If you're looking for something different to do, why not try something historical?

You may not have realised that there are so many ancient ruins and castles within an hour's drive of Chester - all of them with a fascinating story behind them.

We've put together 10 of the best castles in Cheshire and North Wales, and even a few further afield if you're willing to go for a bit more of a drive.

Chester Castle

Chester Castle

Let's start with the closest one of the lot! In fact, many of you won't even need to climb into a car to visit this one.

Our very own Chester Castle stands overlooking the River Dee, bounded by the city walls.

In the castle complex are the remaining parts of the medieval castle with the neoclassical buildings designed by Thomas Harrison which were built between 1788 and 1813.

Parts of the neoclassical buildings are used today as Crown Courts and as a military museum, while the museum and the medieval remains are a tourist attraction

Chirk Castle

Approx 34-minute drive from Chester

The elegant staterooms at Chirk Castle inside combine elaborate plasterwork with a medieval tower, a dungeon and an 18th century Servants’ Hall. You can enjoy an uplifting wander through the garden, terrace, pavilion and parkland enclosing this gem.

Beeston Castle

Approx 25-minute drive from Chester

Beeston Castle

Another sight for sore eyes on our doorstep.

Built in the 1220s by Ranulf de Blondeville, the 6th Earl of Chester on his return from the Crusades, the castle was kept in good repair until the 16th century when it was considered to be of no further military use, although it was pressed into service again in 1643, during the English Civil War.

The castle was partly demolished in 1646, in accordance with Cromwell's destruction order, to prevent its further use as a stronghold and remains in ruins but the walls of the outer bailey, and the walls and gatehouse of the inner bailey are separately recorded in the National Heritage List for England as Grade I listed buildings.

Bodelwyddan Castle

Approx 40-minute drive from Chester

Bodelwyddan Castle

This elegant Victorian castle also features a museum and portrait gallery, gardens, play areas and ample opportunities for woodland walks.

There are also collections from three national museums, exhibitions, events, extensive grounds, interactive exhibits, Victorian toys and games room, house quiz and free audio guide.

Cholmondeley Castle

Approx 30-minute drive from Chester

Cholmondeley Castle

This has been a seat of the Cholmondeley family since the 12th century and the present house replaced a timber-framed hall not far away.

The house itself is a private residence and isn't open to visitors, but during the summer season you can visit the large gardens and grounds. The annual motorsport festival Cholmondeley Power and Speed (formerly Pageant of Power) is held here every June.

Peckforton Castle

Approx 30-minute drive from Chester

Peckforton Castle is a popular hotel and wedding venue built in the style of a medieval castle, and we're lucky to have it right on our doorstep.

Built in the middle of the 19th century, the building has not been used as a family residence since 1939.

In 2006 the castle was bought by the Naylor family, who expanded its use from a hotel to include weddings, conferences, and other functions. Visitors can also take part in archery, falconry and air rifle shooting experiences at Peckforton.

Rhuddlan Castle

Approx 40-minute drive from Chester

Rhuddlan Castle, Rhyl

Rhuddlan was built as one of the ‘iron ring’ of fortresses by the English monarch Edward I, in his late 13th-century campaigns against the Welsh.

Its massive twin-towered west gatehouse - heralding the inner core of a characteristic concentric ‘walls within walls’ system of defences - immediately catches your eye. And the remains of a defended river gate can still be seen in the outer ring of walls, overlooked by the towers of the powerful-shaped inner ward.

Bolesworth Castle

Approx 20-minute drive from Chester

Bolesworth Castle

A traditional country estate owned by the Barbour family since 1856, Bolesworth, in Tattenhall puts on events throughout the year such as the Bolesworth International Horse Show , and has a range of residential property available to let.

Conwy Castle

Approx 50 minutes from Chester

Conwy Castle

This gritty, dark-stoned fortress has the rare ability to evoke an authentic medieval atmosphere. The first time that visitors catch sight of the castle, they know that they are in the presence of a site which still casts a powerful spell.

Denbigh Castle

Approx 45 minute drive from Chester

Denbigh Castle was a fortress built following the 13th-century conquest of Wales by Edward I. The castle, which stands on a rocky promontory above the Welsh market town of Denbigh, was built upon an earlier Welsh stronghold.

And if you don't mind travelling a little bit further...

Caernarfon Castle

Approx 1hr 20 minute-drive from Chester

Edward I wasn’t messing about when he built this polygonal 13th century castle on a former Roman fort.

Caernarfon Castle is one of the most beautiful sights to be seen, and its landmark exhibition rooms are also something to be seen.

Clitheroe Castle

Approx 1hr 22-minute drive from Chester

Clitheroe Castle is a motte-and-bailey castle which was first built sometime in the 11th or 12th century. Consisting of one of the smallest keeps in the country, at one time this castle was surrounded by a curtain wall.

It was anciently the seat of the Lords of Bowland.

Mow Cop Castle

Approx 1 hour 10-minute drive from Chester

Mow Cop Castle is a folly at Mow Cop in the civil parish of Odd Rode, near Stoke-on-Trent.

In 1754, Randle Wilbraham of nearby Rode Hall built an elaborate summerhouse looking like a medieval fortress and round tower.

The Castle was given to the National Trust in 1937.

Which is your favourite castle? Let us know in the comments below