In Hertfordshire you'll immediately sense a deep history, evident from the ruined abbeys and castles that dot the landscape, the ancient towns like St. Albans and artefacts in countless museums. The Romans were here over two millennia ago, but perhaps the most pivotal year in English history was 1066, when the Normans arrived. They immediately built a huge number of 'Motte and Bailey' castles to control the understandably disgruntled natives!
Most of these were later replaced by stone fortresses and others were quickly absorbed back into the landscape, so it's rare to find even the remains of any of them. However, the Mountfitchet Castle open-air museum allows visitors to see what these transient fortifications were like, and it makes a good destination for a day's excursion from a nearby Hertfordshire hotel if you're based in the area.
Hertfordshire Hotels for Mountfitchet Castle Open-Air Museum
This fascinating museum is a reconstruction of a 900-year-old Motte and Bailey castle from the early years of the Norman Conquest. It also has a reconstructed village of the time behind its walls, just as it would have been almost a millennium ago. Visitors can wander around the thatched houses and get a real feel for what it must have been like for Norman settlers at the time, vulnerable to guerrilla attacks from the locals, and seeking to impose their will on their new kingdom by brute force.
Mountfitchet Castle from Hertfordshire Hotels
The Norman castle and its associated village have been reconstructed on the site of an original Motte and Bailey castle of the time, making it a unique example of its kind. Complete with smouldering log fires and many other authentic touches, it's an educational experience as well as a lot of fun. Come along to Mountfitchet Castle with the family and you'll experience not just another empty ruin but a living site full of atmosphere, designed down to the last detail based on contemporary accounts and information from archaeological digs. From your base in a Hertfordshire hotel it makes the perfect daytime outing, and the surrounding parkland with fallow deer is also worth a visit.