Cornwall LivingIssue #75

Hands on history

Be a part of the action this summer at Cornwall’s historic English Heritage sites.

Here in Cornwall we are very lucky to have some spectacular English Heritage sites, each with its own unique identity. Steeped in history and legend and shaped by the landscape, these castles and settlements are great places to visit and explore for both adults and children alike.

Cross to the north Cornish coast for a castle whose heritage is steeped in myth and legend.”

Pendennis Castle, in Falmouth, was one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses. Guarding Falmouth from invasion from Tudor times up until the Second World War, the Tudor castle not only has breath-taking views to enjoy out across Falmouth harbour but also tells a tale of life as a soldier. Here you can explore the castle via winding stone staircases that open out into vast halls before visiting the original gun emplacements through tunnels cut into the rock.

On the opposite side of Falmouth harbour, St Mawes Castle stands proudly, sharing the task of protecting the important anchorage of the Carrick Roads with Pendennis Castle. Elaborately decorated and with stunning views of the Fal estuary, the best way to arrive here has to be by sea, either on the foot ferry from Falmouth or the King Harry Ferry from Feock.

Further up the coast Restormel Castle is an atmospheric ruin. It saw action during the Civil War in 1644 and the 13th century circular shell-keep still remains. Now the castle and grounds are a haven for wildlife and birds and a great place to relax with a picnic.

Cross to the north Cornish coast for a castle whose heritage is steeped in myth and legend. The spectacular cliff-edge Tintagel Castle has long been associated with the tale of King Arthur. Once a thriving trading port and royal stronghold the site at Tintagel straddles the mainland across to the wild landscape of a weather-worn headland.

To the centre of the county you’ll find Launceston Castle. Sited in what was originally Cornwall’s capital and main entry point, the castle boasts an
impressive 13th century round tower that you can scale to reveal impressive views across the town and of the surrounding countryside.

You don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy these incredible castles. English Heritage not only ensures that they are beautifully kept but that they also have a wide range of exciting things that take place throughout the year, with an emphasis on fun adventures for children during the school holidays. You’ll find action-packed events throughout the summer at Pendennis, St Mawes and Tintagel Castles. Entertain all the family with unique experiences, exciting discoveries and a chance to get hands on with the past!


Pendennis Castle

Tudor Pageant

Tue 31 July – Thu 2 Aug 2018

Celebrate all things Tudor at Falmouth’s great Tudor castle!

Grand Medieval Joust

Every Tue & Wed from 7 – 22 August

Experience a true medieval spectacle as knights on horseback clash in a contest of speed and skill.

Pendennis at War

Wed 29 & Thu 30 Aug 2018

Step back in time to the Second World War and experience explosive action and all the thrills of the home front. Plus join the Hands on History crew this summer holiday from Wed 25 July – Fri 31 August for fun family events at all these sites.

Terrific Tudors

Wed 25 July – Fri 31 August
(excluding major event days)

Join the crew for Tudor crafts, activities, and storytelling every day throughout the summer holidays. Excludes major event days.


St Mawes Castle

A Taste of the Tudors

Wed 25 July – Fri 31 August

Get set for a summer packed with family fun as the Hands on History crew bring St Mawes to life. Enjoy have-a-go activities inspired by the castle’s Tudor kitchens.


Tintagel Castle

Myths and Legends

Wed 25 July – Fri 31 August

Join the Hands on History crew this summer holiday for have-a-go activities and tales of legend every day.


Don’t forget!

Tintagel is open late until 7pm in July and August

Buy tickets online by the Friday before an event to receive a 10% discount.

"Cross to the north Cornish coast for a castle whose heritage is steeped in myth and legend."