Corfe Castle National Trust Dorset

Corfe Castle National Trust Dorset

Corfe Castle is one of those places that you know about, drive past a lot (for anyone who visits or lives in Dorset), think about popping into, but you never get round to it.  My friends’ family live locally and we often go and visit them in the summer and school holidays so we MUST go in soon. It is situated a few miles from Swanage so if you are only “day tripping” explore the castle grounds, and then pop on to the steam railway at Corfe and then travel to Swanage.

Historically its one of the most iconic and evocative survivors of the English Civil War, partially demolished in 1646 by the Parliamentarians. It is really popular for adults and children alike, which is demonstrated in how busy the village gets that it surrounds.  Even if you don’t venture into the castle the walks around the surrounding area are beautiful. There are fallen walls and secret places, tales of treachery and treason and even a spot of ‘murder holes’ and count the arrow loops.

For families they have baby-changing facilities, and they allow pushchairs  (however the people who had these seemed to have to carry them over the uneven paths)and baby back-carriers admitted.  There are family and children’s guides, children’s quiz/trail and school holiday activities including family treasure trails. Finally, there is a playground in Corfe village (not National Trust)

Review (by Vic from February 2019 visit)

We were really excited about visiting Corfe Castle as we have never been around the site, solely just driven through the village.  We decided to get the steam train from Swanage which means when you arrive at Corfe its only a few minutes walk to the castle.  (Have a look at our review on the Swanage Steam Railway if you are interested).  If you have driven there are several car parks on the approach to the village which again do not require too much walking.  Outside the venue I couldn’t see any direct available parking or disabled car spaces (but this might be worth checking with the venue).

The castle itself dates back to the 10th Century and has a vast amount of history regarding its owners and occupiers over the centuries.  We went during February half term and the trust had several activities for families and children to become involved with such as; knight costumes, zip wiring teddy bears from the castle and watching trebuchet re-enactments. From the posters dotted about the venue it is clear to see they have numerous events throughout the year that people can get involved with.

We had a great time exploring the castle and grounds, and we lasted about an hour (including the picnic stop).  However, my daughter and our friends kids managed longer and got more involved in the activities that were on offer.  Its pretty tricky to navigate the castle with a buggy, and if you are a wheelchair user you can enter the grounds of the castle but the paths are all uneven which would prevent you from exploring the castle in full.  They have a disabled toilet which you need a radar key to use (you can ask for one from the reception) and baby changing toilets at the entrance.  There is a tea room directly next door which serves cakes, sandwiches and drinks, which also has an enclosed garden area to sit in with views of the castle.  Within the village itself there is a National Trust shop, a few bakeries, sweet shop and plenty of places to grab an ice cream in the village (and several pubs which I know my Dad would be sat in!).

We went on a sunny February half term day and it was busy, so I can imagine in the summer months it gets very hectic, so bear that in mind.  Overall, a lovely National Trust venue and if you can manage to climb up to the to higher parts of the castle you get some spectacular views of Dorset.