Old Gorhambury House
Old Gorhambury House, lies west of the city of St Albans in the county of Hertfordshire in England.
The first building at this site was a medieval manor owned by the St Albans Abbey and was the home of the Gorham family. After the Dissolution it was bought by Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal and one of Queen Elizabeth I's most important councillors.
In the 1560's Sir Nicholas, a prolific builder, spent 5 years replacing the Gorham's old home with the house whose ruins we see today.
When Queen Elizabeth visited in 1572 she is reputed to have remarked, 'My Lord, what a little house have you gotten', to which Bacon smoothly replied, 'Madam, my house is well, but it is you that have made me too great for my house'. Nevertheless, Sir Nicholas built a galleried extension to create a better impression for her second visit in 1577. Queen Elizabeth stayed at Gorhambury on at least 4 occasions.
Old Gorhambury eventually passed to Sir Nicholas's son, Sir Francis Bacon, the celebrated philosopher and Chancellor to James I. Sir Francis further extended the house and created a water garden with a Roman-style banqueting house as its centerpiece.
The house was extensively repaired in the 1670's by Sir Harbottle Grimston but had been allowed to fall into disrepair by the next century; it was replaced in 1784 by the present Gorhambury House.
What remains of Old Gorhambury House at present are the ornate porch, parts of the hall and chapel. Further foundations may survive below ground in the fields to the east and south of the ruins.
So, okay, this is not a 'real' castle but I've seen similar structures that were called a castle and I liked its appearance. It's owned by English Heritage and freely accessible.