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“The Rooms of Mary Queen of Scots”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle
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Private Group Yorkshire Dales Day Trip from York
Ranked #1 of 13 things to do in Leyburn
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Now one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles, Bolton was originally built, by Sir Richard Le Scrope, to rival the finest and most luxurious homes in the land. Completed in 1399, its scars bear testament to over 600 years of fascinating history including involvement in the Pilgrimage of Grace, Mary Queen of Scot’s imprisonment and a Civil War siege. Bolton Castle was a luxurious family home as well as a defensive fortress and, despite being partially ‘slighted’ by Cromwell’s’ men during the Civil War, the Castle is preserved in outstanding condition with many interesting rooms and features to discover including the Old Kitchens, Dungeon, Solar, Nursery, Armory, Great Chamber and Mary Queen of Scots’ bedroom. About one third of the rooms are fully intact and the rest of the Castle is almost completely accessible giving visitors great insight into its turbulent past. You will find a raft of sights, sounds and smells which bring the castle to life and make for a truly memorable visit. There is something for everyone to enjoy as you discover what life was really like during the Castle’s heyday through our authentic room displays, wonderful falconry experience, archery demonstrations, children’s trails and costumes and hands on medieval games and activities. Daily Activities 11.30: Bird of Prey Display 13.45: Archery Display 15.00: Bird of Prey Display 16.00: Wild Boar Feeding Time Tea Room Situated in the beautiful and atmospheric Guest Hall, our tea room serves a selection of homemade and locally produced hot meals, soups, sandwiches, snacks and freshly baked cakes. Afternoon tea is served from 2.30pm and our Yorkshire Tapas board is always a popular choice with visitors. Experience a friendly welcome and excellent service in the castle’s impressive Guest Hall, where visitors have enjoyed hospitality for over six hundred years. Gardens The Castle gardens have been restored along medieval lines and include a well-stocked herb garden, rose garden, walled vineyard, bowling green and maze as well as the birds of prey on their weathering ground and our bee observation hive (seasonal). Children will love finding the centre of the maze or trying our Garden activity trails.
Midhurst, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
165 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“The Rooms of Mary Queen of Scots”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 July 2014

On the edge of the tiny village of Castle Bolton this is a glorious building in a glorious setting, looking out across to the River Ure winding its way through the green fields of Wensleydale. Much of the castle is ruined, destroyed in the Civil War, but what remains offers an insight into castle life in the fourteenth century. What fired my imagination was the part it played in Tudor history. Mary Queen of Scots was held here for six months before she was transferred to Tutbury Castle. Her story is told by Philippa Gregory in her historical novel: The Other Queen. Looking at the rooms made available to her and her entourage brought it vividly to life. A prisoner who is also an anointed queen. The Scrope family had to pay for her to live in luxury and somehow restrict her movements whilst not harming a hair of her anointed head. It couldn't have been easy. Or cheap.

The current owners (descended from the Scrope family) have provided activities to entertain the more casual visitor, including a small maze, but for me this was all about Mary Queen of Scots.

Visited July 2014
2 Thank Lanoo_Harve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
137 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Very enjoyable”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2014

We had a very enjoyable afternoon at Bolton Castle. There are plenty of explanation boards everywhere - a rarity, as in most places you would have to buy a guide book to have access to information. The castle is very well preserved and looked after. The gardens are small but quite nice. We saw the birds of pray show and the archery demonstration; both were excellent, and instructive. My only slight low point was lunch. The staff at the tea room are all really lovely and efficient, and the cakes were delicious. The pork sandwich I had, however, was not so great. Tons of fat around the meat. My partner seemed to enjoy his steak sandwich though! Apart from this tiny thing, the whole afternoon was brilliant. I recommend it!

Visited July 2014
1 Thank jule955
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Essex, U.K.
Level Contributor
319 reviews
128 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 204 helpful votes
“Is 29 minutes a "short wait" for 2 soups?”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2014

We paid for an hour in the car-park - £2 - we only wanted a quick snack in the tea room (N.B. car park fee is refunded if you take a tour of the castle).

A notice inside tea room states that, during busy periods, there is a "short wait" for food. Visit was today, 04 July, half the tables empty so place not full - all bar 1 already had food on table. This was our 'Time-line':-

12.20 purchased our car park ticket.
12.22 joined the queue of 2 at the counter - No.1 person at queue head, just finishing his order for food for 3; next person (No. 2) only wanted a hot drink and a cake (he walked away with his order); the assistant then excused herself to me whilst she took No.1's order off to kitchen; then there was me (No. 3) with a quick "2 soups please" order (at £5.50 each, with a roll).
12.29 credit card went through.
12.58 2 soups arrived .... AFTER the 2 people who had ordered sandwiches AFTER me (No.4), had received their platefuls!

This was a 29 (twenty-nine) minute wait for us - is this a "short wait" or not? I can't say what time No. 1's order arrived but what I can say is that they had finished their food by the time our soups arrived!

The good news is that our soup was hot ... the bad news is that it then took a while for it to cool down to be edible :-(

13.20 we actually got up from the table .... 1 hour after purchasing our car-park ticket!
13.22 back at the car.

We appreciate that freshly created food takes time to prepare (we are very reasonable) but I'll leave it for you to decide whether our wait for 2 soups was "short" or not - given the situation described above.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Traveller51_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Accrington, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“take a picnic”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2014

Very interesting to visit, but take your own food and drinks if possible, paid nine pounds seventy for one coffee a tea and two slices of cake in the tea room = just glad I didn;t have any children with us!!

Visited July 2014
Thank Jeanne F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Very enjoyable. Could use some perfecting.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2014

Bolton Castle is a really nice day out. I would recommend getting there in the morning, looking at the castle, watching some of the shows, eating some lunch in the tea room, watching any shows you missed in the morning, and then leaving around 2 or 3pm. You could spend less time if you don't care too much about the different shows (they have a birds of prey show- not as good as at Warwick Caste, but still great - an archery show, an owl show, and a wild boar show). The Castle has a number of rooms that are in excellent condition, including the rooms where Mary, Queen of Scots stayed while she was under house arrest there. The gardens are very nice, and there is a lot of information throughout the Castle to give you an idea of its rich history.

The only problems I had were that (1) the tea room is a bit expensive. Not prohibitively so, but enough to notice the price. Also, (2) the waitresses in the tea rooms could have been a little nicer. It seemed like none of them wanted to be there. (3) The shows could have been more consistent. Would have liked to see the archer shoot some arrows, but it did not happen while we were there because of the people walking around...

However, the woman in the gift shop, the woman who did the bird of prey show, and the archer were all extremely nice. The prices in the gift shop were very good (the wool they sell is made from the sheep on the property!). And the parking is refunded when you buy your entrance ticket. It is definitely worth a visit!

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Amanda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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