The town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, now famous for its ruined 15th century castle, was once a spa town during the 19th century. A row of fine Classical-style houses, in Bath Street, date back to this era. Several buildings in the town's main street, are timber framed, although the timbers are now hidden behind later brick facades. One building that still retains its original Elizabethan timbering is the 'Bull's Head' pub.
The Norman suffix which distinguishes Ashby from other towns of the same name comes from the La Souche family, lords of the manor from about 1160. They built a stone hall that was extended into a castle in the 15th century by the 1st Lord Hastings.
To the east of town lies the National Forest. A large and easily accessible recreational area of woodland, which provides a wide range of environmental and social benefits for current and future generations.
North St, Ashby-de-la-Zouch - Tel: 01530 411767
The honey coloured stone built castle, now a forlorn ruin, has had a very turbulent past. During the 17th century Royalist forces were besieged there by Parliamentarian troops for over a year, which caused the majority of destruction seen here today. Despite its extensive damage, visitors can still climb to the top of the part ruined tower, and take-in the very impressive views across the nearby town and countryside.
Sir Walter Scott cast Ashby Castle in his famous novel 'Ivanhoe'. It was here that Ivanhoe took part in a tournament with the Black Knight.
The castle is run by English Heritage and open to the public. Audio tours are available.
Opening times: April to October, daily 10:00 - 17:00
Location: South Street, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire - LE65 1BR Website
Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle | Belvoir Castle | Bosworth Battlefield | Bradgate Park | Conkers | Donington-le-Heath | Foxton Locks | Kirby Muxloe Castle | Shackerstone Railway | Snibston Discovery Park | Stanford Hall | Twycross Zoo