English Heritage’s #LoveCastles campaign to encourage family visits

English Heritage seek to reverse trend with #LoveCastles as survey finds children’s memories of castles come from TV and movies, rather than real life.

The survey into generational memories of castles found that, while everyone loves a good castle, children tend to have memories of fictional fortresses, rather than real ones.

Children’s earliest memories are more than twice as likely to feature Hogwarts, or castles from Frozen or Cinderella than real-life places they visited with parents or school.   The survey took in answers from 2,000 adults and children.  Most adults questioned said their first sight of castles came from real life visits.  However almost two-thirds of the children claimed they remembered fictitious castles over the real thing.

While the same number of children stated they liked visiting castles, less than 40 per cent of them have been to one in the past year.  12 per cent have never visited a castle.

#LoveCastles campaign

English Heritage has vowed to reverse the trend with its #LoveCastles campaign this summer.  The organisation cares for a large spread of iconic castles, including Dover, Tintagel and Kenilworth.  Its campaign involves 66 castles running a packed programme of events, aimed at helping families make real memories.  Events range from sandcastle-building workshops to medieval jousting competitions.

If families can’t get away, children are being encouraged to engage with castles via English Heritage’s on-site Minecraft workshops.

“Whilst most of us can remember our first trip to a castle – whether on a day out with the family or a school trip – today’s children are increasingly likely to catch their first glimpse of a castle on a screen rather than in real life,” said Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of English Heritage.  “This summer, English Heritage is calling on families up and down the country to reverse this trend, and take a day out to a real life castle, where kids can run around in the sunshine, watch gallant knights jousting, build a sandcastle or recreate a castle in a special Minecraft workshop.”

Castle fever isn’t just confined to England.  Approval has just been granted for a £570k interactive maze and an eerie Dragons’ Lair at Caerphilly Castle, Wales’ largest fortress.  The attractions form part of plans to turn the historic Welsh attraction into a major UK tourist destination.

The work falls under Cadw’s Castles Alive! campaign. Cadw, the governing body for heritage sites in Wales, is investing a total of £9.5 million to enhance its major sites.

Image: English Heritage