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Silver Travel Book Club - Book of the Month - April 2019

I have visited lots of castles over tgecworldcrevolveits, but the one I love the most is Warwick Castle. It is intact, in a beautiful situation, is family friendly in as much you can see how people lived and worked, there is always the odd knight on horseback popping up and the regular joust, peacocks wander freely about. When my two children were young, I used to drive there, park in the road outside and we would look around and have a picnic by the river. There were no knights and jousting then, except at a very special use evening event which I never went to. Those days long gone,now you plan your visit and you pay for all the changes they have made, moving with the times, but it still stands out in all its splendour. One thing I never did, was manage the torture chamber, I ventured in once and almost ran out, the children as they got older did.

Sutton coldfield

I love visiting Castles and Palaces and in this country you have Blenheim Palace with the choice of tours – I have tried them all from the private apartment of the Duke, to the upstairs bedrooms where royalty have stayed, or the state rooms below with the Churchill exhibition, plus for children there is a play area and butterfly house, and a lovely garden with lots of fountains and parkland for miles. Then there is Buckingham Palace – see the red throne room and the garden with lake, a peaceful place in the centre of the capital. Britain has plenty of castles from ruined Kenilworth with a stunning garden to Warwick Castle with waxwork figures bringing the past to life are a couple of my favourite.

Venice is the best place for palaces, Venetian palaces are so sumptious, and then you walk to the window and look out over the Grand Canal – I have visited Venice three times but always seem to find a new palace to visit. The Rhine valley is the best place for castles, and I have cruised down looking at the different castles high up in the gorge, some ruined and some very fine.

Thanks @FlyingFlish for your comment – and what an inspiring one. The castle of your memory is understandably very special, if not likely to be seen by many other Silver Travellers! A bit of a long shot, but you don’t know the name Sam Key, do you? He is a good friend and has mentioned that he too was ‘involved’ in Oman whilst with the RAF.

Thanks again for taking the time to post such a thoughtful comment on this Forum thread.

Literary Editor

Well said Flying Fish, and I do like your alternative choice. We need to encourage people to visit places like this rather than the tourist ‘honey pots’.

I immediately distrust books like this and feel the choice of ‘the 50 greatest’ whatevers is immediately open to challenge. I’m surprised that Chillingham Castle in Northumberland features. This was derelict for many years and has only recently been restored. It is decidedly quirky inside. A sense of humour helps with a visit. Mind you it does have a very good tea room! I also feel that Warwick Castle has been spoilt since Merlin Entertainments Group took it over.


I live very near and played rugby for 25 years on the pitches below Windsor Castle, clearly one of the most famous castles in the world. I have visited many others from Spain to Rajastan, via Scotland, Bavaria and . However, the castle that which has lingered longest in my travelling memory is one that will most definitely not appear in the top 50 Greatest Castles and Palaces of the World – the small one in Mirbat in Dhofar in southern Oman. I served in Salalah whilst in the RAF but could only have gone to Mirbat at considerable personal risk. My wife and I visited 28 years later but could still see where the castle was defended by a small contingent of the SAS against overwhelming odds. There was no publicity at the time and little since but the battle was key to a nation’s future. The castle was built by the Portuguese and is “nothing to write home about” except for the atmosphere that still pervades it, one of heroism and sacrifice.

This month the Silver Travel Book Club – proudly sponsored by Emerald Waterways – is The 50 Greatest Castles and Palaces of the World, by Gilly Pickup.

From the flamboyance of Germany’s fairy tale-Neuschwanstein Castle to the gothic, Dracula-inspiring Bran Castle, perched high in the craggy peaks of Romania’s Carpathian Mountains; Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, previously home to samurai warriors to Ireland’s Blarney Castle, where ‘the gift of the gab’ will be granted to any who kiss its stone, the world’s castles and palaces are steeped in history and stories to tell.

Travel writer and journalist Gilly Pickup shares these stories, providing a tour of 50 of the world’s greatest castles and palaces, filled with humour, interesting facts and tips on how best to visit them.

How to win a copy of The 50 Greatest Castles and Palaces of the World:

Which castles and palaces around the world – or here at home in the UK – have you visited, and which has lingered longest in your travelling memory? And why….?

Join this Forum thread (or comment on Silver Travel’s Facebook page) and the most interesting two entries from Silver Travellers will each win a copy of The 50 Greatest Castles and Palaces of the World.

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