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Pendennis Castle

Visited May 2014

Location Falmouth, Cornwall
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby Yes-Falmouth
Parking Yes
Facilities Café, Gift Shop, Toilets

Pendennis Castle, in Falmouth, is a very large site, with buildings from many different eras, including a Henry VIII coastal fort, Elizabethan ramparts and defences added during WWII.






The day we visited Pendennis Castle it was absolutely hammering down with rain, the whole of Cornwall seemed to also be there and there was a wedding taking place in the keep, so it was closed off for at least half of our visit, so we possibly did not see all of the buildings on the site due to all of this. We are  fairly intrepid castle explorers but a morning of unrelenting rain had left our spirits dampened and, crucially, fairly large puddles, akin to small lakes, around many areas of the site. I would advise wellies in these conditions, as some of the paths are grass only and quickly turn to mud in wet weather.


Having said that, the plus point to this castle is the sheer scale of it, and the amount of buildings available to view. The main part of the castle is the Henry VIII keep, built to defend the port of Falmouth at the time when the Spanish invasion was a real threat. Together with St Mawes Castle, the castle guarded the entrance to the river Fal.


The keep was designed as an artillery fortress, but also included accommodation  and an officers mess. There are signs of the attempts to make the building more comfortable for residential use, such as the pretty round windows, and also some decorative features as in the gargoyles and the Tudor coat of arms.  Inside the castle has been furnished as it would have been when used as accommodation, with a dining area and bedroom. There were also gun rooms on the ground and first floors, and a roof gun platform, all of which can be visited.






Also on the site are the barracks, sergeants mess and storehouse. The barracks is set out as it would have been when still in use, and there are some interactive parts of the exhibition which the children enjoyed.  The area in front of the barracks was used as the parade ground, although at various times in the castles history there would  also have been temporary buildings in the space so it would not have been quite such a large area.






There is also the half moon battery to view, with an interesting camouflage painted gunhouse with a selection on guns on display. Built in 1793, and last used during WWII, it is reached via some tunnels situated to the south of the Tudor castle. From here you can also see Little Dennis, a small blockhouse, which actually pre-dates the castle. It is a short walk down to the blockhouse, but we did not go due to extreme wetness.


There is a café in the barracks building, and a gift shop and toilets near to the entrance. The car park is quite large, but if you are parked at the end furthest from the castle it is a few minutes walk, this was only really an issue to us because of the rain, we just wanted to get into the dry as quickly as possible.  There is certainly a lot to see here, and plenty of green space and sea views once inside the site.  You can see St Mawes Castle across the estuary, and there are boats which operate between the two castles if you want to visit both on the same day!!







More info: English Heritage Pendennis Castle

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