In a Nutshell
Dating from the 11th century, Corfe Castle dominates the sky line and has a certain romanticism as a child's very idea of a ruined castle, with winding paths and turrets, perched on the hill-side. Why not combine with a visit to the village of the same name, or carry on to Swanage for a seaside visit.
Parking and Pooping
Situated on the Isle of Purbeck, between Wareham and Swanage, Corfe Castle has its own National Trust car park on the A351. The car park is quite small and fills up quickly, so you may have to opt to carry on into the village, finding alternative public car parks at Challow Walkers or West St.
If you do manage to park at the NT car park, you'll find a shop and toilets there, before crossing the A351 and making the short walk around the mound into the village, arriving at the bridged entrance to the castle. The village can get very busy with cars looking for spaces, so be prepared to do some manoeuvring if you do venture in!
As per usual, the NT car park is free for members and charged for non-members.
The path from the car park takes about 10 mins, winding around the castle mound and gradually up to the village. It's mainly shaded by trees and runs in part along a stream - that you can get down to if pup wants a paddle - just before you cross the road.
You arrive in the village, near the castle entrance. Crossing the bridge, you enter the lower, more open section of the castle, which is mainly grassed, and then make your way up the paths to the keep and towers. The paths get steeper here and there is little shade, other than that given by the castle walls, so probably best to avoid midday on warm days.
The small square outside the castle entrance can get busy with both people and cars, but once away from that the side streets are easier to navigate on foot.
Keeping the Humans Amused
Aside from exploring the castle ruins, the NT has a small shop opposite the castle entrance, and there are a handful of curio and souvenir shops in the village. There is a model village too, though we haven't visited as yet. It is dog friendly, including the tea room. The nearby railway station, operated by South Western Railway offers a look back to the era of steam, with steam trains running to and from Swanage.
The tea-rooms at Corfe are dog friendly, and the NT tea-room to the left of the castle entrance has an excellent garden and patio area that gives great views of the castle across the bridge. In the village we noted the Courtyard Café at the model village was dog friendly, as is the Fox Inn just a few yards further down West St. Many visitors grab a sandwich or a pasty from the bakery by the village cross and find somewhere to perch in the sun.
For up to date info and prices check out the NT website here
Last Visit: May 2023