Its a wonderful unexpected castle that pops into view as you speed northwards along the A66.
English Heritage is in charge. But there is very little presence of wardens, guides or such like.
You just turn up, pay the entrance fee and explore the grand ruins.
The castle was founded by Robert de Vieuxpont in the C13th and passed by marriage by the end of the century into The Clifford family, who also owned Brough, Skipton, and Appleby Castles.
Our most famous feminist, Lady Anne Clifford, eventually gained her rightful inheritance in the C17th and started a massive scheme of restoration and philanthropic development of castles, estates and churches. All along the route of her mid and later life wanderings between her estates in Westmorland and Yorkshire.
There are interpretation boards dotted around the castle and keep, but really basic so your not overloaded with information. The tiny shop has some good local history booklets , ice cream and a coffee machine.
So fetch a picnic, keep a eye on the children as they climb the hundreds of steps up the towers and relish the views of your domain right up the Eden Valley.