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Corfe Castle ruins are one of Britain's most iconic and evocative survivors of the English Civil War, partially demolished in 1646 by the Parliamentarians, they sit proudly upon a hill of this beautiful historical village with the same name.
Discover 1,000 years of its history as a royal palace and fortress. This special place is a favourite haunt for adults and children alike where people are captivated by these romantic ruins that offer breathtaking views across the Purbecks. With fallen walls and secret places, there are tales of treachery and treason around every corner.
Spot the 'murder holes' and count the arrow loops or take part on one of our quests around the ruins. Throughout the year, there are an abundance of events and exciting things to do here for all the family, from watching falconry displays, hunting for clues on the Easter trails or taking part in knight school as part of the medieval village. History comes to life at Corfe Castle where you can step back in time and discover what life might have been like once upon a time
A brief history of a thousand-year-old royal castle shaped by warfare…
The first stone of Corfe Castle was laid more than 1,000 years ago. Since then it’s seen its fair share of battles, mysteries and plots. It’s been a treasury, military garrison, royal residence and family home.
The keep was built in the early 12th century for King Henry I, William the Conqueror’s son. It was designed to be impressive – and it certainly was. Standing 21m tall and on the top of a 55m high hill, this gleaming tower of Purbeck limestone could be seen from miles around.
In the 17th century, as the Civil War raged around it, the castle stood firm. The Bankes family supported King Charles I (Cavaliers) against Oliver Cromwell (Roundheads). Lady Bankes defended it bravely during not just one, but two sieges, until finally she was betrayed by one of her own soldiers.
After six centuries of keeping enemies at bay, an Act of Parliament was passed at Wareham to destroy the castle. Captain Hughes of Lulworth was given the job of demolishing it. His sappers dug deep holes packed with gunpowder to bring the towers and ramparts crashing down, resulting in the yawning gaps and crazy angles we see today.
After a brief period of confiscation, the castle was handed back to the Bankes family and remained in their ownership for three and a half centuries. In 1982 Ralph Bankes gave it to the National Trust along with the family's extensive holdings in Purbeck, their mansion at Kingston Lacy near Wimborne and its adjoining land. The Bankes estate was one of the most generous gifts in the Trust's history.
Corfe Castle has a National Trust shop, 18th century tea rooms with garden and visitor centre which is open daily from 10:00am.
School group tours are available - contact firstname.lastname@example.org
|Open New Year|
|Winter Opening (1 January 2021 - 14 February 2021)|
|Monday - Sunday||10:00||- 16:00*|
|Spring Opening (15 February 2021 - 3 April 2021)|
|Monday - Sunday||10:00||- 17:00*|
|Summer Opening (4 April 2021 - 2 September 2021)|
|Monday - Sunday||10:00||- 16:30*|
|Autumn Opening (3 September 2021 - 1 November 2021)|
|Monday - Sunday||10:00||- 17:00*|
|Winter Opening (2 November 2021 - 31 December 2021)|
|Monday - Sunday||10:00||- 16:00*|
|Ticket Type||Ticket Tariff|
|Adult||£10.00 per ticket|
|Child||£5.00 per ticket|
|Family||£25.00 per ticket|
|Family - 1 adult||£15.00 per ticket|
Pre-booking tickets is required.
Under 5s: free. Child price applies for 5-17 year olds (inclusive).
Family ticket admits two adults plus up to three children for the price of two adults plus one child. One adult family ticket admits one adult plus up to three children for the price of one adult plus one child.
The nearest major road is the A351 - follow the road from Wareham towards Swanage for approximately 5 miles.
There is a National Trust car and coach park (free to members) on the edge of the village which is a half mile walk around the base of the Castle to the Castle entrance.
Cars can also park at Corfe Castle West Street car park - follow signs to the Village Centre and Castle.
Alternatively, cars and coaches can park at Norden Car Park (just off the A351) and enjoy a pleasant walk into Corfe Castle village (1 mile) or catch the steam train to Corfe Castle railway station.
FROM THE WEST: the nearest mainline railway station is Wareham (on the London Waterloo to Weymouth line). Transfer to the number 40 bus to Castle View Visitor Centre bus stop, Corfe Castle.
FROM THE EAST: catch a train to Bournemouth Railway Station, transfer to the number 50 bus to Swanage, then transfer again to the number 30 or 40 bus to Castle View Visitor Centre bus stop, Corfe Castle. Alternatively, at times when the Swanage Railway is running, catch a train from Swanage to Corfe Castle. Tel: 01929 425800 or visit their website: www.swanagerailway.co.uk.
JOURNEY PLANNING: Contact Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit their website: www.travelinesw.com to look up bus timetables. From 1st January 2019, calls cost 12p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.
TRAVEL DISCOUNT: Present your valid bus or train ticket when entering the Castle for a redeemable voucher for the National Trust cafe or shop.
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