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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

Dramatically located overlooking the village of the same name, Corfe Castle is the atmospheric 1,000-year-old ruin of a former palace and fortress, partially demolished in 1646 by the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War.

Today, the castle is a living history museum, with costumed actors re-living siege conditions, and opportunities to try out weapons and pieces of armour. Kids have their own quiz and trail, while for adults it’s a romantic spot, with spectacular views across the Isle of Purbeck and a number of old-fashioned English pubs just a short stroll away.

While you’re there

If time allows, pair a visit to the castle with a ride on the heritage Swanage Railway, which takes 22 minutes to run from Corfe Castle to Swanage. There are two steam trains a day from April-October, and at weekends during the rest of the year.

Settle in for a pint and a crab sandwich in the Greyhound Inn’s lovely garden in the village of Corfe, with great views over the ruins of the castle. Or try the Castle Inn, a family-run, traditional old inn that is particularly welcoming of families. They specialise in fish and shellfish, and try and source all food within three miles.

Price from: £7
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The nearest train station is Wareham, just over two hours from London Waterloo. From there, take a taxi or the number 40 bus. If you’re driving, there’s paid parking at Castle View, just outside the village on the Corfe Castle to Wareham road.

Before you go, read the nice section on the website about the castle’s history.

There’s a ten-minute ‘wildlife walk’ to the castle from the car park, and a National Trust tearoom on-site, serving up homemade cakes and cream teas.

When to do it

The site is open all year round, seven days a week.

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