Sitting prominently, overlooking the town with breath-taking views of the Vale of Pickering, stands Pickering Castle. As one of the treasures of English Heritage, the original structure was built by the Normans under William the Conqueror in 1069-1070. Fortunately for Pickering, the remains are particularly well-preserved because it is one of only a few castles which were largely unaffected by the 15th century Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War of the 17th century.
Used by a succession of medieval kings as a royal hunting lodge, holiday home and stud farm – and by the locals as a tennis court – this magnificent building has had a bloodied and varied past. As folk-lore would have it, one of the fortress’s tower, Diate Hill Tower, is notoriously haunted with ghostly sightings of a monk walking up and down the ancient staircase. Nearby Rosamund’s Tower is also purported to host the ghost of Rosamund, the ill-fated mistress of Henry II, said to be poisoned by his jealous wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
If this talk of ghosts, doesn’t put you off, Pickering Castle welcomes picnickers and in good weather, has outdoor games such as croquet to enjoy.