The secret castle near Coventry with a moat, a ghost and a sunken garden

Did you know there's a castle near Coventry that has its own moat and sunken garden? Maxstoke Castle in Coleshill dates back to the 14th century and has been in the same family for more than 400 years - and it's only a 20-minute drive from Coventry.

It is steeped in history as one of the family's ancestors was executed for trying to overthrow Richard III - and another was charged with high treason by Henry VII and executed on Tower Hill, BirminghamLive reports. It has been forfeited twice to the Crown for attacks to the throne and is rumoured to have a resident ghost.

The manor house has been through a lot from surviving a major fire and being narrowly missed by a cannonball that hit a tree instead. It was formerly used as a 24-bed hospital in the First World War for wounded soldiers before being taken over by the Ministry of Aircraft Production for the storage of aircraft engine components made in Birmingham and Coventry.

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The manor house is usually closed to the public but will be open on Sunday, June 16 for one day to raise funds for local charities. You'll be able to enter the courtyard via the main drawbridge over the moat to view the castle with four towers and a gatehouse. The castle is surrounded by four acres, with the gardens including moat walks and lawns behind a walled structure that dates back to the late 18th century.

Once you enter through the oak doors, there's an elegant banqueting hall, a library, and an oak drawing room with a whispering door recovered from Kenilworth Castle when it was dismantled after the Civil War. The furnishings include a Gunpowder Plot table which belonged to Sir Everard Digby, the first conspirator to be executed after the 1605 plot.

The castle is also said to have a resident ghost of the 'temperamental' wife of Ward Dilke. She reportedly died after falling down the staircase in the Lady Tower in the 17th century. Her portrait is in the library.

Owner Edwina Fetherston-Dilke told BirminghamLive what it's like to look after the site. "Maxstoke Castle is one of the oldest privately owned and continuously inhabited castles in England.

"Luckily there was only ever one cannonball fired at the building and it ended up in a nearby tree! Otherwise, it may not have been in the excellent condition we find it today.

"The castle and its surrounding curtain walls are however made from sandstone, a delicate and porous stone so it requires constant upkeep! We are lucky to have a small and steady team here, including a full-time gardener, all of whom work extremely hard."

When you can visit Maxstoke Castle

A fundraising event is taking place at the castle on Sunday, June 16. All the proceeds will help raise funds for the National Garden Scheme and Countryside Learning. The proceeds will go to Birmingham and Midlands-based schools to help get children out and about to learn more about nature and the environment).

The castle will be open from 11am-5pm, with advance online booking essential via the Maxstoke Castle website. There will be teas and refreshments plus plant and gift stalls on the grounds. No dogs are allowed and unfortunately, the castle is not wheelchair friendly. Tickets cost £11 for adults and £8 for children, and concessions and under eights go free.

Location of Maxstoke Castle

Maxstoke Castle is a 22-minute drive from Coventry via the A45. The postcode is B46 2RD, with parking free on-site.

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