King's Mill, the nearby crossing on the River Trent, is mentioned in a charter issued by Æthelred the Unready in 1009 regarding the boundaries of Weston-on-Trent. Dunintune or Dunitone is mentioned twice in the Domesday Book of 1086 as having land belonging to Countess Ælfgifu and land assigned to Earl Hugh. It is called Castoldonyngtoin in a duchy of Lancaster warrant of 1484.
In 1278, King Edward I granted a charter for a weekly market and an annual Wakes Fair. The Fair continues in Borough Street for three days each October.
Lace-making was an important industry up until the 1850s, when a sharp decline in the population is recorded. The population did not recover to the same level until a century later, when in 1950 over 3,000 people are recorded as living in the village.
Bondgate, Borough Street and Clapgun Street formed the nucleus of the historic village, with the Castle formerly standing at the eastern end of Borough Street on Castle Hill. It was abandoned and its stone used to build Donington Hall within Donington Park.
The early 1960s local councils from Derby, Nottingham and Leicester were seeking a suitable site to build an airport for the region. The former RAF Castle Donington, to the south of the village, was chosen and land purchased in the parishes of Kegworth, Hemington and Lockington to form an enclosed site now forming East Midlands Airport. The airport opened in 1965 and is now the tenth largest airport in the UK, the second largest in terms of freight and cargo. The airport site is now an important economic center, and a major employer in the area.
Power station, demolished in 1996
Castle Donington Power Station was built in 1958 as one of the largest coal-fired power stations in Europe. It was closed in September 1994 and demolished in 1996.