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The Anglotees Affiliate Program is Closing Down

This is a message for a very small number of people but our affiliate software doesn’t give us a way to message affiliates. We’re closing down the Anglotees Affiliate program. It’s been running for over a year now but there hasn’t been any sales through it in over six months. It’s expensive to run so we’ve taken the decision to close the program down.

We really thought the affiliate program would be a success. Oh well – time to try something else. Sorry folks!

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We’ve Had to Raise Our Shipping Rates

Bad news I’m afraid. The USPS raised postal rates last week, a significant increase over what they did last year. As a consequence, we’ve had to raise our shipping rates across the board (something we haven’t done since we started Anglotees two years ago).

From now on, the flat rate shipping price for domestic USA orders is $5.

Flat rate international rate is now $15

And these countries are:

  • Canada – $1o Flat Rate Shipping – Each additional shirt is $2 extra
  • Australia – $13 Flat Rate Shipping – Each additional shirt is $2 extra
  • United Kingdom – $13 Flat Rate Shipping – Each additional shirt is $2 extra
  • Germany – $13 Flat Rate Shipping – Each additional shirt is $2 extra
  • France – $13 Flat Rate Shipping – Each additional shirt is $2 extra

We tried to make things work without raising rates, but I’m afraid we have no choice.

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Downton Abbey: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Downton Abbey You Might Not Have Known


Perhaps one of the most popular shows on television in Britain and America, the tales of the Crawley family continue to draw in millions of viewers with each episode. The audience comes from all walks of life who tune in to see what bit of drama will happen this week, who will fall in love with who, and what snarky thing the Dowager Countess will say next. If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve seen most or all of the episodes, but what do you not know? Have a look below at ten interesting facts about one of the world’s favourite programmes.



While Julian Fellowes had Maggie Smith, Brendan Coyle, and Hugh Bonneville in mind for their roles as the Dowager Countess, John Bates, and Lord Grantham, Lady Cora was originally meant to be someone other than Elizabeth McGovern. Who did he have in mind originally? Gillian Anderson.

The States

Downton is also very popular in America. It has quickly become one of PBS Masterpiece Theater’s highest-viewed programmes and it brings in 120 million viewers from 200 different countries and territories. In fact, on the night of the Super Bowl, Downton was the second most popular programme.

On Location

Well, mostly. The real-life Highclere Castle serves as the setting for Downton Abbey and the show does often film its scenes there. However, George Herbert, the Eighth Earl of Carnarvon, and his family still own and occupy the house, and so the kitchen and servants’ quarters have all been modernised. As a result, scenes depicting these parts of the house still have to be shot in a studio. The sets are taken down and reassembled for each series.


Several of the actors have interesting hobbies. Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) enjoys jazz singing. Jim Carter (Mr. Carson) does charity bike rides all over the world. Elizabeth McGovern also has a band called Sadie and the Hotheads that Dockery sometimes sings in.

Expensive Values

It costs approximately £1 million per episode to make Downton Abbey.

When You Can’t Dance Anymore

Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) was once a ballet dancer. She was even invited to be part of the Russian Kirov Ballet Company when she was fifteen. She might have continued on in this career but ankle surgery forced her to quit dancing and she decided to turn to acting instead.

The House Has Gone to the Dogs

Isis and Pharaoh, Lord Grantham’s dogs, get their names due to one of the real-life house’s owners, George Herbert, the Fifth Earl Carnarvon. Along with Howard Carter, he uncovered the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings. Thus, the dogs are named in tribute to him.

Striving for Reality

The programme attempts to recreate everything faithfully, even down to the food. The food you see in dining scenes or being prepared in the kitchen is all real. This means that food items like seafood can get pretty smell at the end of a day of filming. One has to wonder if the cast ever gets to eat it?


Even though they strive for period accuracy, the programme does make mistakes every once in a while. The most recent of these was a plastic water bottle that appeared in a promotional photo for the most recent series. Plastic bottles weren’t widely used in the UK until the 1960s, about thirty-four years after Downton takes place.


Being a top-rated program, it’s also won numerous awards over the years. It has the Guinness World record for Emmy nominations at 27 and has won approximately ten times. Additionally, it has been nominated for and won numerous BAFTAs and Golden Globes.


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Christmas Actually: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Love Actually


A movie that is now eleven years old and inspired at least a couple star-studded, holiday-themed movies, it is now thought of as a Christmas classic. While films like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve attempted to recreate the magic with their star-studded casts and multiple storylines, it’s hard to recreate such awesomeness within a two hour period with a cast like that as Richard Curtis does. If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’ve viewed the film more than once, so you think you know everything about it. Well, here are ten things you may not know about this 2003 holiday classic.


There’s still 4 days left to pick up our lovely Love Actually themed design called Christmas Actually. Available on white or navy garments and shipping with plenty of time until Christmas.


No No, Thank YOU

Kris Marshall (“Colin Frissell”) actually refused pay for the scene in which three girls from Wisconsin undress him. He actually returned his check for the day’s filming because it was so much fun. Maybe it had something to do with the twenty-one takes they did for the scene?

Revenge is a Dish Best Served in Cinema

At university, Curtis’s girlfriend left him for a man named Bernard. As revenge, Curtis names one of the more negative characters after him. This is why Emma Thompson’s and Alan Rickman’s son Bernard is referred to as “horrid”.

Save It for Later

Colin’s awkward conversation with the caterer about how terrible the food is was actually written for Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was eventually drafted out of the original script, but used for the film’s auditions.

I Know that Voice

Years later, Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Joanna (Olivia Olson) have turned their talents to voice acting. Besides live-action roles in film and television, Brodie-Sangster provides the voice of Ferb on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, while Olson’s voice and musical talents can be heard as Marceline the Vampire Queen on Adventuretime.


The word “actually” is spoken twenty-two times over the course of the film.

It’s All Relative

Thomas Brodie-Sangster is actually the second cousin, once removed, of Hugh Grant. Grant and Curtis both note this in the commentary. Grant and Alan Rickman also attended the same private school.

Scary Facial Hair

Billy Bob Thornton agreed to play the American President before even seeing the script. On set, he informed Curtis that he was terrified of former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s facial hair and that he wouldn’t do a scene in the 10 Downing Street set because of a picture of Disraeli on the wall. Curtis ultimately talked Thornton into doing the scene regardless, but the actor always has his back turned to any picture of the PM. Hugh Grant would taunt Thornton on set by running up to him and showing him a picture of Disraeli, at which point Thornton would “break out in a sweat.”

Blink and You’ll Miss It

In Hugh Grant’s first scene, he is wearing a different tie in close-ups than in other shots. That’s because the two parts of the scene were shot at different times and Grant alleges that he grabbed the wrong tie before leaving his trailer to film the close-up shots. Rumour has it, though, that Grant changed the tie on purpose.

Ant or Dec

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are a comedy and presenting duo on British television. The frequency of their presenting together is made fun of when Bill Nighy’s Billy Mack character calls them “Ant or Dec”, referring to the fact that most people can’t tell them apart. Fortunately, the band Blue took their joke about their manhoods pretty well.

Joanna the First

Images of Daniel’s wife and Sam’s mother Joanna are actually those of documentary filmmaker Rebecca Frayn whom Curtis once had a crush on, but it never worked out, as Curtis notes in the commentary.

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Important Message for Anglotees Customers: The Christmas Season Plan at Anglotees

We wanted to publish a quick update to let people know what our plans were for Christmas. Last year Christmas was obviously our busiest time of the time and we learned a few things. We hate the Christmas Creep as much as everyone else. But because the lead time for printing and delivery of our designs is 2-3 weeks, we need to think about it now.
First, we’ll be offering popular reprint designs (we already offered one last week and this week). This will give people one last chance to pick them up as gifts for the Anglophile in their lives.
Second, Christmas themed designs will start Next Friday (Oct 30th) and continue until late November at which point we’ll stop because they own’t arrive in time for Christmas. We have some popular ones from last year and some new ones you’re going to love. Hint: if you’re a fan of Love Actually – watch next week!
Third, the last designs that will be guaranteed to arrive before Christmas will be the designs launched on November 27th. Designs after that may arrive in time – but it will depend on the speed of the US postal service. If you’re outside the USA, don’t order after Mid-November expecting a Christmas pressie as it will be unlikely to arrive in time. We will indicate on launch pages if something will arrive in time or not.
Fourth, we have a selection of special designs that will be available for the entire holiday season and printed on demand. You’ll see when they launch – they’re amazing. All I’ll say is ‘Ugly Christmas Jumpers.’
And finally, posters and tote bags are different. They’re produced as they’re ordered. Our printer has listed these dates as the cutoff of Christmas ordering:
  • USA: December 8th
  • Canada: December 4th
  • Europe: December 10th
  • Everywhere else: November 16th
There’s plenty of time left to pick up a poster or a Tote Bag. We might add some more designs for the Totes but I don’t know if we’ll have time.
We hope everyone has a happy and fun holiday season – we can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on!
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The Hurricane: 10 Interesting Facts about the Hawker Hurricane – The Workhorse of World War II


Not talking about storms here, but one of the greatest fighter planes of World War II. While its fame was later eclipsed by the Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane played a major role in early air conflicts, especially the Battle of Britain. Produced from 1937 to 1944, it served throughout most of the war and racked up some pretty impressive facts and figures.


There’s 72 Hours Left to buy our tribute to this iconic airplane. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide from the USA. Makes a great gift for Dad or Grandpa!


Eagle Squadron

Before the US’s entry into the war, many Americans joined the Royal Air Force and formed the Eagle Squadrons. As this took place at the beginning of the war, the American pilots mostly flew Hurricanes. In 1941 after the US declared war on Germany, these squadrons were folded into the US Army Air Corps.

Outnumbered but Not Outgunned

During the Battle of Britain in July 1940, the RAF had a total of 527 Hurricanes and 321 Spitfires to face the Luftwaffe’s 2,700 planes. Ultimately, the British forces were successful in destroying 1,887 aircraft to British losses of 1,547 planes over the three-month period. Their success marked a turning point for Britain and the war, halting the Nazis’ advancement in Europe.

Takes a Lickin’

While slower and less agile than the Spitfire, one of the Hurricane’s saving graces was that it was known to hold up better against enemy fire. In the Battle of Britain, they helped provide cover for the Spitfires, taking the brunt of the damage as the Spitfires moved in for the kill.

Important Technical Figures

Maximum Speed: 340 MPH
Range: 468 miles (1,090 miles with two 90 gallon ferry tanks)
Ceiling: 35,000 feet
Wingspan: 40 feet
Length: 31 feet, 4 inches
Height: 13 feet

31 Flavours of Death

Aside from the standard Mark I Hurricane, there were several other models that varied depending on their mission. Besides the Mark II(A&B), there was the Mark II Trop (rigged for combat in North Africa), the Sea Hurricane (modified to be launched by catapult for convoys), the Hurricane Hotspur (with a turret gun placement), the Typhoon, and many other variants.



With the Great Depression going on at the time of its development, Chief Designer Sydney Camm tried to use as many pre-existing parts and manufacturing techniques as possible. This resulted in a plane that was essentially the monoplane successor to the Hawker Fury biplane.

Easy to Repair and Modify

These practical concerns in building the Hurricane meant that it could be easily repaired after battle. It also allowed for the heavy modification that led to so many different models, making it a highly suitable fighter for almost any theatre in the war.

Hazardous to Your Health

And not just because of the Nazis shooting at you. Hurricanes had a problem with carbon monoxide fumes seeping into the cockpit. Manufacturers attempted to fix this by outfitting the planes with longer exhaust stubs and other modifications, but nothing ever completely alleviated the problem. Instead, pilots were required to use oxygen from engine start-up to engine shut-down.

A Throwback?

Of all the various modifications to the Hurricane, one of the more interesting was a one-off biplane variant. Known as the Hillson FH.40, the top wing was meant to hold extra fuel, reducing takeoff distance and increasing ferry range. However, it proved too heavy to be serviceable and none were built beyond the original.

Only a Handful Remaining

Of the 14,583 Hawker Hurricanes that were built during the seven-year period of production, only 13 survive that can still fly. However, many that are not in airworthy condition, are on display at museums all over the world. There is even one at the Smithsonian Institution’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport, which is part of the National Air and Space Museum.

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Brit History: 10 Fascinating Facts about the British Union Flag You Probably Didn’t Know

In honor of the Union Jack Collection this week at Anglotees, here’s some interesting facts about the Union Flag you might not know.

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There’s still THREE DAYS left to get one of the design from the Union Flag Collection! Click here to BUY NOW!

Nothing says Britain like the Union Flag – also known colloquially as the Union Jack. The flag has a long history and within that history is many interesting nuggets of information.

Long History

The First Union Flag
The First Union Flag

The flag was first proclaimed by James I (aka James VI of Scotland) in 1606 when he inherited both the thrones of England and Scotland and sought to create a flag combining the two crosses of the respective nations. Ireland was later added in 1801 when it joined the United Kingdom.

It’s Actually Three Flags in One

The flag is actually made up of the three flags of England, Scotland and Ireland which are the crosses of each country’s patron saint.

England: Cross of St George – Red Cross
Scotland: Cross of St Andrew – White Saltaire
Ireland: Cross of St Patrick – Red Saltaire

Wales is Missing

Welsh Flag
Welsh Flag

While there are four constituent countries that make up the United Kingdom, only three of them are actually represented on the Union Flag. Why is this? Well, technically, Wales is a principality and has legally always been considered a part of England until recently when it was given more devolved powers. If Scotland votes to leave the Union, it’s highly likely Wales will get a place in whatever flag replaces the Union Flag. A dragon is a pretty cool thing to put on a flag!

It’s Actually Not Called the Union Jack

While pretty much everyone calls it the Union Jack, it’s technically called the Union Flag unless it’s being flown at sea. Well, this is the tradition anyway. Everyone calls it the Union Jack these days.

There’s a Right Way to Display It


If you look closely at the flag, you’ll notice that it’s actually not symmetrical in its shapes, which means that there is a proper way to display the flag. This little graphic should clarify how to properly display the flag.

There’s a US State flag with the Union Flag On it

State Flag of Hawaii

Despite fighting a lengthy war for independence, there is still a US state flag with the Union Jack on it – the Hawaii State flag still features it in the upper left corner. Why is this? It’s a relic of Hawaii’s colonial past when it was more associated with the British empire when Hawaii was still a monarchy. The King of Hawaii at the time sought to placate both British and American interests by creating a hybrid flag and it’s stuck ever since. When America took control of the islands, they opted to stick with the hybrid flag.

There are 23 countries using the Union Flag

There are still 23 countries around the world – many small territories or islands – that use some form of the Union Flag in their design. But there are big ones that still do like Australia and New Zealand.

New Zealand Might Ditch Theirs

Possible New Flag for New Zealand
Possible New Flag for New Zealand

Recently, the Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key has announced that he intends to hold a referendum after the next election for New Zealand to choose a new flag. The options would be to keep the current flag or create a new one, probably based around the Silver Fern that is associated with the country. According to surveys, they’re likely to keep the same flag – mostly to honor veterans who fought under it.

Canada Ditched Theirs in the 1960’s


After much debate, in the 1960’s, Canada decided to discard their ‘Red Ensign’ flag, which was never actually its ‘official’ flag and adopt the Maple Leaf as their national flag. There was a huge public debate but in the end, public support was behind adopted a new national symbol to represent the independence of Canada.

They Don’t Have a ‘Flag Code’ and No Modern Concept of Flag Desecration

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The United States takes its flag very seriously and has an entire code dedicated to the proper treatment of the flag. The UK doesn’t have any of this and they have no legal concept of flag desecration. There is also no specific way in which the Union Flag should be folded as there is with the United States Flag. It should simply be folded ready for the next use. Which I guess explains why no one makes any noise over the availability of Union Jack underwear or seat cushions.

Check out some of the beautiful designs this week below!

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The Longest Reign: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures About HM The Queen You Might Not Know

Born in 1926 as Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary to Prince Albert, the Duke of York (and future King George VI) and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, it did not always seem that Elizabeth would one day inherit the throne. However, with the abdication crisis, her father became king and ensured that his eldest daughter would eventually become Queen Elizabeth II. Overseeing the United Kingdom through the Cold War and into the 21st Century, Elizabeth has become the longest-reigning monarch in British history—even longer than Queen Victoria. With so much history in her time on the throne, here are ten facts you might not know.


There’s 48 hours left to pick up the special reprint run of The Longest Reign, our tribute to the Queen’s Milestone. Perfect Christmas Gift! We will not offer this design again before Christmas.


Long May She Reign

The Queen has reigned for 63 years and seven months – calculated at 23,226 days and about 16 hours. In that time, she has conferred 404,500 honors and awards and held 610 investitures. What’s more, she is only the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066.

No. 12

There have been twelve Prime Ministers over the course of her reign. There have also been twelve U.S. Presidents during this time.

Quite an Impression

According to sources, the Queen’s secret talent is actually doing humorous impressions. However, nobody is telling whom she impersonates for private audiences. According to Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, impressions of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G character can make her laugh.

A Rational Dress

When Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten (now Duke of Edinburgh) in 1947, Britain was still recovering from World War II and rationing was still in effect. As such, Elizabeth had to save enough rationing coupons in order to have her dress made. The Queen Mother and Prime Minister Winston Churchill were adamant about her not taking Philip’s surname so that the family line would still be the House of Windsor.

Quite an Alarm Clock

Queen Elizabeth doesn’t wake up the same way as the rest of us. Rather than an alarm clock, she has her own personal bagpipe player that rouses her from slumber.

Lots of Traveling

The Queen has undertaken over 250 official visits overseas to 129 different countries, all without her own passport. Her trips have brought her not only to Commonwealth Nations, but countries as diverse as Cocos Islands and China.

Christmas Traditions

It is well-known that the Queen broadcasts her Christmas message every year, the one exception being in 1969, when a documentary film about the royal family was broadcast. Instead, the Queen issued a written message. Additionally, Elizabeth and Prince Philip have sent over 45,000 Christmas cards and given 90,000 puddings to staff. The Queen is also responsible for sending Christmas Trees to Westminster Abbey, Wellington Barracks, St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. Giles’ Cathedral, the Canongate Kirk, Crathie Kirk, and schools in the Sandringham area.

No Driver’s License

In addition to having no passport, Her Majesty also lacks a driver’s license. She first learned to drive in 1945 as a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she trained as a mechanic and military truck driver.


Technology has seen an explosion of advancement during Elizabeth’s reign. In 1976, she became the first head of state to use email when she transmitted a message over ARPANET, a precursor to the Internet, while taking part in a demonstration at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment. In 2009, US President Barack Obama gave her an iPod, even though she already had one, though this iPod contained footage of her 2007 visit to the United States.

Her Corgis

Corgis have famously been Her Majesty’s favorite pet since her first, Susan, was given to her in 1944. She has owned more than 30 since then, with many of them being descendants of Susan.


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Spitfire: 14 Facts and Figures You Probably Didn’t Know About the Supermarine Spitfire – The Iconic Plane That Fought During the Battle of Britain


The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most iconic airplanes ever built. It’s best known as the plane flown by pilots during the Battle of Britain (along with the Hawker Hurricane). In honor of our current shirt at Anglotees, Spitfire Schematic, we present 14 facts and figures you probably didn’t know about the Supermarine Spitfire.


There’s still 72 hours left to get your own Spitfire Schematic T-shirt. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, sweatshirt and hoodie starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide from the USA!


1. What Makes the Spitfire so special? Its sleek lines, its maneuverability and the power put out by its Merlin engines. It was almost unmatched in the air during the early years of the war.

2. The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works in Southampton . In accordance with its role as an interceptor, Mitchell designed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing to have the thinnest possible cross-section; this thin wing enabled the Spitfire to have a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death from cancer in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the development of the Spitfire through its multitude of variants.

3. The Germans admired them. Towards the end of the Battle of Britain, Herman Goring was having a heated exchange with his commanders, frustrated that they weren’t winning the Battle of Britain as planned. He asked them what they needed to win and ace pilot Adolf Galland famously responded “I should like an outfit of Spitfires.”

Here is the scene dramatized in The Battle of Britain film from 1968:

4. While the Spitfire was in service, there were 20,351 total built. Today there are just 179 left today in various states of decay.

5. The Spitfire was the only Allied aircraft to be built during the entire war.

6. Because so many Spitfires were built, there were plenty of leftovers after the war. This meant that when filmmakers produced the iconic film Battle of Britain in 1968, they could use the actual planes flown in the battles. Many were also flown by veteran pilots.

7. It was one of the first airplanes to feature retractable landing gear. This was so new that many new pilots often crash landed because they forgot to put down their landing gear, assuming it was already down.

8. The Spitfire’s maiden flight was on 5 March 1936. It entered service with the RAF in 1938 and remained there until 1955.

9. Though it is assumed that ‘Spitfire’ came from the aeroplane’s awesome firing capabilities, it was also an Elizabethan word that meant someone who had a fiery character. The names Snipe and Shrew were also considered for the plane. Thankfully they went with Spitfire!


10. If you have a pilot’s license and £5500 (about $8500) you can attend the Boultbee Flight Academy in Kent, England and learn how to fly a real Spitfire. This is on my bucket list.

11. Some of the planes had modifications made to their under the wing mountings. Instead of carrying bombs, the planes could carry two small barrels of beer, something that was very popular with pilots!

12. The Spitfire continues to be a very popular aircraft, with approximately 55 Spitfires still being airworthy, while many more are static exhibits in aviation museums all over the world including here in the USA. I’ve seen the Spitfire inflight twice now and it was an amazing sight – can’t wait to see it again.

13. A single spitfire cost £12,604 to produce in 1939 – about £681,000 in today’s money or about $1.15 Million, which is rather cheap for an aircraft of its ability!

14. The maximum top speed of the Spitfire was 363 MPH – quite zippy! It’s range was 991 Nautical Miles but when it was in combat, it’s range was about 410 nautical miles. It could fly up to 36,000 feet, but the cabin was not pressurized.


There’s still 72 hours left to get your own Spitfire Schematic T-shirt. Available in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, sweatshirt and hoodie starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide from the USA!


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Castles of England: Top 9 Castles in England To Visit On Your Next Trip

Written by John Rabon

England possesses some of the world’s most beautiful castles. From the Normans to the Tudors, their builders wanted to use these fortresses as a place of defence, residence, displays of wealth, and shows of power. There are well over 1,500 castles in England, all in various states from ruins to perfectly intact. Of course it’s hard to select only nine from so many, so let us know some of your favourites in the comments.


There’s still 72 hours left to pick up this week’s exclusive Anglotees Design – Castles of England featuring these nine beautiful castles. Available on Royal Blue garments in men’s, women’s, v-neck, long sleeve, hoodie and sweatshirt starting at $16.99 and shipping worldwide from the USA. 


9. Arundel Castle


Built as a motte-and-double-bailey castle by Roger de Montgomery, in 1068, the land on which the castle sits was a gift from King William I for looking after Normandy while William was fighting in England. Following Roger’s death, the castle reverted to the crown, then was gifted to the d’Aubigny family and later to Thomas Howard, the Fourth Duke of Norfolk. This excellent example of Medieval architecture has been in the Howard family ever since and is the seat of the Duke of Norfolk. Today, the castle is also a major Norfolk tourist attraction, and regularly puts on reenactments of various eras in British history from the Romans and Medieval periods. Arundel also puts on a number of Shakespearean performances presented as they would have been during Elizabethan times. Most parts of the castle and the grounds are open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily, though the Castle Rooms don’t open until 12:00 PM and the Keep closes at 4:30 PM. Tickets come in several packages and the Gold PLUS level costs £18.00 for adults and £9.00 for children.

8. Bamburgh Castle


Long before the castle was built, the area surrounding Bamburgh Castle was fort for the Britons with foundations going to the 5th Century. Like Arundel and our next entry, Alnwick, Bamburgh is amongst the largest inhabited castles in England and is the home of the Armstrong family, which has owned it since William Armstrong, First Baron Armstrong, purchased it in the 19th Century. Its ancient history makes it a major location for archaeological digs and many artefacts have been discovered from the Britons and Anglo-Saxons. The castle is open to the public and puts on a number of events throughout the year, including festivals and concerts. Bamburgh is open daily until November 1 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Tickets are £12.25 for adults and £26.75 for families.

7. Alnwick Castle


One of the few castles in Britain still in the ownership of a great family, the grounds of Alnwick have had a castle on them for almost 1,000 years and the castle has been in ownership of the Percy family since the 14th Century and serves as the seat of the Duke of Northumberland. Today, the economics of maintaining a castle has seen it transformed into a multi-use facility, not only providing a home for the Percys, but also serving as a branch campus for the University of St. Cloud Minnesota, a public tourist attraction, and a filming location. Your children will certainly want to visit for the castle’s connection to the first two Harry Potter films and the castle has several Potter themed events. What’s more, you can visit the adjacent Alnwick Gardens, begun by the current Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy. Tickets are available for the castle, gardens, or both and the castle is open from March until November from 10:30 AM until 5:00 P.M.

6. Hever Castle


Hever Castle was built as a country house during the 13th Century and is most famous as the home of the Boleyn family, whose most famous member, Anne Boleyn, was the second wife of King Henry VIII (which didn’t go well for her, but at least produced the future Queen Elizabeth I). As such, the castle is rich in Tudor history, and though owned by Broadland Properties Limited since 1983, this tourist destination takes full advantage of that history through its Tudor architecture, gardens, and its very own yew maze. Another Tudor tradition in which the castle indulges are jousting tournaments, held daily for the visitors. Hever Castle also puts on a number of other events, from “Knights and Princesses School” to athletic events, and even a homegrown food and crafts fair. The gardens open at 10:00 AM daily, while the castle opens at 12:00 PM and depending on the season, they both close anywhere from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. Tickets are roughly £15.00 for adults and £8.45 for children.

5. Warwick Castle


Warwick Castle on the River Avon is one of the original castles built by William the Conqueror in 1068 to maintain his hold over England. It’s possibly one of the most built-upon of the original Norman castles as the Earls of Warwick added more towers and walls over the centuries. Its last private owners were the Greville family, who took possession in 1604 and sold it to a private leisure company in 1978. The Tussauds Group (owners of the chain of wax museums) transformed it into a tourist attraction that not only features museums dedicated to the castle’s history, but also a performance-style dungeon attraction, trebuchet display, ghost tour, and many other exciting events. Adult tickets online are £18.45 and children cost £16.20. Tickets at the gate are a bit pricier, so always purchase online or check for deals. The castle is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

4. Leeds Castle


Billing itself as “The Loveliest Castle in the World”, a castle has been on the site in Kent since 1119. Since that time, Leeds Castle has been expanded and redeveloped multiple times, first by King Edward I when he took possession in 1278, enhancing its defences and residence, as it became Edward’s favourite place to live. It remained a royal castle for years until it was granted to Sir Anthony St. Leger, then a string of others until Olive, Lady Baille, created the Leeds Castle Charitable Trust on her death, which opened the castle to the public in 1976. Leeds Castle has been the site of several peace talks, including those facilitated by the United States between Egypt and Israel as well as the Northern Ireland peace talks led by Tony Blair. Leeds Castle hosts several festivals during the year, including food festival, flower festival, Christmas Market, and a Fireworks Spectacular. The castle also has more attractions than I can list here, but a quick look at its website will reveal something for everyone. Leeds Castle is open from 10:30 AM to 5:00 or 6:00 PM, depending on the season, and tickets are £24.00 and £16.00 for children.

3. Tower of London


The first of King William I’s castles built to consolidate his power after the Battle of Hastings, the White Tower was finished in 1078 and meant to literally tower over London as an expression of who was in charge now. Since its completion, it has always been a royal palace, though not always used as a residence. For much of the Tower’s history, it was a well-known prison that housed many famous and infamous prisoners from Mary, Queen of Scots to King Edward V and Richard, Duke of York, also known as the “Princes in the Tower”. As such, besides its famous ravens, the Tower is allegedly home to a number of ghosts as well. Additionally, it has a number of exhibits that are worth seeing, including the Crown Jewels, which have been held at the Tower of London since 1303. The Tower is open from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM Tuesday through Saturday and 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM on Sunday and Monday. There isn’t much of a difference between online and gate prices, hovering at around £24 for adults and £11 for children.

2. Dover Castle


Above the White Cliffs, Dover Castle has been a major defensive position for England since the Roman days, but the castle in its current shape was not built until the reign of Henry II. Its role as a protector of England has meant that, in addition to its walls, it has a great military tradition and any number of secrets, including many underground tunnels. The castle has served as a major base of operations in actions ranging from the Napoleonic Wars to World War II. It was even meant to be a base of operations during the Cold War in case nuclear war ever broke out and the government in London was destroyed. Now owned and managed by English Heritage, there are any number of great exhibits dedicated to the castle’s history. The castle is open every day from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM and tickets are free for Heritage members, £18 for adults, and £10.80 for children.

1. Windsor Castle


The largest inhabited castle in the world, Windsor Castle’s keep was built in the 11th Century and later expanded into its Upper and Lower Wards. The oldest surviving buildings date to the 12th Century and the reign of Henry II. Meant to be yet another castle to help the Normans hold power, it started seeing more use as a major location for the royal court during the Tudor era. Today, the Castle is a major tourist destination as well as a residence, and tours include the beautiful St. George’s Chapel and the elegant State Rooms. While open daily from 9:45 AM to 4:15 or 5:15 PM depending on the time of year, since the castle is still a major residence and sees use by the royal family, there are times when it is closed to the public, so it’s best to check the Royal Collection Trust’s website. The price of an adult ticket is £19.20, while children under 17 are £17.50 and children under 5 are free.


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