Oakham castle

Visiting Oakham Castle

Built from 1180 to 1190, Oakham Castle is Europe's best example of Norman architecture and England's longest-running seat of Justice. The castle is famous for its 240+ horseshoe collection and Great Hall that hosts events and weddings for up to 120 guests. Today, the site is open six days a week.


The car park is located on the right side of the front entrance. Slots are limited, though, since some spaces may be pre-booked for Great Hall banquets. 

You can also park in the Burley Road car park which you'll find near the old castle wall. It'll only take you a 2-minute walk to reach the castle premises from there. 

Another option is the Church Street car park, which is four minutes away from Oakham Castle. 

Parking for 30 minutes is free of charge.


Oakham Castle is a FREE public park.

You only need to pay if you’ll use it for professional photography, receptions, or ceremonies. 

After booking the castle for these events, you’ll need to reach out to the Superintendent Registrar for the County of Rutland by phone (01572 758370) or via e-mail at registrars@rutland.gov.uk.

The Registrar may charge additional fees which are entirely separate from Oakham Castle fees.

Prices are updated every year in April, so be sure to check the Oakham Castle prices before making plans.


Oakham Castle Grounds are open six days a week. 

The Great Hall, on the other hand, is only open Mondays to Saturdays (except Tuesdays) from 10 am to 4 pm. It also operates every Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm exclusively for school visits.

Location and Access

Oakham Castle is located at Market Place, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6DT. 

It’s a 160+ kilometre (99.4 miles) drive from London’s King’s Cross. This 2-hour journey will see you driving through the A1(M) and A1 highways. 

If you’re taking public transportation, you can hop on bus routes 9 (Oakham-Stamford) and RF1 (Melton Mowbray).

Another option is to take the Cross-country Train and alight at Oakham station. You will need to walk for ten minutes to reach the castle. 

Know Before You Go

  • Picnicking is allowed, but you can’t set up fires or barbecues within the premises.
  • Skateboards, bicycles, or roller blades may only be used at the low ground levels. Setting up jumps or obstacles for such purposes isn’t allowed. 
  • Digging or metal detecting are prohibited in the Castle grounds. 
  • Pet owners must tend after their waste!

Places To Stay Nearby

Brook Whipper-in Hotel

Located 160 metres (525 feet) away from Oakham Castle is the historic Brook Whipper-in Hotel. Once a 17th-century coaching inn, it has kept its old-world charm with its log fires and oak beams.

Brook Whipper-in Hotel is located in the strategic old market square, making it suitable for train commuters. It's a good 500 metres away from the Oakham Rail Station.

It's perfect for driving visitors too, as this hotel offers free parking as well

Book Whipper-in

Premier Inn Melton Mowbray

If you're taking the RF1 bus, you should consider staying at the Premier Inn Melton Mowbray.

While it’s 17 kilometres (10.6 miles) away or a good 19-minute drive to Oakham Castle, it’s more affordable than the nearer hotels. It also offers a comfy Hypnos bed and unlimited breakfast for only £9.50.

Kids also get to eat for free with every adult order of a Premier Inn breakfast plate.

Book Premier Inn

History of Oakham Castle

Oakham Castle was built in 1180 by Walkelin de Ferrers and was designed to be a grand hall rather than a typical castle. Though it changed hands over the years, after Lord Thomas Cromwell took ownership in 1512, it became the Assize Court and Magistrate Court host for more than 400 years.

Time Line


The castle was constructed by Walkelin de Ferrers, lord of the Oakham manor. He was the nephew of the first Earl of Derby, Robert de Ferrers. 

Its main feature was (and continues to be) the Great Hall. It’s adorned with a nave and two arcaded aisles, each with three stone columns. 


Walkelin died and passed the castle to his son, Henry. 


Henry paid homage to Philip II of France. This led to Terra Normannorum, or the confiscation of his English estates. As a result, he had to give up his ownership of Oakham Castle. 

Although this was the case, Isabella, Henry's sister, inherited the estate through her husband, Roger Mortimer. 

When Isabella died, the castle went back to the Crown. 


The King gave the castle to his younger brother, Richard, the Earl of Cornwall. Simon de Montfort, however, managed to seize control of the castle.


The Great Hall was destroyed during the Second Baron’s War. 


Simon is defeated at the Battle of Evesham. Control of Oakham Castle was reverted to the Crown. 

This resulted in upgrades, including the replacement of a wooden palisade with a stone curtain.

The motte's height was reduced, and a new curtain and a gatehouse (with a drawbridge) were also installed. 


Through Edward II’s edict, Oakham Castle’s defences were improved.


The castle, in dire need of repairs, was thought to be ‘worth nothing.’


Rehabilitation went underway for Oakham Castle. It improved so much that noteworthy royals, such as Edward III and Richard II, visited it.

Henry VI eventually awarded the castle to Humphrey Stafford. Unfortunately, this ownership did not last long as Richard III confiscated it. 

In the years that followed, the Tudors reinstated the ownership back to Stafford.


The castle was confiscated from Stafford (once again) after he was executed for treason. Ownership was then awarded to Lord Thomas Cromwell. 

From here on out, the castle was used as an Assize Court and Magistrate Court. This ran every two years up until the 1970s. 


The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the Rutland County Council £2.1 million. This was used for the castle’s extensive refurbishment works.


Oakland Castle is finally reopened to the public.

Oakham Castle Occupants

Throughout its almost-millennia long history, Oakham Castle was owned and occupied by several historical personalities. They include: 

  • Walkelin de Ferrers, Lord of the Oakham manor
  • Henry de Ferrers, Lord of Longueville in Normandy
  • Lady Isabella de Ferrers, Henry’s sister
  • Richard, Earl of Cornwall and later King of the Romans
  • Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester
  • Humphrey Stafford, Duke of Buckingham

Images of Oakham Castle

Oakham castle Oakham castle
Oakham castle Oakham castle

Images Supplied and licensed from Shutterstock Standard Licence Package

Oakham Castle Facts

Oakham Castle is one of England’s longest-running justice seats. Since 1229, a crown court has been held within the premises every two years. 

The Great Hall’s sculptures, which made use of Clipsham-quarried stones, are said to have been created by masons who worked on the Canterbury cathedral. 

The castle's market gateway is similar to those found at the Burley-on-the-Hill. 

Oakham Castle Q&A

Is Oakham Castle Accessible?

Oakham Castle is accessible, and it offers ramps in the grass areas, so visitors with prams, wheelchairs, or mobility scooters could still enjoy the sights.  Those on mobility scooters also have limited access to grassy areas. There are also two disability toilets located within the premises. 

Can I Bring My Pet to Oakham Castle?

Pets are welcome to roam the Oakham Castle grounds. Owners, however, are reminded to tend after their pets’ wastes! In addition, pets must be kept on a lead.

Can I Go Metal Detecting at Oakham Castle?

Metal detecting and any form of digging are prohibited on the premises. This is to help prevent damage to the restored castle premises. 

Can I Hold an Organized Group Activity at the Castle Grounds?

Group activities such as learning trips or exercise are allowed. However, you’ll need to seek approval from the city council. You also need to pay a certain amount for the use of the grounds. 

Can I Hold an Event at Oakham Castle?

You may use the grounds for events for only £320. The Grand Hall is also open to events such as weddings or civil partnerships. Fees vary according to the event, time (morning or evening), and alcohol service, to name a few. 

Location of Oakham Castle

Oakham Castle is located in Oakham, a county town in Rutland. 

Based in the East Midlands, it’s 37 km (23 miles) west of Peterborough, 40.2 km (25 miles) east of Leicester, and 45.1 km (28 miles) south-east of Nottingham. 

If you're thinking of driving to Oakham Castle, make sure to put this address on your map app: 

Oakham Castle, Market Place, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6DT. 

Other Places To Visit Near Oakham Castle

A visit to Oakham Castle will only take about 1-2 hours. So while in you’re Oakham, you might as well visit these noteworthy sites nearby: 

All Saints Church

All Saints Church is an Anglican Church located near the castle. It’s the largest church in England’s smallest county. 

The church, which has a decorated Gothic style, was built in the 14th century. Inside, onlookers can marvel at the beautiful frescoes of Adam & Eve, the annunciation, and the coronation of the Virgin Mary. 

The church is easily accessible from the castle. You only need to walk two minutes to get to this magnificent piece of architecture. 

Rutland County Museum

Rutland County Museum is located at Catmos Drive, a quick two-minute drive from Oakham Castle. It offers lovely displays of:


  • Archaeology
  • Rural life/trade examples, such as Blacksmithing, Wheelwrighting, and Brewery
  • Crime and punishment, including the New Drop Gallows
  • Brooke Reliquary


The museum is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is free. 

Barnsdale Gardens

Located eight minutes away from Oakland Castle is the beautiful Barnsdale Gardens. It’s home to Britain's most extensive collection of individually designed gardens. 


Depending on when you visit, you can parse through the Nursery and Gardens from 9-10 am to 4-5 pm. 


You can also relax at the Helenium Tea Room, which is open 9-10 am to 3:30-4:30 pm. 

Admittance to the gardens costs £8.50 to £11 for adults, and £5 to £7 for children. 

Rocks by Rail: The Living Ironstone Museum

Formerly the Rutland Railway Museum, Rocks by Rail is a ten-minute drive from Oakham Castle. 


Here, you can marvel at decommissioned trains, including the:


  • AB 1931, which was used for the Sugar Beet industry
  • AB 2088, which was named after Sir Thomas Royden
  • AB 2350, which worked at the Woolsthorpe Quarry System


Rocks by Rail is operational and offers visitor trips every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Admission costs £10 for adults and £5 for children. 

Rutland Water

Rutland Water is a reservoir that covers 4,200 acres of lush land. It’s a quick 11-minute drive from the lovely Oakham Castle.  


Here, you can enjoy fishing and certain water sports. It also has a water park, which is considered the biggest in the UK!


If you're looking for a change in scenery, Rutland Water Park is also an excellent place to hike or cycle. 


Rutland Water is all year round, except for Christmas day.