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TICKETS & PRICES

Adults: £5.90
Children 5-17 Years
Families (2 adults, up to 3 Children): £15.30
Families (1 adult, up to 3 Children): £9.40

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Visiting Restormel Castle

Restormel Castle is a unique, circular motte-and-bailey fortress originally designed for military defence in the 13th century. Initially owned by the Cardinham family, it is now in ruins and managed by English Heritage Trust. It provides visitors green valley views and a lovely place for a picnic. 

Parking

There is free parking on-site at the castle, with 25 spaces available. Additionally, the castle is only 2.25 km (1.4 mi) away from the town of Lostwithiel, which also has free parking and public transport via train or bus. 

 

Price

Adults

£5.90

Children (age 5-17) (under 5 is free)

£3.50

Concession (students with NUS cards and people 65+ with ID)

£5.30

Family (with 2 adults and up to 3 children)

£15.30

Family (with 1 adult and up to 3 children)

£9.40

 

Opening

Restormel Castle is open 5 days a week, Sunday through Thursday, from 10:00-17:00.

Location and Access

Restormel Castle is located at Restormel Rd, Lostwithiel PL22 0EE, United Kingdom

The castle is about a 30-minute walk from the city centre of Lostwithiel. However, travellers should note that this trek involves a hill. 

Buses run to Restormel or the town of Lostwithiel, depending on the day. 

You can travel by the Cornwall 423 or 482 (Wednesday only); Roselyn 296 (Tuesday only). 

The Gorran & District Community Bus G4 goes to Lostwithiel (then from town, there is a 2.25-km (1.4 mi) walk up to the castle). 

Know Before You Go

  • It is not necessary but recommended to book your visit before you head out to Restormel Castle, which you can do here.
  • You can book your ticket in advance online up to 8:45 AM on the day of your visit. 
  • Your booking is for the entrance into the castle only and does not guarantee you a parking space. 
  • The busiest times at the castle are on Bank Holidays and, in general, daily between 11 AM and 2 PM. 
  • If you have one, remember to bring your English Heritage Membership Card. 
  • Self-led school visits to aid in student curriculum on the subject of history are recommended. 
  • Resources on potential school-related trips - and the current safety measures around them - can be viewed here.
  • Know that the staff at Restormel Castle are working hard to keep all visitors safe from Covid-19. Enhanced cleaning and sanitation efforts are being made during this time. The staff continues to wear face coverings indoors and in busy areas. 

Places To Stay Nearby

Penrose Bed and Breakfast

Kilometres from the Castle: 2.09 km (1.3 mi)

The Penrose Bed and Breakfast is a 4-star hotel in the town of Lostwithiel, a stone-built Victorian bed & breakfast with seven traditional rooms featuring period details along with free wi-fi, flat-screen TVs, and tea and coffee making tools for travellers. 

Book

Royal Oak Inn

Kilometres from the Castle: 1.77 km (1.1 mi)

The Royal Oak Inn is a 3-star hotel near the town centre of Lostwithiel, a stone building that used to be a schoolhouse dating back to the 1800s. Six warm rooms with en suite bathrooms and free wi-fi, the inn also has a pub with a fireplace and dining offerings. 

Book

King's Arm Hotel 

Kilometres from the Castle: 1.77 km (1.1 mi)

The King's Arms Hotel is a 3-star hotel in the town centre of Lostwithiel, featuring a cosy, informal setting. They feature a complimentary breakfast and a casual bar & restaurant offering traditional pub food and Indian cuisine. 

Book

History of Restormel Castle 

Though declared ruined by the 16th century, Restormel Castle is one of the four chiefs of Norman castles of Cornwall. The structure was used as a strategic military fortress and then as a luxury residence for the owning lords and ladies before falling into disrepair after being abandoned. 

The castle passed through the hands of the Cornwall family for generations and was even twice visited by Edward, The Black Prince.

Ironically, the well-fortified castle did not see much active military use until the English Civil War in the 17th century.

Time Line


-Around ~1100

Historians differ on the specifics, but Restormel Castle is believed to have been built after the Norman conquest of England around the year 1100 by Baldwin Fitz Turstin, the local sheriff at the time. 

From there, Baldwin's descendants held the castle as various vassals and tenants of the Earls of Cornwall for nearly 200 years. 

-1192–1263

The Cardinham family takes ownership of the castle and builds up the walls and gates to feature stone, establishing the current design and look of the castle. 

The nearby village of Lostwithiel is settled near the castle during this time. 

-1264

The castle was seized non-violently by Simon de Montfort during a civil conflict in the reign of Henry III. 

-1265 

The castle is seized back, also non-violently, by Sir Ralph Arundell, the former High Sheriff of Cornwall. 

-1270–1271

Through diplomacy and persuasion, Isolda de Cardinham granted the castle to Henry III's brother, Richard of Cornwall, in 1270. 

After Richard's death in 1271, his son Edmund of Almain, 2nd Earl of Cornwall, takes over the castle and titles it his "duchy palace."

He builds out the quality of the inner chambers while he resides there. Edmund's previous work at Trematon Castle provides a historical parallel of similar castle renovation work. 

-1293

A recovered grant document issued at this time indicates that the main construction employed by Edmun of Almain is completed by this date. Other features of Restormel Castle established over this period include a hunting park, a garden, and two hermitages. 

-1299

After Edmund's death, the castle's ownership reverted to the English Crown. Restormel Castle becomes temporarily vacated. 

-1307

King Edward II elevates Piers Gaveston to the Earldom of Cornwall. The King's opposition executed Gaveston in 1312, but documents recovered from this time reveal that Gaveston had allowed the castles of Cornwall, including Restormel, to fall into disrepair. 

-1337

From this year onward, the castle became one of the 17 antiqua maneria ("ancient manors") of the Duchy of Cornwall. The castle is confirmed as having fallen into disrepair according to a 1337 survey accounting of the possessions of the Duchy of Cornwall. 

-1346

Edward, The Black Prince, in some of the first years of the Duchy of Cornwall period, issued many writs for repairs, improvements, and increased operations at Restormel Castle. 

The castle's nearness to the town of Lostwithiel, vital to the region's tin industry - gave it economic significance.

In 1346, the Black Prince ordered a licensed pewterer, one of only two in the Duchy of Cornwall, to be based at Restormel Castle. 

-1354–1365

Though by this time never before used as a residence by any members of the royal family, Edward, The Black Prince, the eldest son of King Edward III, stayed at the castle in 1354, and then again 11 years later in 1365. 

On these occasions, the Prince gathered his feudal subjects within the castle to pay him homage. 

-1376

The castle, extensively repaired after prior orders from Edward, The Black Prince, declines into ruin again after the Prince's death by dysentery in 1376. 

-1542

Near this time, Henry VIII converts the royal park at Restormel Castle to open countryside. The property is transferred to Sir Richard Pollard, one of the King's officials. After this point, no more repairs are made to the castle. 

-1584

The visiting cartographer John Norden describes the castle as a "scene of desolation." By this time, the once more abandoned castle's inner ward had been plundered for lead, stone, and timber. 

-1644

Now abandoned to the elements, Restormel Castle sees combat action for the first and only time in its long history. A Parliamentary garrison of about 30 men under Lord Essex occupied the castle's ruins during the English Civil War (1642-1651).

The opposing force, led by Sir Richard Grenville, loyal to Charles I, stormed the castle on 21 August 1644, and a battle was engaged. Grenville captures Restormel Castle for Charles I. Within days of the conflict, Essex's army surrendered, leaving Cornwall under royalist control. 

-1649

A Parliamentary survey in 1649 records the castle as "utterly ruined," with only the outer walls still standing. The castle is determined to be too costly to repair and too worthless for demolishment. 

-1846

Through the 19th century, the castle became a popular tourist attraction. The British royal family arrive on their yacht Victoria and Albert up the River Fowey and visit the castle in 1846, touring the ruins. 

-1865

French writer Henri-François-Alphonse Esquiros visits the castle, describing the ruins as forming "what the English call a romantic scene" and comments how the castle's former glory attracted visitors who went there "for picnics and parties of pleasure."  

-1925

Edward, Duke of Cornwall - the later King Edward VIII - entrusts the castle ruins to the English Office of Works. 

-1971

A proposal is made to restore the castle but is dropped after strong opposition from the public. 

-1984

The castle is designated as a 'scheduled monument' (i.e., a nationally important archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorised change). English Heritage now maintains it as a popular tourist attraction and picnic site.

Restormel Castle Occupants

The only member of the English royal family to ever stay within Restormel Castle was Edward, The Black Prince, the eldest son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. 

Some of the other most notable occupants of Restormel Castle over the years include:

  • Robert de Cardinham, one of the King's justices 
  • Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester
  • Sir Ralph Arundell, former High Sheriff of Cornwall
  • Edmund of Almain, 2nd Earl of Cornwall
  • Henri-François-Alphonse Esquiros, 19th century French writer 
  • Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge 

Images of Middleham Restormel Castle

Restormel Castle Restormel Castle Restormel Castle Restormel Castle
Restormel Castle Restormel Castle Restormel Castle Restormel Castle

Images Supplied and licensed from Shutterstock Standard Licence Package

Restormel Castle Facts

The castle's name is derived from the Cornish Ros tor moyl, meaning 'bare hilltop spur.'

Though the castle has gone through many centuries of ruin and repair, fragments of the inner gate tower survive from the earliest phases of the castle's construction in the 13th century. Three pits and the well, cut into the bedrock of the courtyard, may also range back to similar dates. 

The nearby town of Lostwithiel, settled near the castle's inception, was an essential centre of the tin industry. It became one of the main administrative centres of the Cornwall regime over time, helping to build the region’s wealth.

Restormel Castle Q&A

Can You Bring a Picnic?

You can bring a picnic to Restormel Castle and enjoy lunch on the greens overlooking the valley. There are a number of benches and three tables on the site, providing extraordinary views of the rolling green hills of the countryside around the castle. 

Additionally, there is a vending machine on-site selling hot drinks such as tea and coffee, as well as chocolate. The on-site visitor's shop also sells snacks, including crisps, cold drinks, confectionery, and ice cream. 

Can I Walk the Walls and Go Into the Rooms of the Castle?

You can walk along the inner wall of the castle. It is one of the primary attractions for visiting Restormel Castle. Up stone stairs to a wall formerly designed to defend against assault lay expansive views of the gorgeous Fowey valley's rolling hills of lush greenery. 

You are also free to explore the remains of the grand rooms, including the Great Hall formerly used for gatherings of the castle's past subjects. 

Are There Tour Guides at the Castle?

There are no local tour guides at the castle. However, group travel to the castle is welcome and can be organised through English Heritage here. If 11 or more individuals visit the castle together, a 15% group discount is available, including free entry for the coach driver and tour guide.

Can I Take Photos and Videos at the Castle?

You can take photos and videos at the castle, but there are some restrictions for photos at certain locations of the castle site. English Heritage recommends you call the site before visiting if you have further questions about the photo and video restrictions. 

Location of Restormel Castle

Restormel Castle is located about 2.25 km (1.4 mi) north of the town of Lostwithiel of less than 3,000 people. Located in Cornwall county, the castle is about 394 km (245 mi) west of London. 

Restormel Castle's address is Restormel Rd, Lostwithiel PL22 0EE, United Kingdom. 

Other Places To Visit Near Restormel Castle

Some other potential points of interest within 16 km (10 mi) of Restormel Castle and the town of Lostwithiel are detailed below: 

Lostwithiel Museum

The local museum within the town of Lostwithiel features historical artefacts and perspectives from the area going back centuries. It features a timeline covering Lostwithiel’s long history, exhibits covering local people, touch screens with archive information and images, and more.

The museum is fully accredited and runs with the help of many volunteers.

Eden Project

Only 10.62 km (6.6 mi) away from the castle, this high-tech eco-park with an educational focus features artificial biomes full of plants from around the world for travellers to explore. 

An educational charity and social enterprise, the Eden Project provides a great place to take kids. 

Catherine’s Castle

Only 10.46 km (6.5 mi) away lay a pair of small artillery forts built in the 1530s by Henry VIII. Built to defend Fowey Harbor, the forts were modified in the 19th and 20th centuries to help fight during the Crimean War and World War II, respectively. 

Featuring shops and places to eat and drink near the town of Fowey, the forts are also just a 10-minute walk away from Ready Money Cove. 

King Doniert’s Stone

About 15.03 km (9.34 mi) away are two wonderfully carved pieces of ancient history. The 9th-century Celtic cross holds an inscription commemorating Dungarth, King of Dumnonia and is preserved at the site for visitors to view. 

You should also visit the tearoom and shop in the Minions, a nearby village. 

Breock Downs Monolith

About 15.37 km (9.55 mi) away, there is Cornwall's largest and heaviest prehistoric monolith. Originally five metres high and weighing 17 tonnes (17000 kg), the St Breock Monolith lay at the top of St Breock Downs, surrounded by a beautiful view for travellers to sight. 

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