This is the type of castle that everyone imagines – high on a hill, circular, in the middle of nowhere and oozing with history.
Restormel Castle was built on a spur overlooking the River Fowey by the Normans and is one of the best preserved motte and bailey castles in Cornwall. You can make out the ruins of the keep, the Great Hall, the kitchen and private rooms.
The defences are perfect. The castle is built behind a 17 metre moat with steep slopes to make attack on foot particularly difficult. In fact, it must have been a powerful deterrent as Restormel only saw action once in 1644 when Charles I’s forces drove out the Parliamentarian garrison during the Civil War.
It is now managed by English Heritage and is a magical place to visit with children. Sam and I went on a drizzly day and we had the place to ourselves. You can climb up the ramparts and walk around the top of the walls imagining life as a soldier on patrol. It is easy to imagine what it must have been like – cold and draughty mostly!
Sam and I bought some rubber swords in the shop and staged our own battles in and out of the rooms and defending the gate. We talked about archers, lords and ladies, servants and soldiers – being there just brings history to life.
On a nice day it’s perfect for a picnic. The castle is also sometimes used for events – check on the English Heritage website to find out more.
It is close to the attractive medieval town of Lostwithiel, now brimming with antique shops and tea rooms. There’s a lovely walk along the river through Coulson Park and the beautiful little village of Lerryn on the banks of the River Fowey is just two miles down the road. Plenty to keep everyone happy for the day!
Dogs on leads are welcome at Restormel Castle. There are toilets on site and a shop which sells souvenirs and snacks.
Restormel Castle is just over 20 minutes’ drive from Bosinver and is just off the A390. Post code for SatNavs: PL22 0EE. There’s a free on site car park (approx. 70 meters from the site entrance). Alternatively you can also park for free in Lostwithiel and walk to the castle (just over a mile and up a hill). If you prefer to use public transport, trains run between St Austell and Lostwithiel with a journey time of approximately 15 minutes.
Have you been to Restormel Castle or any of the other castles in Cornwall? We’d love to hear about your favourite ways to bring history to life – you can share your thoughts and photos on our Facebook page, tweet @bosinver or leave a comment below.