total of 5.1 kg of gold, 1.4kg of silver and 3,500 pieces of jewellery! The hoard dates back to 650-675, and was discovered in 2009. Most of this hoard resides in the Birmingham Museum, but small displays of it remain at Tamworth Castle. It’s amazing the beauty and detail in these ancient treasures.

Some of the Staffordshire Hoard


Medieval Castle

The motte and bailey castle, elements of which you can still see today, was built in around 1070. The main medieval families it belonged to were The Marmions and The Frevilles. In 1257 King Henry III even visited the castle, and in 1330 King Edward III also visited Tamworth.

The Medieval Great Hall

Many features of the Medieval Castle still exist to explore today, including the Armoury, Dungeons, Great Hall and Tower, all of which you can visit and explore.

Views from the Tower


Tudor, Georgian and Victorian Home

In Tudor times, the Ferrers’ family owned Tamworth Castle for nearly 300 years, from 1423 to 1681. They transformed the castle from a fortress to a grand family home; even building the banquet hall for entertaining and as a display of wealth.

In the early seventeenth century the Ferrers’ family were rewarded for their loyal service to the crown with three visits by King James I in 1619, 1621 and 1624. The new Tudor buildings comfortably accommodated a royal retinue in grandeur, and many of these features can still be seen today. 

During the English civil war in the 1640s (a fight between people who believed in The King having all the power, and Parliamentarians who believed Parliament should have control), the castle was garrisoned for Charles I and later the castle was besieged by the Parliamentarians, set on ending Tamworth’s royalist seat of control – it succeeded and was no longer a place with royal associations.

In to the 1700s and the castle was owned by the Townshend Family, and then in 1867 the castle transferred to The Cookes who were wealthy textile manufacturers. The Castle was then sold to the local council and has been a museum since 1899.


Getting to Tamworth

Tamworth sits in roughly the middle of England, and the closest major city is Birmingham. Nottingham and Derby are also close – about 30-45 minutes from Tamworth. Tamworth also has a train station, which you can get to from London Euston train station directly in 1hr, so it makes for a good half day trip from the capital (and a very quiet, lesser known spot to visit too!).


What do you think of Tamworth Castle in its Christmas dress? I found it such a fascinating mix of history from all eras and an absolutely wonderful way to spend a few hours. Happy December everyone and I hope you’re all feeling festive.

39 Comments

    1. Aw I’m so glad you like it – it was such a traditional display, I liked its simplicity 🙂 Hope you’re doing well and still managing to get festive despite not having your Germany trip. We cancelled our Hamburg stay as well 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. oh no! I’m so sad that you didn’t get to go to Germany either! 😦 Here’s hoping that Germany will be on the list for both us in the new year! I’ve been thinking about you lately and I hope you’re doing okay. Sending you all the best for 2022. Merry Christmas 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aw that’s so lovely of you Meg – I’m doing okay thanks, I’ve had a few little days out now and am enjoying being physically a lot better. I still feel sad some days, but I’m also happy on others. And on the plus side, I really hope 2022 can only be an improvement on 2021 haha! And to you too, this little community is a wonderful thing to be a part of 🙂

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    1. You are so right, it definitely is!!! I know, I can’t believe it stayed hidden that long either and was actually quite near the surface, incredible really. Thank you for reading and have a great day 🙂

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  1. What a charming castle, especially festive in its decorations during this time of year! Definitely a lesser-known spot that’s all the more beautiful, and it’s another place I’m adding to my list of places to visit when back in England!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Rebecca, I really loved visiting and it was special to see the historic Christmas displaces. I agree, I think lesser known spots are just as lovely as some of the more famous ones. Thanks so much for reading and have a great day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, after seeing all these lovely “dressed up” pictures of the castle, I’m definitely feeling festive – thanks Hannah! I love that photo of the door with the Christmas wreath … that’s Christmas for me 🎄🎄.

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    1. Ahh so glad you liked it Corna….I absolutely agree, I’m starting to feel quite festive now and it’s soo nice to feel cosy at home. I love the simplicity of this castle’s decorations – like you say the wreath on the door is just perfect Christmas. Thanks for reading 🙂

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    1. I totally agree Marion, I think they all look so beautiful! I feel like the list of places grows every longer in ever less time!! I’m hoping to get abroad a bit more next year though 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and hope you’re feeling festive!

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  3. That’s a really fancy Christmas dress, I quite like your grandma’s saying. The views from and around the castle are lovely, even on a typically gloomy English day. I’ve enjoyed reading about all the different historical periods that the castle has lived through.

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    1. Ah thanks Leighton, I love the saying too. I totally agree, it was a really interesting place to visit with a story for each historical period which the castle really brought to life. Thanks so much for reading – have a great day 🙂

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  4. I love your grandma’s term ‘dressed for Christmas’ and I equally love the castle in all of its Christmas decorations. Thanks for this Hannah. It’s funny, I’d never heard of Mercia before last month. We’re watching ‘Vikings’ and it’s one of the English districts in the show, Thanks to you I know it wasn’t a made up name for the show 🙂 Maggie

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    1. Aw, I love the term too so glad others like it as well 🙂 Oooo that’s very interesting, I haven’t watched The Vikings yet. Mercia was one of the most famous and biggest Anglo Saxon Kingdoms in England, and when the Vikings invaded they had to conquer it, which they did. Though Anglo Saxon King Alfred (the Great) ended up uniting the various Anglo Saxon Kingdoms and seeing the Vikings off eventually…the last battle was 1066, but then we were invaded by the French just a few weeks later and obviously they won. English history has so many interesting periods!! Thanks for reading Maggie 🙂

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  5. The place looks beautiful and its history is indeed fascinating! I always love to visit place where people have lived (see their bedrooms, how things were arranged, clothes, etc.) so this castle seems perfect for that too! I love the expression “get dressed for Christmas”! I had never heard it before but I’m pretty sure I will use it again! Thanks for taking us along on your trips 😊

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  6. Wow, what a beautiful castle and so thoughtfully decorated for the upcoming festive season! Christmas is well on its way, and I’m starting to feel a little festive too. Our house is already filled with greenery, baubles, tinsel and glitter and it is about time to start baking Christmas goodies and play Christmas music at the same time! Thanks for sharing and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva

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    1. I totally agree, it was a really lovely find with authentic decorations which was nice. I’m so glad you’re feeling festive and getting all prepared for Christmas, it’s the best time of year 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!

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  7. Tamworth Castle looks like an amazing place to visit during the Christmas holidays! It’s awesome to have such longstanding history, and congratulations to the finder of the Staffordshire Hoard…time to retire, hahaha. So grand, inside and out. Love the covered wooden bed and fireplace. A fabulous, festive Christmas dress for these historic locations. Thanks for sharing, dear Hannah ~ wishing you an early Merry Christmas 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ruth – so glad you enjoyed it. That’s an interesting question actually….my understanding is that Christmas trees only really came to England in around the 1900s (they actually only became popular when Queen Victoria married a German and it was already a German tradition), so at the time the castle was inhabited, trees wouldn’t have been up other than maybe at the very end during the Victorian times. Other decorations would have been though from around the 1100s which is when Christ’s Mass (now Christmas obviously) started to be celebrated. It’s amazing how commercialised it’s become in the last 100 years!

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      1. Interesting to know more about the history! The decorations and music are welcome, , but yes, unfortunately, it’s all about buying/selling things. Corporations have taken over.

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