Corfe Castle, Purbeck

Now just ruins, this 1,000-year-old castle which started life as a Saxon stronghold nonetheless is a romantic spot with breath-taking views across the stunning Dorset countryside of Purbeck. A key player during the English Civil War, it was partially demolished in 1646 by Parliamentarians but still has a host of hidden secrets, such as its ‘murder holes’!   

Originally a Saxon hall, it was William the Conqueror who founded the castle and due to its importance was one of the first of the ‘motte and bailey’ type castles to have walls made of stone. Beloved by kings, a huge amount of money was spent on it over the years, though it’s hard to imagine now, being just a collection of ruins.

There’s plenty to do around this lovely spot. There are some fabulous walks, such as The Hartland Way, a two-hour walk which follows part of the historic Middlebere Tramway. Alternatively, you can walk along the Purbeck Ridgeway from Corfe Castle to the coast – this is a longer walk just over eight miles.

If that all sounds a bit too much, head to the tea rooms in the centre of Corfe Castle village for an old-fashioned cream tea – perfect!

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