Although technically day three of our holiday to Dorset, Monday was our first day where it was just the three of us.
Seeing as we’d just visited Corfe village the previous day, we thought we’d go back the next day, but visit the castle this time. It looked so pretty as the backdrop for the steam train that we had to visit it up close with T.
Sharon and I have actually visited Corfe Castle before, but this didn’t put us off visiting again. It really is a stunning location and with a toddler in tow we’re bound to experience it in a whole new light.
Corfe Castle is another National Trust location and is situated at the heart of Corfe Village. We parked near Norden, which is the main car park for the site, and enjoyed a short woodland walk to the castle. At the car park is also a National Trust reception, toilets, and a small cafe.
One of the great things about being a National Trust member is that your membership is valid almost everywhere in the UK. This means that when we’re elsewhere in the UK on holiday, we can have a relatively cheap day out thanks to our memberships. T is free until he’s 5 – which I think is an absolute steal considering he’s enjoying it like the rest of us (this isn’t an ad, by the way).
Anyway, back to our day.
Because the weather was the polar opposite to the previous day, we got to play pooh sticks on bridges and take advantage of the river walk which was down a set of very steep steps. Because I had the main bag with me, I decided to play it safe and stick to the upper route! Sharon got the duty of taking T along the river.
The walk itself is only around 15-20 minutes, but with a toddler it was around half an hour with occasional stops for water, stone throwing, and bug spotting. There is a slight incline, but nothing that would warrant getting your hiking stick out. Besides, on your way up, there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the castle.
Exploring the Castle
After arriving at the foot of the castle entrance, we scanned our cards and started to explore the grounds. Again, the area isn’t particularly flat, however you really don’t notice the incline when you’re stopping to admire the sight or read about the history on your way up to the peak.
Corfe Castle has a gorgeous romantic feel to it and because what’s left of the castle are ruins, there is plenty to explore (and climb in some places), although be mindful that some of the terrain is uneven if you’re unsteady on your feet or have accessibility restrictions.
Not that long into the walk, we started to get a bit hungry, so we found a lovely open space and enjoyed our picnic – which we later realised was a saving grace as it meant we could walk a bit faster and squeeze through places a lot easier to follow T on his way round the castle.
Here is where we spotted the most amazing view, as well as the Swanage Railway. It’s not hard to find a view or two up here. I think we spent the majority of our time just admiring all of them.
Exploring the actual castle was also a lot of fun, and just when we thought we’d reached the peak, there was a stairway or doorway for us to enter. Once ‘inside’ there were lots of little rooms as well as several balconies (that were probably toilets at one time!).
What I love about this castle is that there’s a nice mixture between the protected parts to preserve the castle and parts that you’re welcome to climb through (or on if safe to do so) and enjoy. There’s also lots of wildlife that’s taken up residence here. The whole experience is unique and it really knackered T out. He was so excited when he found somewhere new that we hadn’t seen.
As usual, we arrived here in the morning and went home late into the afternoon after thoroughly exhausting every crevice and piece of ruin. T spotted bugs and birds, as well as steam trains in the distance. It really was a lovely outing and one we will repeat when we return.
There’s apparently always something going on at the castle, so we will hopefully time it around an event or even maybe when it’s darker so we can see the castle lit up. I’ve heard this is a spectacular sight.