"Tremendously atmospheric.........." Dunstanburgh Castle by leics

Dunstanburgh Castle Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 4 photos

I have absolutely no idea why Dunstanburgh Castle is listed in the VT database.

Dunstanburgh does not exist as a settlement: it was only ever a settlement for the castle inhabitants anyway, although there is archaeological evidence of earlier occupation of the site. Its ruins lie on the coast between Dunstan Steads (a truly tiny place) and Craster (not much bigger).

I visited the area in October 2009, but did not go to the castle....it was late afternoon, the light was failing, it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale. But I did visit about 10 years ago, when I stayed in Craster for a week with my teenage children.

I think, perhaps, that Dunstanburgh is famous because of its commanding and 'romantic' position. Set on a headland on the low cliffs of the Northumberland coastline, it dates back to 1313.

It was built on the orders of the Earl of Lancaster, was owned and improved by John of Gaunt in the late 1300s......and yet is recorded as being in a great state of decay by 1538.

Gradually, over the centuries, it became more ruinous........until it came into the ownership of the National Trust in 1929.

Now, it's one of the 'must-see 'sights if you are visiting that part of Northumberland. It's a mile-long walk along the low cliffs from Craster (pleasant enough on a sunny day) and a bit more from the minimal parking spots at the sea-end of the Dunstan Steads road.

The castle is open to the public, for quite a remarkable amount of time throughout the year given its inaccessibility by road. You can find details on the National Trust website.

It is a really lovely castle-ruin, in a lovely spot (painted many times by Turner). If you approach from Craster, make sure you walk across the headland to view the castle from its northern side....the cliffs beneath are full of seabird roosts, a truly wonderful sight (especially in the nesting season). I could (and did) sit for hours just watching those birds wheeling across the sky and skimming the waves......

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Excellent walk along the cliffs to the castle.
  • Cons:None that I came across
  • In a nutshell:Wildly romantic ruin.
  • Intro Updated Mar 12, 2011
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