Learn more about the Isle of Purbeck

Castles and Houses
in Local Attractions

The Isle of Purbeck has many houses and castles open to the public; below is a selection of places to visit.

Corfe Castle (National Trust)

Corfe Castle has a rich and varied history, dating back to the 11th century. It was initially built by William the Conqueror as a motte-and-bailey fortress to guard the nearby Saxon royal town of Wareham and the route to the south coast.

The castle underwent several expansions and renovations over the centuries. In the 12th century, Henry I began the construction of a stone keep, which still stands today.

During the English Civil War (1642-1651), the castle was held by Royalist forces but it was ultimately besieged and captured by parliamentarian forces in 1646. They slighted (deliberately damaged) the castle to prevent its further use as a fortress.

After the war, the castle was abandoned and fell into ruin. The slighting of the castle was an intentional act by the parliamentarian forces to prevent the castle from being used as a fortress again.

Today, the ruins of the castle are a popular tourist destination managed by the National Trust. Visitors can explore the castle's ruins, including the great keep, the inner and outer baileys, and the remains of the medieval church and village. The castle also offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

For more information about Corfe Castle, including opening times, visit the National Trust website.

Durlston Castle

Durlston Castle is a Victorian castle at Durlston Country Park in Swanage, England. It was built in the late 19th century by George Burt, a local businessman, as a private residence. The castle features a mix of architectural styles, including Gothic and Renaissance elements. It sits on a hilltop overlooking the sea and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

The castle has been converted into a visitor centre, with exhibits on the history and natural beauty of the park, as well as a restaurant and gift shop. The castle is a popular spot for picnics, walks, and birdwatching.

For more information view our Durlston Country Park page.

Brownsea Castle

Brownsea Castle on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour was originally a fort constructed by Henry VIII between 1545 and 1547 to protect Poole Harbour from the threat of a French attack.

For more information about Brownsea Castle, including opening times, visit the National Trust website.

castles and houses