First built around the 11th century by the Vikings (and later the Celts in the 14th century) and situated on the west side of the isle near the city of Peel, Peel Castle rests on a 7 acre inlet (officially St Patrick's Isle) near the harbour.
The views both on St Patrick’s Isle and on Peel Hill opposite are spectacular with sights of the Irish Sea, Peel City, Peel Harbour and the beach. On a clear day it is said that you can see both Seals and Sharks in the water, although we saw neither and the weather was (mostly) wonderful. If you want some really fantastic views of the entire castle then it is highly recommended that you take a walk up Peel Hill and while steep and not for the faint at heart you do get a sense of how beautiful the surroundings really are. Other walks include a lovely walk round the outside of the castle walls.
The castle itself offers a wealth of history within its walls and although essentially now a ruin the castle is very well maintained and looked after (it’s well laid out and very tidy) and there is plenty to see and explore on the site. The most stunning of the buildings is definitely the Cathedral of St German and the Crypt. Also worth looking at in depth are the Flanking Tower, the Battery, the Belfry Tower, the Guard House, Govway Tower, the Gatehouse and Gate Pillars, the Magazine and Armoury and the Half Moon Battery as they are all wonderful.
A handheld audio phone is available at the entrance kiosk for anyone wishing to listen to the history guide as they go round, there are various numbered signposts situated around the castle ruins and once at them you can enter the number into the audio phone and listen to a short explanation. Each one lasts about a minute and are very informative. If you listen to the descriptions in a random order, like we did (as we went around without a particularly set route), then you can still get a lot out of the guides as doing this won’t effect the flow of the story. One downside to the audio guides, however, is that you do need a good set of ears for them as ours were quite quiet (although this might not be true of all the guides, we might just have had a lot of batteries that were running out).
The castle grounds themselves are covered in thick uneven grass with no walkway or path so wheelchair and pushchair accessibility is (presumably) poor but otherwise isn’t a hindrance and walking around is fairly easy and doesn’t contain too many slopes (certainly no steep ones).
Entry is very good at £4 (at time of visit) and for the amount of time you are in the castle, and for what you get to see, is very good value for money. On a side note, if you’re planning on a holiday to the Isle of Man and want to visit more attractions there’s a Heritage Explorer pass that you can buy (in many places all over the island) which allows you to get into several of the sights at a cheaper rate, we got a 5 sight pass and paid about £16 pounds each.
Finally, Peel Castle has got to be one of the best castles that I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. It’s simply amazing and I would recommend it to everyone!
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