The UK has more than 800 castles, most of which have at least one wall still standing, a flight of stairs leading nowhere, part of a dungeon and a volunteer guide who can describe a gardyloo, crenellations and bascules.

Probably the best known castles are Windsor Castle, which the Queen uses to get into Ascot racecourse without paying, Leeds Castle, which was moved to Kent to make it more accessible to people in Maidstone, and Barnard Castle, which has served as a secret retreat for government advisers for almost six months.

Around two-thirds of castles are reputed to be haunted, with recorded sightings including the White Pantry Ghost at Chillingham, a cruel 17th century baker who was suffocated by his disgruntled apprentices by being held upside down in a barrel of flour; the Deer Humper, a 19th century gamekeeper at Berry Pomeroy in Devon, who was said to take an active part in the annual rut and was gored to death by a stag while inappropriately attached to a hind; and the Scrample Lollipop, at Fyvie in Scotland, a former school crossing patrol lady who was run over by a horse and cart transporting tartan silage to the nearby town of Turriff.

Despite not having any ghosts or mediaeval accoutrements, Castles Home Hardware in Christchurch, Dorset is one of the top destinations for pensioners, and is regularly voted the UK’s best place for DIY, home hardware and stuff-you-didn’t-think-anyone-sold-any-more.