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Britain's Favourite Castle
Britain’s favourite castle, but where is it? Photo (cc) Elvis Payne.

UKTV drummed up publicity on the cheap this summer for its History channel by having a vote asking what is Britain’s Best Historic Site. Best for what is never clear. Anyway the results are in and to the surprise of, well no-one, Stonehenge won. HMS Victory and Liverpool Cathedral came behind.

But there are surprises in the list where a high ranking could make a difference. At number four in the list is a castle, but where is it? London, Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast? No it’s Tamworth. To be honest I’d forgotten Tamworth had a castle, but in medieval Britain Tamworth was one of the major cities on the island. For a while it was the capital of Mercia.

It’s easy to be cynical about these sort of votes. Certainly the first draught of this entry was, but when they throw up surprises like this they’re interesting. Tamworth was doing well to outpoll Warwick or Nottingham castles. When you consider that there’s other sites like the Tower of London which are far better known, it shows that Tamworth’s tourism board must have put some major effort into selling the site and impressing its visitors. Despite the claims of Salisbury’s tourism board I can’t believe that winning the vote will improve tourism numbers to Stonehenge, but it gives the list some credibility which rubs off onto the less well-known sites like Tamworth Castle or Erddig.

If you’re looking for a local site to visit in the UK then looking through the sites by region could provide some overlooked gems. Another thing worth looking through would be Elvis Payne’s photos of Tamworth. It’s a brilliant example of someone showing why local doesn’t have be mundane.