On a clifftop site near Watchet is a 9th-century earthwork castle built by Alfred the Great to protect against Viking raiders. Daws Castle was an important Saxon fortress with its own mint. Only traces of earthwork banks can be seen today but the coastal location is superb. B3191, Watchet, Somerset, England, TA23 0JP
The 13th-century gatehouse is all that remains of the original castle overlooking the picture-postcard village of Dunster. The medieval castle was gradually renovated as a stately home in the 17th and 19th centuries. The castle offers wonderful views west towards Exmoor and north to the Bristol Channel. Dunster, Minehead, Somerset, England, TA24 6SL
Begun (illegally) by Sir Thomas Hungerford in 1370 as a simple rectangular building and curtain wall. Sir Walter Hungerford, Thomas' son, added an outer court and dry ditches in 1420. In 1518 Agnes Hungerford had her husband strangled and burned in the kitchen furnace. Ouch! Farleigh Hungerford, Somerset, England, BA2 7RS
A picture-perfect moated medieval castle begun by Sir John de la Mare in 1373. Four corner turrets punctuate rectangular walls topped with machicolations. Beseiged in the Civil War and slighted by Parliament. Castle Street, Nunney, Frome, Somerset, England, BA11 4LW
Stogursey Castle is a picturesque moated castle begun in the 12th century. The castle once hosted King John, but the king later besieged it. Stogursey was owned by two Tudor queens and withstood a brief siege during the Wars of the Roses. Castle Street, Stogursey, Somerset, England, TA5 1TG
The George at Nunney has nine guest rooms, including the romantic four-poster Trafalgar Suite. Rated 3*** by the English Tourism Council, this is the ideal bed and breakfast hotel near Longleat Safari Park, Bath and Frome for exploring the West Country.