The Story of Oakham Castle
The Great Hall of Oakham Castle is the finest surviving example of Norman domestic architecture in Europe. It was built between 1180 and 1190. The surviving structure is the impressive Great Hall of the Castle, where banquets and courts would have been held.
Rutland County Council bid for a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant and in 2014 Oakham Castle was awarded £2.1 Million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Following extensive refurbishment works, the Castle re-opened to the public on 30th May 2016, and is now open 5 days a week with improved facilities offering an interactive and comprehensive guide to its 800 year history.
There is a varied programme of events for adults and children alike, as well as daily activities for children. There is plenty for schools to do, too, from informal visits to full day sessions.
We also are a stunning wedding venue and can seat up to 80 guests.
The Great Hall is famed for its for its unique collection of over 230 ornate ceremonial horseshoes donated by Peers of the Realm (Royalty and nobility such as Dukes, Marquis’, Earls, Viscounts, Barons and Bishops). The exact origin of this custom is lost to the mists of time, but it continues to this day. Our oldest surviving horseshoe was given to the Castle by Edward IV in 1470. Every one of the horseshoes has a story for you to discover.
The Hall is also decorated with a range of 12th century sculptures both inside and out. Above the six amazingly well preserved columns are six musicians, each one playing a different instrument. They are made of local stone from Clipsham and although damaged, are of superb quality. Evidence suggests that they were carved by masons who had worked at Canterbury Cathedral.
The Rutland Heritage Shop at Oakham Castle
Oakham Castle also has a small gift shop with a host of souvenirs and gifts to suit any taste and budget. Unique gifts featuring local landmarks and scenes around Rutland, to retro games and more. There are Local History books and a detailed guide of Oakham Castle, toys and of course our children's guide with puzzles and quizzes galore.
We also have...
The Rutland Heritage shop at Rutland County Museum.
Again this has a great range of quality educational toys unique to Oakham, beautiful artisan gifts, and pocket money souvenirs.
We carefully picked items which reflects the Rutland County Museum including tractors and farming themed items, dino/fossil excavation kits, construction and brick sets, fidget and traditional toys, outdoor activity maps and guides, puzzles and more…
We are able to offer something to suit all tastes and ages. Perfect as a present or lovely as a treat.
The shop has great traditional toys inspired by the display cases in the museum like wooden cup and ball, spinning tops & pop guns that never fail to interest little hands. We showcase beautiful and unique items from local producers and have an extensive collection of cards including many by local artists.
Postage Stamps, gift vouchers and ticket bookings can also be purchased at both venues.
Oakham Castle has a long and Illustrious history which takes you to the heart of some of the most important events in Britains history. For a timeline of the Castle you can Click Here
You can find details about our latest community archaeological dig here at Oakham Castle by clicking on the link below.