High on a hillside sits one of the most iconic images of Dorset – Corfe Castle.
We ventured out on a very cold and windy day to visit this site and weren’t disappointed, if not a little chilly.
Corfe Castle was one of 36 castles commissioned by William the Conqueror and was one of the first in the country to be built of stone. A castle at this location is mentioned in the Domesday Book, although it is uncertain whether it was the iteration we see today.
Currently run by the National Trust, the car park located on the main road into Corfe is well signposted and quite reasonably priced, just don’t forget your change as it is a pay and display, those with National Trust membership however park for free. There is a little visitors centre which is run by the National Trust and contained a very welcome log burner and a place to sit and get coffee after a cold trek around the site.
Despite sitting under the shadow of the castle and hill, the walk from the visitors centre is reasonably easy, it meanders through the woodland and away from the road, past what remains of an old disused mill and into the village which houses the entrance to the castle grounds.
It isn’t a cheap visit and for the two of us we didn’t see much change from a £20 note, however the grounds are extensive, and despite the fact that little remains of what once was a huge and imposing castle, there is certainly enough to give you an idea of what life was like and what a behemoth this construction was.
We battled the wind and the cold for about an hour, collecting photos and wandering around. There are plenty of information plaques to keep you interested and to give you some idea of what the castle was used for. There were story tellers on site and the staff were dressed in period costume, which for me was a little ‘twee’ and theme park-like. Despite the snow sprinkles and the bitterly cold wind the site was busy and I imagine in the height of summer it is probably heaving. I personally prefer to travel the sites in the winter months when things are a little quieter and you have much of the place to yourself and a few other die hard visitors instead of hoards of holiday makers and screaming children.
Outside of the castle there are a number of small cafes and pubs catering to the visitors if you fancy staying on for a spot of lunch or afternoon tea.