"A very English village" Top 5 Page for this destination Corfe Castle by toonsarah

Corfe Castle Travel Guide: 57 reviews and 199 photos

Corfe Castle village from the castle grounds

In many ways Corfe Castle is the quintessential English village. It certainly has all the necessary ingredients. Steeped in history, its old stone cottages nestle in a hollow beneath a ruined castle.

A few shops, a number of pubs, a couple of B&Bs, a tea room and a good hotel cater to visitors, but most seem to come just as day-trippers from the nearby resorts of Swanage or Poole, and the village manages to retain its sleepy atmosphere. You sense that nothing much has changed here for years.

Some history

The history of the village is inextricably linked to that of the castle, which was begun by William the Conqueror soon after his arrival in Britain in 1066. The Bankes family bought the castle in 1632, starting a long association with the village (where there is still a Bankes Arms pub), which was partly responsible for drawing me to it.

As a child I went to Lady Bankes Primary School in Ruislip, named after Lady Mary Bankes, who grew up in Ruislip as a member of the local “big” family, the Hawtreys. She married into the Bankes family, and following the death of her husband during the Civil War, she bravely and successfully defended the castle during a siege in 1643. However, during a second siege in 1646 an act of betrayal by a member of her garrison led to the castle’s capture by the Parliamentarians. They allowed her to go free out of respect for her bravery, but deliberately demolished the castle resulting in the dramatic ruin we can see today. Much of the missing stone can be found in the houses of Corfe Castle Village.

Sightseeing

There is more than enough to do in this area to keep you occupied for a week or more, but we were only here for a couple of days! In that time we managed to see something of the village, visit the castle, and explore the stunning coastline nearby, including Lulworth Cove, about which I’ve made a separate page.

We also visited the intriguing lost village of Tyneham and the Blue Pool at Wareham, both described here in Off the Beaten Path tips.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Charming, packed with history, and surrounded by beautiful countryside
  • Cons:The weather is as unreliable as everywhere in England
  • Last visit to Corfe Castle: Jun 2008
  • Intro Updated Dec 23, 2011
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Reviews (20)

Comments (20)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    What a lovely charming place. I always enjoy the history you share! Another excellent page!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jul 1, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    I would like to explore this genuine English village some day!...Thanks for your nice story!~

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    Corfe Castle, the Village and Lulworth Cove all look & sound interesting, would love to visit!

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Dec 2, 2009 at 2:23 PM

    Poor Edward the Martyr turning his back like that whilst enjoying a tasty beverage. This castle and you r pictures are fabulous and the detail you present beyond comparison

  • trvlrtom's Profile Photo
    Dec 21, 2008 at 11:59 AM

    Thanks for the good introduction to yet another place I hope to see. Perhaps on our next trip to your lovely island.

  • Dec 15, 2008 at 10:19 AM

    Green place! The Corfe Castle is magic. Great tips

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2008 at 3:47 PM

    So William the Conqueror came to Corfe Castle for a Captain Cook?

  • MURRA's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2008 at 8:46 AM

    south coast is the best

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2008 at 8:53 AM

    A real delight to read about Corfe Castle Village. Wonderful restaurant reviews, especially Morton's House Hotel. Pub reviews were great. The Pool, the Castle, the Museum, the Commons, the Village; terrific. Thanks for explaining "commons". Excellent.

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2008 at 11:31 AM

    A very interesting page! I love reading about the history of small places. I remember a coach driver once telling us about a village used by the army, but don't know the name. Maybe it was Tyneham.

toonsarah

“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust”

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