Fancy soaking up a bit of history during your stay with us? Why not spend some time visiting the many castles in Cornwall and Devon. In the latest in our series of holiday guides we take a look at just a few of our favourite historical sites…
So, you’ve booked your caravan holiday in North Devon and you’re looking for things to do nearby during your stay. The beaches, attractions and picture postcard destination in the region are, quite rightly, a major draw. But if you’d like to learn more about the history of the local area then why not pay a visit to the many magnificent castles in Cornwall and Devon?
There are dozens of castles in the South West and Cornwall and Devon are home to a striking number of impressive structures. Here you can spend a few hours learning more about the roles these buildings have played in the counties’ past. But it’s not all about historical facts – many of these sites lay on a feast of entertainment for kids of all ages during the peak school holiday periods. So, if you’ve got little ones to entertain then a visit to one of these sites is a great family day out.
We’ve put together a mini guide to just five our favourite castles in Cornwall and Devon, many of which are only a short distance from our Bude holiday park.
Like our own caravan park, Launceston itself is based on the Cornwall-Devon border. Its castle is easily one of the most impressive in Cornwall and dates back nearly a thousand years. Located on a large mound it dominates the skyline. It was built by Robert the Count of Mortain some time after 1068. The keep was added sometime later, around the 13th Century by Richard, Earl of Cornwall.
The castle has a colourful history, having been used as a prison – George Fox, the founder of the Quakers being one of its most famous prisoners. The castle was also used as the base for the Cornish Royalist defence of the county.
One of the oldest castles in Devon, Okehampton is a Medieval motte and bailey castle. It was built between 1068 and 1086 following a revolt against Normal rule in the county. Although now largely a ruin, it is well worth a visit for its history and status as the largest castle and fortress in Devon.
Okehampton Castle is set in stunning setting above the River Okements. After the last Courtenay owner fell foul of Henry VIII in 1539, the castle declined into a ruin.
There is a riverside picnic area and beautiful woodland walks nearby. It’s also a great place for bird lovers with regular visiting species and in spring and early summer.
One of the most famous castles in Cornwall, Tintagel is simply a must-visit during your stay at our holiday park. This is one of the county’s most well-known attractions thanks to its links to the legend of King Arthur.
Located between Padstow and Bude, for centuries this dramatic castle has inspired writers, artists and even the brother of a king. Today it attracts many visitors due to its description as the birthplace of King Arthur.
The castle is currently closed due to the construction of a new footbridge over to the island. It will re-open in the summer of 2019.
Technically, Powederham isa fortified manor house and not a castle as it lacks a keep and a moat, but we don’t need to worry about these details! Whatever it may be classified as, we’d definitely recommend you visit this impressive building near Exeter.
The oldest parts of the building date back to the 14th Century and it has stayed within the Courtnet family for 28 generations. The Castle was first opened to visitors in 1959, since then in excess of a million people have been through the doors to share in over 600 years of history and heritage and take away many fond memories.
— Powderham Castle (@powderhamcastle) April 16, 2019
Another one of the castles in Cornwall that falls under the stewardship of English Heritage, this impressive structure is well worth the trip to the pretty town of Lostwithiel.
The 13th-century circular shell-keep still encloses the principal rooms of the castle in remarkably good condition. It stands on an earlier Norman mound surrounded by a deep dry ditch, atop a high spur beside the River Fowey. It finally saw action during the Civil War in 1644. It commands fantastic views and is a favourite picnic spot.