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Visiting Brougham Castle

Brougham Castle is a fortress founded in 1203. The first castle was erected in 1214 atop an old Roman fort. The first castle began as a stone keep and earthworks, but later grew to include multiple buildings including a three-storey double gatehouse. Today, it is a ruinous site visitors can explore by booking a ticket online.


There is no on-site parking available at Brougham Castle. However, visitors may park for free along the nearby roadside. Alternatively, there are various car parks dotted throughout the area (these are not run by English Heritage, so parking fees apply to members and non-members). 

No disabled parking is available on-site, but visitors with limited mobility and wheelchair users may be dropped off at the castle entrance.



Admission fees for Brougham Castle may change by day and throughout the season. This is dependent on holidays, peak dates, and special events. Please check with the site prior to your visit to enquire about exact ticket pricing. You may also use the Brougham Castle calendar online — just select the date of your visit to see current entrance fees.

By purchasing tickets to Brougham Castle online before your visit (up to 8:45 a.m. on the day you access the site), you can save up to 10 percent off. Please note, any tickets purchased at the on-site ticket office do not qualify for the advance-booking discount.

The table below includes Brougham Castle admission fees for a peak day in August (the advance-booking discount is already included in the prices):

Brougham Castle Ticket Prices - August - Peak

Ticket Type

With Donation

Without Donation







Child (5-17 Years)



Student (with Valid ID)



Family (2 Adults, Up to 3 Children)



Family (1 Adult, Up to 3 Children)



Senior (65+)




Tourists arriving from overseas to visit Brougham Castle may benefit from purchasing an Overseas Visitors Pass. This 9- or 16-day pass saves on admission to numerous English Heritage sites and even some special events.



Hours of operation for Brougham Castle change throughout the season.

From November through March, the castle is open on weekends only, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. From April to October, the site is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The final ticket sale is made no later than 30 minutes before the posted closing time.

Hours may change if special events are scheduled, so check with the site ahead of time.

To enjoy a quieter visit with a smaller crowd, English Heritage recommends visitors arrive before 11 a.m. or after 2 p.m. (on weekdays, excluding bank holidays).

Location and Access

The physical location of Brougham Castle is:

Moor Lane



CA10 2AA

Brougham Castle sits about 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi) southeast of Penrith. Visitors can access the site from the Penrith town centre using A66.

For GPS navigation, enter the following values:

  • Latitude: 54.65402
  • Longitude: -2.715583


Bus access is available through Stagecoach (Service 104) and Grand Prix (Service 563). Keep in mind, these routes do not stop directly at the castle; the nearest stop is Whinfell Park, about 1.6 kilometres (1 mi) east of Brougham Castle (about a 27-minute walk via A66).

Fellrunner serves the area of Brougham village via Service 132 (on Fridays) and 562 (on Tuesdays).

Those arriving by train should stop at Penrith Railway Station. The station is about 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) from Brougham Castle (about a 45-minute walk or bus ride to the site).

Know Before You Go

  • No restaurants or cafés are on site. However, visitors may access the gift shop for a selection of hot and cold beverages, including tea, hot chocolate, and coffee. There are also several light snacks to choose from, and ice cream is available for purchase during the summer months.

  • The castle ruins provide an excellent picnic opportunity. There are two picnic tables on the castle grounds, or visitors may bring a picnic blanket. While enjoying your lunch, take in spectacular views of the castle ruins, surrounding countryside and River Eamont.

  • On-site toilets are available. Brougham Castle has a single unisex toilet for men and women, and a disabled toilet. Unfortunately, there are no baby-changing tables on site.

  • Feel free to bring your dog. The site is dog-friendly, as long as the dog is well-behaved and on a lead at all times. Dogs are not permitted near the river. A bowl for water is available near the gift shop. Visitors should clean up after their pets.

  • Some parts of the site are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair loans are available. The gift shop, exhibit, castle grounds, and ground floor of the keep are accessible for those in wheelchairs or those with limited mobility. However, the keep is four-storeys high and there is no lift access. Visitors must climb a narrow, historic spiral staircase.

  • Be aware of on-site hazards. Hazards include rabbit holes, uneven surfaces, rough grass, and low ruined walls. The keep stands four storeys high, and the staircase to access each level is old and narrow. Be cautious near the areas that slope down to the moat and river.

  • River Eamont is not part of the castle grounds. Although it runs alongside the castle, it is not part of the site and visitors are not permitted to access the land. It is a privately-owned property.


Brougham Castle Events

Places To Stay Nearby

Premier Inn Penrith

3 km (1.9 mi) northeast

Premier Inn in Penrith, Cumbria is an affordable accommodation offering guests free parking, free WiFi, air-conditioned rooms, and access to an on-site restaurant. Guests may choose from twin, double, and family rooms (accessible units are also available). Rooms include a television, en-suite bathroom, tea and coffee facilities, and fresh linens. This hotel sits near the Lake District National Park, and is only a 5-minute drive from Brougham Castle.


Roundthorn Country House & Luxury Apartments

5.9 km (3.7 mi) northeast

For a luxury hotel experience, consider booking a room at the Roundthorn Country House & Luxury Apartments. This facility boasts several rooms, each including a private bathroom and unique style. Guests receive free WiFi, access to the bar and lounge, and free parking. Rooms have excellent views, some overlooking the Eden Valley, Lakeland Fells, terrace, or garden. The hotel is about a 7-minute drive from Brougham Castle.


Travelodge Penrith

6.4 km (4 mi) east

Travelodge Penrith is a budget hotel offering multiple amenities for guests visiting Brougham Castle. Standard rooms include a king-size bed, comforter, four cosy pillows, tea and coffee facilities, a television, a desk and chair, an en-suite bathroom, and fresh linens. Guests receive free on-site parking, and WiFi is available at an additional charge. Various restaurants, pubs, and shopping opportunities are within walking distance. The castle is only 7 minutes away.


History of Brougham Castle 

Brougham Castle was built after 1203 by Robert I de Vieuxpont, and consisted of a keep, earthworks, and palisade. Later, it had a curtain wall, double gatehouse, and additional buildings. It served as a military base during the Wars of Scottish Independence. The castle passed through the Vieuxpont and Clifford families for centuries.

Time Line

- 1203 (Castle Land Granted to Vieuxpont)

King John granted Robert de Vieuxpont the Barony of Westmorland, which gave him lordship of Appleby, Brough, and Brougham.

- 1214 (Brougham Castle Founded)

After taking even more land, Vieuxpont began establishing a castle on the site. Originally, it included a stone keep, earthwork structures, and a simple palisade

- 1228 (Castle Falls Under Wardship)

Upon Robert de Vieuxpont’s death, his son and heir — John — was not yet old enough to inherit his father’s estate. As such, Brougham Castle was placed under the care of a temporary warden.

- 1241 (Castle in Disrepair)

Unfortunately for John de Vieuxpont, he would die before becoming old enough to take over the castle. His son, Robert, was also too young to take over, so the castle remained under the care of a warden. The young site was neglected and began to fall into disrepair.

- 1257 (Robert Takes Over)

After coming of age, Robert de Vieuxpont took over the site. However, he also owed numerous debts and revolted against the king during the Second Barons’ War. As such, he was executed as a traitor, with Brougham Castle and his other properties being taken by King Henry III.

- 1266 (Vieuxpont Daughters Inherit Brougham Castle)

After their father, Robert, was posthumously pardoned by King Henry III, the Vieuxpont daughters inherited Brougham Castle and the other estates. They were unable to take possession of the castle until marriage, so when Isabel Vieuxpont married Roger Clifford, the Vieuxpont estates came under ownership of the Clifford family.

- 1283-1292 (Roger Clifford’s Death)

Roger Clifford died in 1283 and his wife followed in 1292. Their son, Robert Clifford, was not of age and could not legally take ownership. As such, the castle fell into disrepair for the next three years.

- 1296 (Military Base and Fortifications)

Robert Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford, took over the castle after coming of age. During the Wars of Scottish Independence, he spent much of his time at Brougham Castle, refortifying the structure. He added a tower, replaced the palisade with a stone wall, added another storey and hall in the keep, and erected the double gatehouse.

- 1300 (King Edward I Visits)

Robert Clifford invited King Edward I to the castle. He arrived with an entourage of dozens of followers.

- 1309 (Rebuilding Completed)

A renewal licence was issued to Robert Clifford for the castle, suggesting rebuilding at Brougham Castle was complete.

- 1314 (Guardian Control)

After Robert Clifford’s death at the Battle of Bannockburn, Roger de Clifford, 2nd Baron de Clifford was set to inherit. However, he was not of age, so the site again fell under wardship.

- 1316-1318 (Scottish Raids)

Brougham Castle was damaged in Scottish raids, leaving the King to issue funds to Roger de Clifford to maintain the site.

- 1320 (Roger de Clifford Inherits)

Upon coming of age, Roger de Clifford took ownership of Brougham Castle. However, he did not spend much time at the fort, instead staying at Skipton.

- 1322 (Roger’s Execution)

Roger de Clifford was accused of being a traitor and executed. The Clifford estates were granted to Andrew de Harcla, a supporter of the King. However, when de Harcla was also ousted as a traitor, the site came under ownership of King Edward II. The site would return to the Cliffords during the reign of King Edward III.

- 1332-1333 (Robert de Clifford Takes Over)

When the estates were returned to the Clifford family, Robert de Clifford owned all of the lands originally owned by the Vieuxponts. During this time, Edward Balliol attempted to take over the Scottish throne and was cast out of the country. He would go on to stay with the Cliffords, occupying several castles, including Brougham.

- 1344 (Castle Neglected)

After suffering damage during the war, Brougham Castle was neglected and once again, fell into a state of disrepair.

- 1354 (Roger Clifford Takes Over)

Roger Clifford, 5th Baron Clifford, would assume ownership of Brougham Castle after two minorities.

- 1388-1389 (Castle Captured)

The Scots briefly captured Brougham Castle. After this point, the Cliffords spent less time at the fort. It would continue passing through several generations of the family, with some using it as a residence. After Roger Clifford’s death in 1389, the site was no longer used as a residence until 1421.

- 1471-1485 (Sir William Parr Takes Over)

King Edward IV confiscated the castle from the Cliffords, granting their properties to Sir William Parr. A year later in 1472, Henry Clifford would appeal this decision which was granted 13 years later.

- 1521 (Administrative Centre)

Brough Castle suffered extensive damage in a fire. As a result, Brougham Castle served as an administrative centre for the Lordship in the area. During this time, Henry Clifford and his son used the castle as a family residence.

- 1536 (Cliffords Resume Control)

Henry Clifford’s son, also Henry, became the Earl of Cumberland. However, after the suppression of the Pilgrimage, his title was no longer entitled to wardenship of Penrith. As such, the castle once again became property of the Cliffords.

- 1592-1595 (Castle Deserted)

When George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, took control of Brougham, the castle fell into disrepair. He did not spend time at the site, instead staying in southern England.

- 1605 (Margaret’s Favourite Residence)

Upon the death of George Clifford, his widow — Margaret — used Brougham Castle as her home. She undertook numerous repairs. Upon her death, Margaret’s daughter, Lady Anne Clifford, would continue her mother’s restoration work.

- 1616-1617 (Lady Anne Clifford’s Temporary Inheritance)

The Earl of Cumberland appealed Lady Anne Clifford’s entitlement to Brougham Castle and the other Clifford estates. He was unsuccessful, and Anne took ownership. However, a year later, the King granted the Clifford estates to Francis Clifford, 4th Earl of Cumberland. During this time, King James I stayed at Brougham Castle on his journey to Scotland.

- 1641-1643 (Lady Anne Clifford Resumes Ownership)

After Francis Clifford’s death and the death of his son two years later, there were no male Clifford heirs, which led the castle to fall back under the ownership of Lady Anne. During this time, she would continue restoration work until her death in 1676.

- 1648 (Colonel John Lambert Takes Over)

Parliamentary forces took over Brougham Castle. Fortunately, the sight was not slighted, as it was not considered important.

- 1650 (More Repairs)

Lady Anne Clifford repaired damage to the castles, making Brougham Castle her primary residence. She erected a garden on the site of the old Roman fort.

- 1676 (Nicholas Tufton Takes Over)

Upon Lady Anne’s death at the castle, her grandson, Nicholas Tufton, 3rd Earl of Thanet, assumed ownership of the Clifford estates.

- 1679-1714 (Tufton Descendants)

Unfortunately, Nicholas Tufton did not live long. Upon his death, the castle passed to his younger siblings, where it suffered from neglect. In 1714, Thomas Tufton, 6th Earl of Tanet, took furnishings and materials from the site to sell.

- 1750-1794 (Building Material)

Brougham Castle had long been deserted. At this point, it was being used for building material for the nearby village. By 1794, the site had become nearly unrecognisable in its dilapidated state.

- 1830-1850s (Castle Repairs)

When Charles Tufton, 10th Earl of Thanet, came into possession of the castle, he spent a small sum of money to repair parts of the structure. Additional repairs were completed by Henry Tufton, 11th Earl of Thanet, in the 1840s. Upon Henry Tufton’s death, the Hothfields took ownership but could not afford to maintain the site. By the late-1850s, the site began to decay further.

- 1915 (Ancient Monument)

Brougham Castle was classified as an Ancient Monument and began receiving public interest.

- 1927-1930s (Office of Works)

The 2nd Baron Hothfield placed the castle under the guardianship of the Office of Works, who repaired the site.

- 1984 (English Heritage)

English Heritage began managing Brougham Castle.

Brougham Castle Occupants

  • 1203: Robert I de Vieuxpont received ownership of the land and established Brougham Castle on the site.
  • 1257: Robert de Vieuxpont, son of John and grandson of Robert I de Vieuxpont, inherited the property. However, the castle was soon confiscated by King Henry III.
  • 1266: Isabel Vieuxpont, daughter of Robert de Vieuxpont, married Roger Clifford and inherited the castle. The estates then came under the ownership of the Cliffords.
  • 1296: Robert Vieuxpont, son of Isabel and Roger, gained ownership after the death of his parents. He used it as a military base and added numerous defensive buildings.
  • 1300: King Edward I visited Brougham Castle. 
  • 1320: Roger de Clifford, 2nd Baron de Clifford, took over after his father’s death.
  • 1322: The estate passed to King Edward II after Roger was executed as a traitor. However, when King Edward III came to power, possession was restored to the Vieuxponts.
  • 1332: Edward Balliol stayed at Brougham Castle (and other Clifford properties) with the Cliffords after a failed attempt to take over the Scottish throne.
  • 1354: Roger Clifford, 5th Baron Clifford, occupied the castle. It passed into the hands of multiple Clifford heirs, and was briefly captured by the Scots.
  • 1421: A man living in the castle created counterfeit coins. He was caught.
  • 1471: Sir William Parr took ownership of Brougham Castle.
  • 1485: Henry Clifford appealed for the Clifford’s estates and was granted ownership of Brougham Castle.
  • 1523: The castle was used by Henry Clifford’s son, also Henry (who later became Earl of Cumberland) as a residence.
  • 1542: Henry, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, inherited Brougham Castle. 
  • 1592: George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, took ownership. However, he did not spend much time at the castle and it fell into disrepair.
  • 1605: Margaret, George Clifford’s widow, used the site as her residence.
  • 1616: Lady Ann Clifford, Margaret’s daughter, inherited the castle and used it as her residence. There was a brief capture by Parliament, but she would resume ownership and ultimately die there in 1676.
  • 1676: Nicholas Tufton, 3rd Earl of Thanet, inherited the Clifford estates. It would pass through the Tufton descendants until the 1800s before falling to the Hothfields. Much later, it was placed under the care of the Ministry of Works and English Heritage.

Brougham Castle Architecture 

General Layout

Brougham Castle is irregularly shaped, with the west wall measuring 68 metres (223 feet) and the east wall measuring 48 metres (157 feet). The south and north walls measure 72 metres (236 feet) and 54 metres (177 feet), respectively. It boasted a double gatehouse, keep, great hall with a kitchen, and likely included additional lodging and other service buildings.

Original Layout

Along the southern side of the castle grounds lie the remains of an old Roman fort. Here, visitors can also see what remains of the 17th-century garden created by Lady Anne Clifford. At the northern end of the castle, the land slopes down toward the River Eamont, adding an additional level of defence. A moat filled with water surrounded the site on the east, south, and west sides, with a width varying between 10 and 15 metres (33-49 feet), though today, the moat is dry.

Along the southern wall of the castle were numerous lodging facilities, a well, and chapel (built in 1300 by Roger Clifford).


Visitors approaching Brougham Castle would arrive from the east and pass through a 14th-century, three-storey, double gatehouse. The gatehouse sits on an area of sloped land.

During the castle’s heyday, the space above the gatehouse entrance boasted a carving of Roger Clifford and his wife’s coat of arms. Today, the entrance bears the words, “Thys Made Roger,” though the carving was originally located in the Great Hall, built by Roger Clifford, 5th Baron Clifford.

The gatehouse included an inner and outer section with a grassy area in between, hence the term, “double gatehouse.”

Its inner gatehouse included a vaulted floor, portcullis, and postern gate. The postern gate sat behind a buttress, which disguised the exit and allowed those of high-status to leave the site quickly and discreetly. Above the vaulted floor passage was a single large chamber linked with the castle keep. Lady Ann Clifford would use this chamber as her bedroom during the 17th century.

Brougham Castle’s outer gatehouse was square in shape, with the upper floor also being occupied by a single room. Below the gatehouse was a dungeon. A guardroom was located on the ground floor level at the north side.

The outer gatehouse was square, with the upper floors also being occupied by a single room.


The Keep was erected in the 13th century and included the high-status domestic accommodations. Like all castle keeps, Brougham Castle’s Keep acted as a stronghold, providing the last level of defence during an assault, should the outer defences fail.

The Keep boasted four-storeys accessed via a first-floor entrance and single spiral staircase. Each of the levels was a single large chamber, each including a garderobe and fireplace. The presence of these amenities suggests the Keep was a high-status accommodation.

It’s believed that the Keep’s ground floor served as a storage space, the first level as a hall and guard accommodation, and the second floor for the Castle Lord. The fourth storey wasn’t added until the 14th century.

Great Hall

Brougham Castle’s first hall was torn down, and the Great Hall was built in its place by Roger Clifford in the late 14th century. The purpose of the Great Hall was to provide living quarters for the garrison and a gathering place for the Castle Lord to enjoy meals with his soldiers. It boasted large windows that likely once featured large, heavy shutters as a defence mechanism.

The kitchen sat at the southeast of the castle and was large enough to serve the entire fort.

Modern Layout

Today, Brougham Castle’s gatehouses are much smaller than they were during the castle’s prime. The inner gatehouse stands at 12.5 metres (41 feet), whereas the outer gatehouse is 14.5 metres (48 feet). Additionally, the top of the gatehouse no longer exists.

The keep, too, is shorter than it once was. Today, it measures approximately 19 to 20 metres (62-66 feet) tall. There is little left of the Keep to explore, but the site remains incredibly fascinating. Visitors can observe the impressive stonework, spot gargoyles, view Roman tombstones, and admire the beautiful views along the River Eamont and surrounding countryside.

Images of Brougham Castle


Images Supplied and licensed from Shutterstock Standard Licence Package

What Can I See During Visit to Brougham Castle?


  • Visit the castle exhibition. Inside the Brougham Castle gift shop is an exhibit centred around the life of Lady Anne Clifford, one of the castle’s most notable residents. Additionally, visitors can see stone carvings and a mile marker from the Roman era, remnants of old pottery, and Roman tombstones.

  • Roam the grounds. The site may be in ruins, but it’s still a fascinating historic castle. Visitors can purchase an English Heritage guide book, which makes the self-guided tour more immersive as it explains the history of different parts of the castle. Additionally, there are information boards dotted throughout the site.


  • Explore the keep. Within the Keep, visitors can see what remains of the Great Hall and Lord’s Chamber. At the top of the Keep, see panoramic views of the castle layout, Roman earthworks, and Eden Valley. Within the Keep, visitors can also see a Roman tombstone used in the ceiling of one of the passages.

Brougham Castle Facts

  1. Locals once believed a giant lived at the castle. In 1725, a man recorded local folklore in Brougham, including that residents believed in a giant at the fort. As the story goes, the giant, named Turquin, was killed by Sir Lancelot de Lake. It’s believed this local legend may come from the story of Sir Tarquin, an enemy of Sir Lancelot in “Le Morte d’Arthur.”
  2. Lady Anne Clifford is perhaps the castle’s most interesting resident. Not only did she spend a great deal of time, funds, and effort restoring and maintaining Brougham Castle, Lady Anne also held the site very dear to her heart. Her father was born on the site, her mother died there, and she, too, would go on to die at the castle. She created a garden on the site of the old Roman fort.
  3. The castle contains a dark dungeon beneath the gateouse. Noted in a written recording by Ann Radcliffe while exploring the castle ruins, the dungeon was dark, damp, and infested with snakes and reptiles. She observed iron hoops attached to carvings of animal heads. These iron rings may have been used to chain prisoners.

Brougham Castle Q&A

Who Lived in Brougham Castle?

Numerous people lived in Brougham Castle throughout its history, including several generations of the Vieuxpont and Clifford families (including Lady Anne Clifford). King Edward I and King James I also briefly stayed at the castle during their respective reigns.

Can I Take My Dog to Brougham Castle?

You can take your dog to Brougham Castle. Pets and service animals are welcome on the site and within the ruins. However, dogs must remain on a lead at all times. Dog bowls are available outside the gift shop to provide water for your canine companion.

Who Built Brougham Castle?

Brougham Castle was founded and erected by Robert I de Vieuxpont in the early 13th century. King John granted the land to de Vieuxpont in 1203, who would — by 1214 — build the first stone keep and palisade on the site, marking the first ever construction of Brougham Castle.

How Old is Brougham Castle?

Brougham Castle is over 820 years old, though the site itself is much older (dating back to the Roman era). The first stone keep was erected on the site by 1214, and the castle would go on to receive numerous additions and restorations over the centuries by the Vieuxpont and Clifford families.

Location of Brougham Castle

Brougham Castle is located in Penrith, Cumbria, about 3.2 kilometres (2 mi) southeast of the Penrith town centre. Penrith is a market town situated between two rivers (Petteril and Eamont) with a population of just over 15,000 residents.

This historic town remained in possession of the Crown during its early history, though it would later pass through the hands of several families, including the Vieuxponts and Cliffords. It long enjoyed success as an agricultural centre.

The town has many landmarks, including The Giants Grave (an ancient hogback tombstone located in the St. Andrew’s Church), Penrith Castle, Brougham Castle, and Mayburgh Henge.

Today, Penrith’s economy heavily relies on tourism and shopping. There is also a weekly market that runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The town is also home to numerous popular annual events, including the Mayday Carnival, Penrith Agricultural Show, The Winter Droving, and Kendal Calling.

Other Places To Visit Near Broughham Castle

Countess Pillar

Lady Anne Clifford, Countess of Dorset, loved her family dearly, as evidenced by the pillar she erected only 0.9 kilometres (0.6 mi) from Brougham Castle. The pillar is situated at the site where Lady Anne last saw her mother in 1616 before the Countess retreated to the castle. Her mother, Margaret, would die shortly thereafter, and Lady Anne erected the pillar in her honour in 1656.

King Arthur’s Round Table

Located approximately 1.6 kilometres (1 mi) from Brougham Castle is an ancient earthwork dating back to the Neolithic era. It’s believed it may have acted as a trading centre, meeting space, or ceremonial area. However, it’s most popular for its associations with King Arthur. Some believe it was used by him as a jousting arena, hence its name. 

Mayburgh Henge

Another site near Brougham Castle dating to the Neolithic period is Mayburgh Henge. This ancient structure boasts stone walls (built using tiny river stones) up to three metres (9.8 feet) tall. At the centre of this 100 metre (325 feet) henge is a large stone. There were more stones here long ago, though they’ve been removed. This peaceful site is a great destination for history buffs.