Cornwall castles

Cornwall has many castles to visit and admire. From Celtic battlements to Tudor edifices, this maritime county has a variety of fortified buildings to explore, learn about and admire.

St Michael's Mount

st-michaels-mountlocation: Marazion, TR17 0EF 

Stroll across the causeway where a legendary giant once walked. Follow the footsteps of pilgrims. Boat hop to an island where modern life meets layers of history. Discover a medieval castle, a sub-tropical paradise and a close-knit island community. Delve into the history of a fortress, a priory, a harbour and a home. Stray from the mainland on foot or by boat and get up close to the beguiling beauty of the castle-topped isle standing proud in Mount’s Bay. Come ashore for a family outing, a tour of the castle or a garden visit.

Launceston Castle

Launceston Castlelocation: Launceston, PL15 7DR

Set on a large natural mound, Launceston Castle dominates the surrounding landscape. Begun soon after the Norman Conquest, its focus is an unusual keep consisting of a 13th-century round tower built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, inside an earlier circular shell-keep. The tower top is now reached via a dark internal staircase. The castle long remained a prison and George Fox, founder of the Quakers, suffered harsh confinement here in 1656. A display traces 1,000 years of history, with finds from site excavations.

Caerhays Castle

caerhayslocaton: Caerhays, PL26 6LY

1979's TV adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's 'Rebecca' was filmed here, and the book's 'Manderley' is actually a private house called 'Menabilly', a little way up the valley from the cove. Cornwall hosts an extremely popular Du Maurier Festival every year in the middle of May. The gardens are the result of the generations of hard work and expertise of the Williams family, who helped fund some of the original plant-hunters' expeditions. The privately-owned beaches are fantastic, there's ample parking, safe waters and starting points for some lovely clifftop walks, too.

Restormel Castle

Restormel castlelocation: Lostwithiel, PL22 0EE

The castle, originally built by the Normans on a spur, overlooking the river valley, stands proudly one mile upriver from Lostwithiel. You can still make out the ruins of Restormel's keep, gate and Great Hall, and even the kitchens and private rooms. They were built around 1100, making Restormel one of the oldest and best preserved Norman motte-and-bailey castles in Cornwall. The Castle still belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall. The views over the valley from the top of the castle wall are magnificent.

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castlelocation: Titagel, PL34 OHE

Tintagel Castle is famous for its association with the legend of King Arthur, who was said to be born on Tintagel Island where the remains of the 13th century Castle stand today. With its spectacular location on one of England's most dramatic coastlines, it is an awe-inspiring place to visit and soak up the atmosphere generated by the dramatic views and wonderful legends. Tintagel Castle is set on a dramatic and picturesque headland that is virtually an island, connected to the mainland by a slim finger of land. Over the centuries much of Tintagel castle has fallen into the sea and very little remains today.

Pendennis Castle

pendennis-castlelocation: Falmouth, TR11 4LP Pendennis Castle has defended the anchorage of the Carrick Roads for over 450 years. Today you re-visit the castle's history from Tudor times to the re-fortification in both world wars. Along with a museum and discovery centre are displays of coastal defence armament and access to the former secret installations. The castle has a Discovery Centre, which allows visitors to explore the fascinating history of the castle, complete with interactive displays and activities, including an exhibit on Tudor battles.

St Mawes Castle

Exif_JPEG_PICTURElocation: St Mawes, TR2 5DE

The dramatic Cornish coastline around St Mawes was used as the setting for the popular television series Poldark. The impressive St Mawes Castle, built between 1539 and 1545 just adds to the drama of this evocative landscape. From the castle at St Mawes there are fine views across the estuary towards Falmouth and Pendennis Castle, and of the pretty fishing village of St Mawes itself with its little boat-filled harbour, the passenger ferry tracking across the Fal, and the splendid coastline. St Mawes is also the start of some delightful walks along the coastal path.