Pendennis Castle is one of the most impressive fortresses built by Henry VIII; it has stood proudly and sturdily on a narrow peninsula here in Falmouth since around the middle of the 16th century. Its role was as part of the King’s Defence programme to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire.
This mighty artillery fort enjoys a unique and peaceful location on a rocky headland above the estuary. With amazing panoramic views across Falmouth Town, the estuary and across to St Mawes from its unique vantage point.
The keep is beautifully maintained, and the volunteers and staff are exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable. You will get to meet costumed character from the past, as you walk around that adds to the overall experience.
The castle offers a full day out with lots to explore and many activities on offer. It enjoys a rich and poignant history, just waiting to be discovered. Learn how the castle was adapted over the years to continue providing coastal defences. You get a real sense of history during a visit, and it is a wonderful attraction for all ages and is sure to keep those from young to old engaged and entertained.
In the restored Royal Garrison Artillery Barracks, learn all about the castle’s fascinating past through the interactive exhibition, and many hands-on-activities. Additionally, you can see what life was like as a garrison soldier at the turn of the last century. Take a behind the scenes free guided tour to experience a war time raid.
Experience a Tudor gun deck in action in the castle’s keep, as well as experiencing the sights and sounds of battle. Between April and October (with the exception of event days), the noon day gun is fired using one of the original working guns from the castle’s collection. There are incredible views from the top of the original Tudor keep. You can often see a range of wildlife, birds and coastal animals when admiring the views.
Explore the cells of the World War I guardhouse. See what happens when the alert sounds warning of an impending enemy attack at the World War II Battery Observation Post. It was from here that an around the clock watch was kept, keeping Falmouth safe from enemy attack. You can also hear conversations between the commander and his gun crews.
Descend through the castle tunnels cut out of the rock to the big guns and underground magazines at Half Moon Battery. This is where ammunition was stored during the Second World War. In the War Shelter, the everyday life of a garrison is brought to life.
The Field Train Shed has a display of big guns where you can learn about the incredible power of these defensive weapons. The collection includes guns from Tudor, Napoleonic, Victorian and the 20th century along with information on how the individual guns would have been used.
The extensive grounds are pleasant to walk around, there is the moat walk that offers a view of the castle from all angles. Then there are the unmissable views over Falmouth; you can also see ships passing by or watch fishermen on the rocks below catching fish.
Throughout the year a number of fun events are hosted, including kids trails, jousting sessions, training academy for kids, medieval re-enactments and attractions, exhibitions and much more.
The Royal Garrison Artillery barracks have been transformed in a bright and airy café, serving a nice selection of traditional meals made using local ingredients. Outside the large green spaces are ideal for picnics with lots of space for children to blow off steam. Enjoy the spectacular views as you tuck in.
With so much to do both inside and outside it is ideal for days where the weather is changeable.
Why not make a day of it with a visit to Pendennis’ sister castle, St Mawes. the much showier of the two. It is easily reached by taking the St Mawes Ferry from Falmouth or King Harry Ferry from Feock on the Fal River.
Booking in advance is essential. Please check out their website for further information on opening times and prices.
Address: Penennis Castle, Castle Drive, Falmouth, TR11 4LP
Telephone: 01326 316594