Best Castles In Cornwall

James

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James

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Cornwall has several attractions that lure visitors from all around the world to visit this county. 

Among those attractions, the stunning Cornwall castles have stood the test of time for centuries now. Their rich heritage, interesting history, and fascinating legends make them a must-visit for anyone who sets foot in the county of Cornwall. Architecture enthusiasts also love visiting the stunning castles in Cornwall to appreciate the intricate details of their exteriors and interiors.

In this blog post, we will look at the top 12 castles in Cornwall that you should visit during your stay in the county. Let us begin!

12 Best Castles In Cornwall

1. Camelot Castle Hotel

Situated on the rugged cliffs of Tintagel, the Camelot Castle Hotel is one of the most enchanting destinations in Cornwall. While technically it is not a traditional castle, the appearance of the Camelot Castle Hotel closely resembles one and offers visitors a stunning view of the coastline. 

This castle-hotel was built during the 19th century and boasts intricate architectural details on its exteriors and interiors. The grand halls and decorative artefacts of the interiors of this hotel make it an elegant accommodation. 

Visitors can do several activities during their stay at this castle hotel. For instance, you can take a stroll in the art gallery, which features beautiful artworks created by the local artists of the county. You can also sit in the beautiful gardens and sip your tea to relax and soak in the serenity of this castle which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.  

TripAdvisor

2. Thornbury Castle

As the name suggests, Thornbury Castle is located near the town of Thornbury. It is a beautiful Tudor castle that was built during the 16th century. Tourists who visit this castle can gain a deep insight into the abundant life of the royals during the Tudor era, which is why it is popular amongst history enthusiasts. 

Several features, such as the grand gatehouse and towers of Thornbury Castle, help it depict the English heritage beautifully. Further, it is considered one of the most beautiful Cornish castles for its impressive architecture. Both history enthusiasts and people who seek a luxurious experience on their trips like to visit this castle and take a peaceful stroll over its grounds. Apart from its impressive structure, one of the best parts about Thornbury Castle is the afternoon tea. The staff serves delicious tea at noon, and visitors can enjoy it in the elegant surroundings.

Wikipedia

3. Tregenna Castle

The Tregenna Castle is located on a hilltop and overlooks the town of St. Ives. It is a Victorian castle and is surrounded by several gardens and grounds. The construction of this castle dates back to the 18th century and has now been transformed into a luxury hotel.  

Since this castle is located at an elevated spot, one can enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of St. Ives and the Atlantic Ocean. People are offered several facilities in this famous castle, such as access to a swimming pool, golf course, and tennis courts. 

The Tregenna Castle is the perfect blend of rich English heritage history and modern facilities, which is why it is a popular site today. Further, this castle is located close to several beaches. Hence, people can visit their favourite sandy beach whenever they want to without travelling too much.  

TripAdvisor

4. Pendennis Castle

The Pendennis Castle is located on a headland in Falmouth and is best known for playing a vital role in defending the coast of Cornwall in the past. King Henry VIII built this historic fortress during the 16th century, which boasts intricate Tudor architecture. 

Pendennis Castle offers visitors a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area, and visitors can explore its ramparts as they walk through it. Further, people can also walk along the battlements and sit through informative plays that offer a deep insight into the history of the castle. 

This beautiful castle is also known for its annual events, including reenactments of its ancient history and guided tours. The impressive mediaeval fortification of Pendennis Castle also makes it one of the best castles in Cornwall worth visiting. 

Wikipedia

5. Caerhays Castle

Caerhays Castle is located on Roseland Peninsula and is a stunning representation of the Gothic Revival Architecture of the 19th century. This castle has beautiful gardens and woodlands around it and overlooks scenic views such as Porthluney Cove and the sea. 

It was built during the early 1800s and is best known for featuring intricately detailed architecture. The turrets, battlements, and ornate interiors of this castle are mesmerising – and certainly a treat for every architecture enthusiast.

The gardens of the Caerhays Castle are also a unique component since they boast a wide variety of flowers and plants. Visitors can either take leisure walks while exploring the castle or enjoy a serene picnic in its garden. You can also find a collection of camellias in the garden of this Cornish castle. 

Wikipedia

6. St. Catherine’s Castle

St. Catherine’s Castle is located near Fowey in Cornwall and is a small fortress built during the 16th century. It once acted as a part of the coastal defence system of the region. But today, its strategic position on the cliffs works to offer visitors a panoramic view of the estuary and the town! 

The structure of St. Catherine’s Castle includes thick stone walls, narrow passages, and several vantage points through which soldiers kept an eye on enemy ships. It is one of the best castles in Cornwall that help visitors to dive deep into the rich English heritage and history of the region. People also like to imagine the battles that were witnessed by the walls of the St. Catherine’s Castle ruins as they explore the historical wonder. 

Although this castle is not huge in terms of size, it is still considered a worthy visit by people who like appreciating the architecture and history of counties like Cornwall. It was also built by King Henry VIII, and the ancient ruins of this castle are visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. 

Wikipedia

7. St. Mawes Castle

St. Mawes Castle is situated on the eastern bank of the Fal Estuary in Cornwall. This imposing artillery fortress was designed to protect the region against potential invasions. Yet again, this castle was built by King Henry VIII too during the 16th century. 

The shape of St. Mawes Castle is cloverleaf for an innovative style of coverage and increased chances of crossfire. Visitors can explore the walls, bastions, and central courtyard of the castle since they are well-preserved. In the interiors, deep insights into the history of the castle are displayed. You can also take a look at the various kinds of weapons used during the battles of St. Mawes Castle. 

St. Mawes Castle perfectly represents the engineering expertise and military significance of the era in which it was built. However, if you don’t want to spend the entire day exploring the history and defence systems of St. Mawes Castle, you can head over to its battlements and admire the view. The river and surrounding coastal landscapes are a beautiful sight to look at!

Wikipedia

8. Tintagel Castle

The Tintagel Castle is situated on the top of the rugged cliffs of Tintagel Island. It is considered one of the most legendary castles in Cornwall and is associated with the tales of King Arthur. People also talk about this castle in the context of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table.

Tintagel Castle is the oldest castle in Cornwall and was built during the 13th century. Experts believe the history of this castle dates back to the Roman period. This castle is a beautiful site to enjoy the stunning views of the region from the castle and learn about ancient mythology simultaneously. 

While exploring Tintagel Castle, you may choose to walk through the atmospheric ruins and cross the iconic footbridge of the castle. You can also explore the remnants of its Great Hall and other stunning structures. People who like Arthurian legends should consider visiting the Tintagel Castle at least once!

English Heritage

9. Launceston Castle

As the name suggests, Launceston Castle is located in the beautiful town of Launceston. It is a Norman fortress with a history that dates back more than a thousand years and was probably built by Robert the Count of Mortain. This castle was built after the success of the Norman Conquest and acted as a strategic stronghold to control the entrance to Cornwall. 

While exploring Launceston Castle, you can appreciate its beautiful architecture and watch the view of the stunning countryside. You can also climb the battlements to get a deeper insight into the history of the castle. 

The keep of the castle – known as the Great Keep – helps people understand the mediaeval way of life via different kinds of displays and exhibits. Launceston Castle is one of the prettiest castles in the Cornish countryside and is a worthy visit for history enthusiasts.

English Heritage

10. Restormel Castle

Restormel Castle is a famous mediaeval fortress in the countryside near Lostwithiel. Built during the 13th century, probably by King Edmund, it is perched on a hill and overlooks the serene River Fowey. It is well-preserved and is surrounded by a picturesque setting. 

Visitors who enjoy architecture and the defence system of the English heritage like exploring various parts of Restormel Castle. These include the circular design of this castle which features a Central Courtyard and a circular tower – depicting its unique defence system.

You can also explore the stone walls of the castle or climb up the tower to enjoy the scenic views of the castle grounds. The charm of Restormel Castle lies in its beautiful architecture that helps visitors from around the world to dive into the mediaeval era of the present-day county.

English Heritage

11. St. Michael’s Mount

St. Michael’s Mount is situated off the Cornish coast near Marazion. This iconic site is famous for its rich history and folklore. The construction of this mediaeval castle is believed to have begun during the year 1135, and you can reach there by boat on a low-tide day.

Since St. Michael’s Mount is perched on top of an island, it is natural that the panoramic views people can see from it are stunning. You can peep through the windows or climb up the floors to easily see the serene coastline and the surrounding sea. 

While exploring St. Michael’s Mount, you can also go inside the rooms of the castle to understand more about the architecture of the era when it was built. Most rooms boast a Georgian and mediaeval style of architecture in St. Michael’s Mount.

The Times

12. Doyden Castle 

Located in North Cornwall near Port Quin, Doyden Castle is one of the most remarkable follies situated on the cliffside. It was built during the mid-19th century and was traditionally used as a summerhouse and, sometimes, a retreat.

While it is true that Doyden Castle does not fit the traditional definition of a castle, it fits the role well today. The unique circular design of this miniature castle includes pointed turrets and a commanding position to access stunning views of the rugged coastline. The exterior and interior of this castle are quite fairytale-like and act as a romantic retreat, which is why it is still considered a castle. 

At present, Doyden Castle serves as a rental property for people who wish to stay in a castle-like accommodation during their holidays. The impressive design and architecture of this castle also make it a worthy addition to the list of the best castles in Cornwall.

National Trust

Conclusion

Whether you are visiting a tidal island or any private residence, it is not unusual to want to visit the hidden gems that are Cornwall’s castles. From King Arthur’s castle to Iron Age Hill Fort and Chun Castle, you can choose to visit any site that tempts you. 

The top 12 options mentioned above are popular tourist attractions, people visit the county from all around the world to see a historic building. Choose one or more to explore on your day off

About The Author


James

Reviewed by

James

James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.