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St Mawes Castle

Visited May 2014

Location St Mawes, Cornwall
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes
Facilities Toilets, Gift Shop


St Mawes is a pretty coastal village, with a pretty coastal castle. It was built by Henry VIII to guard Falmouth against invasion, along with  Pendennis Castle, its sister castle just along the coast.






Built in the typical Tudor style, the castle has a central circular tower, with three semi-circular towers , arranged to look rather like a clover leaf. Although predominantly built for guns with defence in mind, it also has some fine carvings and decorative features which belie the military use of the castle (as demonstrated by the final set of photos below)





It really would be fair to say that guns are the main theme here, with cannons situated all over the castle. There are some wax models of gunners in the lower bastion, which the children found spooky at first, as they were convinced they were moving! Imaginations obviously run wild in a military fortification! Personally I thought the models looked as though they were tipsy, and one was definitely sleeping off a hangover, so I suppose my imagination is just as bad!





Having visited several Henrician coastal forts, St Mawes is in my opinion the most picturesque. The actual castle is gracefully built with the round bastions in perfect symmetry. The site is also situated in a beautiful position looking out over the estuary with lovely grounds and views. There is a small blockhouse built into the outer wall of the castle which abuts the beach. It would be technically possible to climb down from here onto the beach, but there were railings everywhere so English Heritage obviously don't encourage it. The blockhouse is quite sheltered though, as it is below ground level of the rest of the castle, and there are several gun openings through which to take in the view. 


The castle has a gift shop and toilets, but no café. The village of St Mawes is very well appointed with facilities though, and is a pleasant few minutes stroll away.



Alternative Review by Biggest Sis


I really enjoyed my visit to St Mawes Castle in Cornwall.  When you arrive at St Mawes you are greeted by a very welcoming little town on the seafront. The scene is so beautiful you may miss the entrance to the castle car park! (Ed's note- we did actually miss the turning for this reason!)


When you get inside there are lots of little rooms to go into as well as lots of creepy wax dummies portraying daily life in the castle during the Tudor period.


Outside there are lots of nice views and you can even see Pendennis Castle from the grounds.  There are lots of interesting little shops in St Mawes and we had lunch in a little café as there is no tea room in the castle.


C4K greatly recommends this castle!





More info: English Heritage St Mawes Castle

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