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TICKETS & PRICES

Adults: £8.60
Children 5-17 Years: £5.00
Families (2 adults, up to 3 Children): £22.20
Families (1 adult, up to 3 Children): £13.60

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Visiting Peveril Castle

Peveril Castle is a tower keep castle in Castleton, Derbyshire. It was founded sometime after 1066 and before 1086 by William Peverel, where it received its name. Today, Peveril Castle is a ruinous site, and visitors may explore its grounds by booking a ticket from English Heritage.

Parking

No on-site parking is available at Peveril Castle, though parking is available at the Peveril Castle Visitor Centre. From the visitor centre, it is approximately a five to ten minute steep uphill walk to the castle entrance.

The visitor centre and parking are operated by High Peak Borough Council, not English Heritage. As such, a parking fee is required and no discounts are offered to English Heritage members. The Pay and Display machines only accept coins, and the payments are non-refundable.

On peak days and bank holidays, parking space may be limited. Additional parking is available on the roads leading out of Castleton.

 

Price

Admission fees for entrance to Peveril Castle vary based on the date and season. Peak dates are costlier than off-peak dates. For exact pricing, please view the English Heritage website and choose the date of your visit on the Peveril Castle Calendar.

Tickets purchased online in advance (up to 8:45 a.m. on the date of your visit) are eligible for a 10 percent advance-booking discount. When purchased at the gate, guests will not receive the discount.

The following table shows Peveril Castle ticket prices on an off-peak day in the month of June (with the advance-booking discount included):

Peveril Castle Ticket Prices - June - Off-Peak

Ticket Type

With Donation

Without Donation

Members

Free

Free

Adult

£9.50

£8.60

Child (5-17 Years)

£5.50

£5.00

Student (with Valid ID)

£8.50

£7.70

Family (2 Adults, Up to 3 Children)

£24.50

£22.20

Family (1 Adult, Up to 3 Children)

£15.00

£13.60

Senior (65+)

£8.50

£7.70

 

Opening

The castle is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last admission to the castle is issued no later than 45 minutes before the posted closing time.

Peveril Castle and all other English Heritage sites tend to get busy between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Bank holidays and peak dates (usually weekends) are the busiest. To avoid the ground, plan on visiting before 11 a.m. or after 2 p.m.

Location and Access

he physical address of Peveril Castle is:

Market Place

Castleton

Derbyshire

S33 8WQ

The site is approximately 24 kilometres (15 mi) west of Sheffield. Those travelling by vehicle may access the site using A6187. Take this to Market Place in Castleton.

Castleton does not have a railway station within the village. The nearest train station is the Hope Railway Station. It is about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Peveril Castle.

Hulleys of Baslow offers bus service to Castleton via multiple routes, including service route 272. This route enters Castleton and requires a short trek to the castle site.

Know Before You Go

  • There are no on-site food or drink facilities.The Peveril Castle Visitor Centre offers cold drinks and ice cream for sale. There are no restaurants, cafés, or vending machines on the castle grounds.

  • Picnics are permitted outside of the visitor centre and on the castle grounds. The visitor centre has several tables and benches available for picnics. Additional benches are available on the way up the hill to the castle. The castle grounds boast numerous open, grassy areas ideal for enjoying a scenic picnic.

  • The Peveril Castle Visitor Centre has a gift shop. Various gifts and souvenirs are available for purchase. These items include books, toys, jewellery, alcohol, candies, and dress-up clothing (among other things). The gift shop is situated on the first floor, accessed via a short ramp.

  • No toilet facilities are available on the castle site. Visitors are encouraged to use the facilities within the visitor centre prior to walking to the castle site. The centre has one unisex toilet and a disabled toilet with baby-changing facilities.

  • Dogs are permitted on the castle grounds and outside of the visitor centre. However, they must be kept on a lead. The visitor centre has one dog bowl available on-site.

  • Pushchairs are allowed, though it may be difficult to push them up the hill. Visitors may leave pushchairs at the bottom of the hill, if desired.

  • The castle grounds are not wheelchair accessible. Guests in wheelchairs or those with mobility issues may find it difficult, if not impossible, to access the castle site via the steep uphill walk. The visitor centre also sits atop a small slope which may be difficult to access for wheelchair users.
  • Access to the exhibition is accessible via a lift. Once inside the visitor centre, there is a lift that wheelchair and mobility scooter users can use to access the exhibition on the upper level. Other guests can take the 15 steps to the exhibition via the stairs.
  • There are some hazards on the site. Peveril Castle is a ruinous site. Therefore, visitors will come across steep drops, uneven surfaces, low walls, and old stone steps. To access the lower level of the keep, guests must take a spiral staircase. Additionally, the site may become slippery when wet.



 

Places To Stay Nearby

Peak Hotel Castleton

.5 km (.3 mi) north

The Peak Hotel in Castleton is one of the most popular lodging accommodations in the area. Guests enjoy an on-site restaurant, a bar, and free private parking. All rooms include free WiFi, a kettle, wardrobe, seating area, television, tea and coffee facilities, and en-suite bathroom. Some rooms have an inner courtyard or landmark view. The hotel is about a two-minute drive (via A6187) or an eight-minute walk (via A6187 and Back St) to Peveril Castle.

Book

Premier Inn Buxton Hotel

17.4 km (10.8 mi) southwest

Premier Inn Buxton Hotel is located near the Peak District. The hotel offers free on-site parking and an on-site restaurant. Rooms include double, twin, family, and accessible units, and each includes a hairdryer, shower, vanity area, tea and coffee facilities, and free WiFi. The Thyme Bar & Grill offers breakfast and dinner options, and an opportunity to purchase a meal deal for food discounts during your stay. The hotel is about a 23-minute drive from Peveril Castle (via A6).

Book

Travelodge Glossop

24.8 km (15.4 mi) northwest

Travelodge Glossop sits on the northern end of Peak District National Park and close to the historic Glossop town centre. Rooms include family, double, and double-twin accessible units, each including a shower, television, spacious desk, tea and coffee facilities, and complimentary toiletries. Various historic buildings, restaurants, and cafés are within walking distance of the hotel. It is approximately a 27-minute drive from Peveril Castle (via A624).

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History of Peveril Castle 

Peveril Castle has a relatively meagre history. Built by William Peverel the Elder after the Norman Conquest, it was first mentioned in 1086 in the Domesday Book. It has little war history, with only one brush with military engagement in 1216. It was primarily used for government administration.

Time Line


- Post-Norman Conquest (Castle Founded)

Peveril Castle is built atop a limestone outcrop by William Peverel the Elder, as a means to control the local area which boasted rich mineral resources and vast hunting space. Historians believe the initial site was unoccupied at the time, though there is some archaeological evidence indicating it may have been settled hundreds of years before the castle’s establishment.

- 1086 (First Mention)

The castle was first mentioned in the Domesday Book (the “Great Survey” of England and parts of Wales). In the survey, Peveril Castle was referred to as “William Peverel’s Castle of Peschesers,” translating to “Peak’s Arse.” During mediaeval times, this was the common name for Peak Cavern.

- 1100 (Administrations Centre)

King Henry I gave William Peverel legal possession of the Peak, essentially granting Peverel lordship over the land. During this time, Peveril Castle was established as a vital administrations centre for the Royal government.

- 1114 (William Peveril the Younger Assumes Control)

After the death of William Peverel the Elder, his son, William Peveril the Younger, assumed control over his estates.

- 1141-1153 (The Anarchy)

During The Anarchy, Empress Matilda and King Stephen fought over the position of the throne. William Peveril the Younger backed King Stephen, thus leading to his capture. Henry II, son of Empress Matilda, threatened to strip Peveril of his lands, including Peveril Castle, after learning that he Peveril went against the Empress.

- 1155 (Henry II Takes Over)

Two years after making his threats, Henry II became king. However, instead of transferring Peveril’s estates to the Earl of Chester (who was now deceased), Henry II assumed control. At this time, Peveril Castle became an administrative centre yet again. The same year, William Peveril the Younger passed away, and his family laid claim to the estates, though it was not granted.

- 1173-1174 (Keep and Entrance Built)

King Henry II’s sons betrayed him after joining the Revolt of 1173-1174. As such, King Henry II used funds to build additions to Peveril Castle, including the keep, domestic buildings, and the present-day entrance.

- 1189 (Richard the Lionheart Takes Control)

After King Henry II’s death, his son, Richard the Lionheart, inherited his lands, including the castle. He gave lordship of the Peak to his brother John, ultimately granting him Peveril Castle. However, after John betrayed him, Richard stripped him of his lordship and regained ownership of the fortress.

- 1199 (William de Ferrers Assumes Lordship)

After Richard the Lionheart died, his brother John became king. William de Ferrers, 4th Earl of Derby, paid King John for the lordship of the Peak. Though he was now Lord of the Peak, the Crown retained possession of Peveril Castle.

- 1216 (Military Engagement)

King John transferred possession of Peveril Castle to William de Ferrers. However, the governor of Peveril Castle refused to vacate the property. William de Ferrers was told to besiege the castle with force. The governor ultimately surrendered.

- 1223 (King Henry III Takes the Castle)

After King John’s death, Henry III succeeded him. William de Ferrers initially refused to relinquish control of the castle. However, King Henry III ultimately took possession, placing the castle back under the Crown’s control.

- 1235 (Castle Repairs)

To prepare for the king’s arrival, multiple repairs were made to the Peveril Castle, including repairs along the northern wall and to the bridge leading to the other side of the gorge.

- 1264 (Simon de Montfort Assumes Ownership)

During the Second Barons’ War, Robert de Ferrers lived in Peveril Castle. The same year, Simon de Montfort convinced King Henry III to grant him ownership of the fortress.

- 1265 (Castle Reverts to the Crown)

Simon de Montfort owned the castle for less than a year before his death. After his passing, Peveril Castle reverted back to the Crown. Various repairs were made and additions were added during the remainder of the 13th century, including a new hall commissioned by King Henry III.

- Early 14th Century (Hunting Base)

Despite its defensible site, Peveril Castle never became an important military structure. During the 14th century, the fortress served as a hunting accommodation and an administrative building. It passed from the Crown to the early, and was finally given to John of Gaunt.

- 1374 (John of Gaunt Takes Control)

John of Gaunt saw no use for Peveril Castle. As such, he decided to use the castle materials for building at Pontefract Castle in West Yorkshire.

- 15th Century (Castle Loses Importance)

Although Peveril Castle remained in use throughout the 15th century, it was becoming evident that it was losing importance. Not only did it need numerous repairs, but many of the administrative work had been moved to other locations in Derbyshire.

- 16th Century (Castle in Disrepair)

Surveys of the Peveril Castle site indicated that its only use was for the keeping of the courts (as there were no other royal buildings available in Castleton for this purpose). However, only the keep was usable during this time, though the bailey was used for stray cattle and confiscated livestock. Shortly after 1561, Peveril Castle was in such a ruinous state that demolition was considered.

- 1609 (Complete Disuse)

Though the castle wasn’t demolished in the 16th century, it was completely abandoned by 1609. It’s believed that it was around this time when multiple stones were removed from the exterior of the keep.

- 19th Century (Tourist Attraction)

Sir Walter Scott’s book, “Peveril of the Peak,” drew interest to the castle (despite the story not taking place on the castle grounds). Railways allowed for easier access to the site, making it a tourist attraction. Various repairs were made to the castle.

- 1932 (Castle Guardianship)

The Office of Works assumed guardianship over Peveril Castle.

- 1984 (Managed by English Heritage)

The site came under the care of English Heritage.

Peveril Castle Occupants

    • 11th Century: William Peverel the Elder commissioned the building of Peveril Castle. The site became the primary residence of his barony. 
    • 1114: After William Peverel’s death, his son, William Peveril the Younger, inherited his estates, including Peveril Castle.
    • 1155: King Henry stripped William Peveril the Younger of castle ownership and visited the castle numerous times.
    • 1164: King Malcom IV of Scotland visits Peveril Castle, hosted by King Henry.
    • 1216: The governor of the castle, Brian de Lisle, lives on its grounds. The same year, he was nearly forcefully evicted by William de Ferrers before surrendering.
    • 1264: Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby, occupies the castle. Simon de Montfort took over the same year before the castle passed back to the Crown in 1265 after his death.

Peveril Castle Architecture

General Layout

Peveril Castle is a triangular Norman keep castle sitting atop a limestone cliff above Hope Valley. The castle boasted an opus spicatum curtain wall, a gatehouse with two upper walkways, and three towers. Within the inner bailey was a Great Hall, chapel, royal apartments, and the keep.

Original Layout

The outcrop upon which Peveril Castle rests slopes downward from east to west, forming a steep dropoff on the southeastern side. This natural landscape made the fortress easy to defend.

Curtain Wall and Gatehouse

In addition to the naturally defensible landscape, a stone curtain wall added to the castle’s defences. The curtain wall featured a spiked work masonry design (opus spicatum) using stone tiles organised in a herringbone pattern.

The original entrance to Peveril Castle was via a back entrance that visitors had to approach on foot. This gate sat on the western side and was accessed via a bridge over the gorge. On the other side of the gorge was an additional stone structure. The layout and purpose of this structure is unknown, as it has never been excavated.

By the 12th-century, a gatehouse was erected on the fortress’s eastern side. The gatehouse was approximately 7 metres (23 ft) in width and 2.5 metres (8 ft) in length. This newer entrance was approached from the north.

The curtain walls of the castle boasted high walkways adjacent to the gatehouse.

Inner Bailey and Towers

Along the north wall was a tower that jutted out approximately 2 metres (6.5 ft). The southern curtain wall had two round towers jutting out that also used the opus spicatum masonry design. It’s believed the tiles used in the masonry came from the nearby fort of Navio.

The southern wall featured the original Great Hall (toward the west) and a chapel (toward the east).Within the Great Hall is where royalty would entertain prestigious guests and hold gatherings and feasts. The kitchen and stores were also located in the Great Hall.

Royal apartments were most-likely located along the western wall of the castle.

Keep

At the southern corner of Peveril Castle was the stone keep. A low wall (parapet) stood about 15 metres (49 ft) above the foundation. The outside of the keep featured a smooth stone exterior (though weathering has since caused the stone to become grittier in texture).

The entrance to the keep was situated on the first floor. It led directly to a narrow stone spiral staircase. From here, visitors could access the interior of the keep, the upper walkway, and the lower level (used for storage). The interior is relatively small for a keep, approximately 12 metres by 12 metres (39 ft by 39 ft).

A small rectangular chamber containing a garderobe juts out on the keep’s southeastern face.

Modern Layout

Today, most of Peveril Castle is in ruins. The curtain walls that enclose the structure showcase signs of modern construction in addition to the tiled herringbone design dating from the Norman period. The southern curtain wall has almost been entirely replaced, though it runs along the original mediaeval wall.

Within the inner bailey, visitors can view the ruined foundations of the original Great Hall and chapel. Little remains of the kitchen and food stores.

Images of Peveril Castle

Peveril Castle Peveril Castle Peveril Castle
Peveril Castle Peveril Castle

Images Supplied and licensed from Shutterstock Standard Licence Package

What Can I See During Visit to Peveril Castle?

 

    • Take in the spectacular views. Perched atop a rocky limestone cliff, Peveril Castle boasts breathtaking views of Castleton village and the surrounding countryside. At the back of the castle, visitors can look up to the Cave Dale, an ancient limestone valley formed by glaciers.
    • Find the garderobe. Within the keep, visitors can view a small chamber once used as a mediaeval lavatory. This small room jutted out the side of the keep and included a hole in the floor where waste would drop into a cesspit below.

    • Visit the Peveril Castle exhibit. The exhibit is located on the upper floor of the visitor centre (accessed via stairs or a lift). Here, visitors can learn the full history of Peveril Castle and view multiple artefacts dating back to mediaeval times.
    • Participate in family-friendly educational activities. Stop at the Peveril Castle Visitor Centre and grab an activity sheet before climbing to the castle site. These activities help children better understand the castle and its history.
    • Play outdoor games on the castle grounds. The visitor centre also has various outdoor games available for purchase. Guests can enjoy playing these games on the castle grounds.

Peveril Castle Facts

  1. The nearby Peak Cavern entrance is allegedly an entrance to a faery world. Legend says that a herder lost his pig and entered the Peak Cavern near Peveril Castle to look for it. After travelling a long distance through the caves, he exited in another world — presumably, a faery world.
  2. Peveril Castle is presumed haunted. According to the Derbyshire Times, Peveril Castle’s long history has undoubtedly left many spirits hanging in limbo on its grounds. Supposedly multiple ghosts roam the castle and its grounds, including a knight and an endlessly galloping horse. Occasionally, visitors report hearing singing, though the voice can never be traced.
  3. The castle sits above “The Devil’s Arse.” No, that’s not a typo. Peveril Castle is situated above a giant cave entrance known today as Peak Cavern, but originally referred to as “The Devil’s Arse.”
  4. There is a mediaeval toilet in the keep. The 12th-century garderobe projects outward from the keep. This small chamber includes a seat made of stone where residents and visitors would sit to “do their business.” A hole beneath the seat allowed the waste to drop into a pit below.

Peveril Castle Q&A

Can You Go in Peveril Castle?

You can go in Peveril Castle, including the inner bailey and the keep. The inner bailey features the ruinous foundations of various buildings. In the keep, visitors can access a room with spectacular countryside views, and a small chamber known as a “garderobe” that served as a mediaeval latrine.

Where Did They Film Peveril Castle?

Peveril Castle’s grounds, including the inner bailey and keep, were filmed in 1945. The original film is currently in the possession of the Cinema Museum in London. Speaking of film, it’s also worth noting that scenes from The Princess Bride (1987) were shot near the castle in the Cave Dale valley.

How Old is Peveril Castle?

Peveril Castle is nearly 1,000 years old — exactly 943 years old as of 2023. The castle was founded after the Norman Conquest, around the year 1080. The first mention of Peveril Castle was in 1086 in the Domesday Book, a survey of various castles and lands in England and Wales.

Who Built Peveril Castle in Castleton?

William Peverel the Elder, a follower of William the Conqueror, commissioned the building of Peveril Castle after the Norman Conquest. This is also how the castle received its name, as it comes from its founder.

Location of Peveril Castle

Castleton, a tiny village in Derbyshire, sits on the western side of Hope Valley. The population of the town was less than 1,000 in 2011. The village offers numerous pubs, tea shops, and lodging accommodations for those passing through. 

Perhaps the most striking part of Castleton (besides Peveril Castle) is its marvellous landscape. It’s situated between a dark gritstone plateau and white limestone cliffs, and surrounded by lush green rocky hills. Visitors have plenty of natural land to explore here, including four caverns.

Other Places To Visit Near Peveril Castle

Chatsworth House

Located approximately 23.8 kilometres (14.8 mi) south of Peveril Castle, the Chatsworth House is a magnificent home that acts as the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The house has a rich history and has remained in the possession of the Cavendish family for nearly 500 years. Here, visitors can listen to the stories of its history and observe various historic artworks and the glorious garden. There is an on-site playground and farm for children to enjoy.

Peak Cavern

The Peak Cavern, also known as The Devil’s Arse, boasts the largest cave entrance in Britain and is the largest cave system in the Peak District. As late as 1915, the caverns served as the residence for a civilization of troglodytes who built homes inside the cave. The Five Arches are the deepest point of the cavern, and where the BBC filmed The Chronicles of Narnia. However, this area was later closed off due to regular flooding and increased maintenance.

Ladybower Reservoir

This man-made reservoir receives its water from the nearby Ladybower Brook. While the reservoir itself isn’t all that interesting, it’s a popular attraction because of the two villages that were “drowned” when the reservoir was filled. Most of the buildings in Derwent and Ashopton were demolished in 1940 in preparation for the reservoir. However, several houses from Dewent survive, whereas silt has covered the buildings that survived from Ashopton.

Sources