Pendennis Castle

Falmouth, United Kingdom

Pendennis Castle is an artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII near Falmouth, Cornwall, England between 1540 and 1542. It formed part of the King's Device programme to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire, and defended the Carrick Roads waterway at the mouth of the River Fal. The original, circular keep and gun platform was expanded at the end of the century to cope with the increasing Spanish threat, with a ring of extensive stone ramparts and bastions built around the older castle. Pendennis saw service during the English Civil War, when it was held by the Royalists, and was only taken by Parliament after a long siege in 1646. It survived the interregnum and Charles II renovated the fortress after his restoration to the throne in 1660.

Ongoing concerns about a possible French invasion resulted in Pendennis's defences being modernised and upgraded in the 1730s and again during the 1790s; during the Napoleonic Wars, the castle held up to 48 guns. In the 1880s and 1890s an electrically operated minefield was laid across the River Fal, operated from Pendennis and St Mawes, and new, quick-firing guns were installed to support these defences.

The castle was rearmed during the First World War but saw no action and was rearmed again during the Second World War when it saw action against the German Luftwaffe aircraft, but in 1956, by now obsolete, it was decommissioned. It passed into the control of the Ministry of Works, who cleared away many of the more modern military buildings and opened the site to visitors. In the 21st century, the castle is managed by English Heritage as a tourist attraction- The heritage agency Historic England considers Pendennis to be one of the finest examples of a post-medieval defensive promontory fort in the country.



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Founded: 1540-1542
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sarah Gray (2 months ago)
Fun place to visit, lots to see, terrific views, tunnels into the rock, great food and snacks at the cafe
Al Hodgson (3 months ago)
A peaceful place with spectacular views in many directions. Very interesting displays with staff very happy to give explanations & history. Well kept,clean with whlchair access. Also walks outside. Cafe had some interesting cakes. Gift shop gave us free samples of "mead".
Clive Griffiths (3 months ago)
What an amazing family day out. Recently joined English Heritage while on holiday in Cornwall so making the most before heading home . Came during Easter so had an Easter trail on for kids with prize of chocolate ?. Castle ? has such an amazing history to its name over 500 years to its involvement in WW2. Such amazing views all the way round. Definitely need a return visit.
Damian Cannon (7 months ago)
This is an impressive military garrison set high on the Falmouth headland. It's not a classic medieval castle but it does boast some impressive walls and intact fortifications. You can walk around the outside for free, which is worth the trouble, but you'll have to pay English Heritage to venture inside. It's worth it though to visit the central fort and admire the array of weaponry. Apart from the far ranging views, which are excellent, Pendennis Castle also offers a decent enough cafe and a shop for visitors. The staff are very welcoming and you can take your dog everywhere. Nice.
Mark Whiteley (9 months ago)
Amazing place, the most beautiful views and so much history from different time periods. We went during Halloween half term and were lucky enough to catch one of the story times. The story teller was genuinely brilliant and very knowledgeable - it was like a live episode of horrible histories! As members, we have been to a lot of English Heritage places and this one is up there with the best. Highly recommended!
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