Pendennis Castle

Christian Mba
Feb 14, 2024 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Oct 07, 2021
Purple skies overlook Pendennis Castle keep.
Age: 4+
Read time: 6.0 Min

  • Visit Falmouth and head to Pendennis Castle for a fantastic time engaging in the history of Pendennis Castle, take in its glorious sites and maybe even stay in the cottages located on site.
  • Don't miss out on the festive and themed events, from spooky Halloween activities to Christmas quest trails.
  • The kids will love firing a gun from the Tudor times, and having fun in the soft play areas, they won't want to leave.

This English Heritage experience makes a fantastic trip if you're in Cornwall and Castle Pendennis has everything you need, from sites, food, landscapes, learning, exhibitions and more.

Pendennis Castle, Cornwall, is well known as being one of the finest fortresses built by Henry VIII. This site is a delight for history buffs and kids. Immerse yourself in the history of Pendennis Castle, as you are transported back to Tudor times, to First and Second World Wars with its role in Fortress Falmouth. Pendennis Castle was built in the mid-16th century by Henry VIII as one of a pair of forts, with St Mawes Castle, to protect the Fal Estuary from the threat of invasion from France and Spain. Pendennis Castle was adapted often for defence reasons over the following 400 years, including the Second World War, so it has seen many different lives and uses.

If you're wondering what to do in Falmouth, then look no further.  Explore the fascinating exhibitions held at Pendennis Castle, depicting the story of the castle throughout time, including its role as part of Fortress Falmouth during World War I and World War II. From buildings, re-buildings, barracks and storehouses that have been constructed, demolished, altered and replaced, to the weaponry of the castle, there is plenty to discover. The reconstructions allow visitors to see what life was like in the castle during different periods of history, enabling you to immerse yourself in Falmouth Castle and its heritage.

Throughout the site, history and evidence of the intriguing history of Pendennis is visible. The Noonday Gun is fired daily in the summer and renovations such as the Guardhouse reflect its First World War appearance, taking you back to a different time. With the underground tunnels open to visitors, plus a Second World War battery, and the original Tudor Keep with a recreated gun deck, there's something to entertain the whole family.

Don't miss out on the Discovery Centre, which has interactive displays and activities for the whole family to enjoy, plus medieval re-enactments are frequently staged at Pendennis. You and the kids can take a gander at a full Tudor gun deck in all its glory, complete with both the sights and sounds of battle, this won't be a history you forget! There's an interactive exhibition which depicts the life of a garrison soldier. Plus, with a WWI Guardhouse and cells, you'll learn what it was like to be an imprisoned soldier.

A favourite with many kids are the creepy castle tunnels, ominous, carrying so much history within the old walls, plus the big guns are always a hit. With a fascinating collection of wartime cartoons on display, ones that featured in newspapers throughout WW II, there's plenty to keep the kids occupied. Be sure to climb to the top of the keep and experience the sights of Falmouth and Cornwall, including panoramic views of St Mawes. For more thrills in Cornwall, check out Fistral Beach for the best surfing in the UK.

Don't miss out on Pendennis Castle events, like festive-themed events, from the Spooky Pendennis Castle for Halloween to the Christmas Adventure Quest at Pendennis Castle. Beyond the history of the fortress, there lies expansive and extensive grounds, home to fantastic sea views and perfect for hikes.

After a busy day discovery, fun and history, visit the tearoom for some fantastic local and seasonal Cornish dishes, some with a Tudor twist. When you're done exploring, why not check out the Lost Gardens of Heligan? These historical gardens are a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered.

Top tip: be sure to make use of the guided tours so you can get the most out of your trip, as you listen to daring, exciting and scary stories, all of which have taken place at Pendennis, this way you can get the full experience and you won't miss a thing.

Are you looking for somewhere to stay? Check out the Holiday cottages at Pendennis Castle, making your trip to these Tudor castles that extra special, located in the grounds of Pendennis Castle. Connecting with English heritage has never been easier. Falmouth is a cosy, and picturesque place, full of things to do and see.

What to know before you go

  • There are toilets on site, found at the back of the shop and on the first floor of the Royal Artillery Barrack Block. There are also baby changing facilities available.
  • For those with little ones, there is bottle warming available, plus high chairs, pushchairs are allowed, and there's also a children's audio tour, available on the Royal Artillery Barrack Block.
  • There is also wheelchair access to the ground floor of Royal Artillery Barrack Block. Access to Keep has spiral stairs and steps. It is important to note that there aren't handrails or an adult changing area. Benches are available around the site depending on the weather conditions.
  • All dogs on leads are allowed, including inside the buildings and around the grounds.
  • There is lift access to the first floor of the Royal Artillery Barrack Block, and this is home the Fortress Falmouth and the First World War exhibition.
  • When you're feeling peckish, you'll always find a delicious selection of refreshments and light meals in the Pendennis Castle Tearoom. Full of seasonal Cornish ingredients, with regulars like Cornish pasties, soup of the day, freshly made sandwiches, home-made cakes, and ploughman's' lunches, as well as wild boar pasties and rabbit terrine with gooseberry relish.
  • There is a picnic area, so bring delicious snacks and enjoy the view from the heights of Pendennis Castle.
  • Are you looking to get married? You can hire out the Castle for events, to make your special day memorable!

Getting there

  • If travelling by car, Pendennis Castle is found on Pendennis Headland, which is just 1 mile south-east of Falmouth. You can go via Melvill Rd, the A39.
  • There is on-site parking available and parking spaces for visitors with disabilities. To get to the central car park, located on Castle Drive, you must follow signs past 'Ships & Castles' Leisure Centre. The car park is free. Disabled parking in castle grounds is signposted against the one way flow on Castle Drive. Visitors with a disability may be set down at the keep entrance before parking in the disabled parking bays behind the Royal Garrison Artillery Barracks.
  • If travelling by train, you can get to Pendennis Castle from the Falmouth Docks about half a mile away, close to Falmouth Station. The Moor B to Pendennis Point is the quickest service, at 15 minutes,
  • Alternatively, many people walk to Pendennis Castle from Falmouth as it is only a 25 minute walk.
  • If taking the bus, there is a Falmouth Town Shuttle bus, where you can take the Pendennis Rise stop for the circular route, passing along the pretty seafront and the town centre. It runs all year round and route 366 is provided by OTS.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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Purple skies overlook Pendennis Castle keep.

Pendennis Castle