The Featured Image Of Launceston Castle

Medieval Launceston Castle

LocationLaunceston, Cornwall, England (Google Maps Location)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byThe Duchy of Cornwall
Rooms AvailableNo

Launceston Castle is set on a large natural mound in Cornwall and is surrounded by landscapes. It dates from Norman times and is believed to be one of the first places the Norman conquerors built a castle. It is the best place to spend some time in peace or looking for a picnic place with beautiful gardens. If you are in Cornwall and want to explore its diverse history and beauty, don’t miss a chance to visit this castle.

Launceston Castle History

Launceston Castle Inner Side Gatehouse
Launceston Castle Inner Side Gatehouse, by Nilfanion, is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Launceston castle has a colourful history. It was built in the 1060s by Robert the Count of Mortain. It comprised earthwork and a timber castle within a large motte in one cornet. It worked as an administrative centre of the new earldom of Cornwall. In the 12th century, it was rebuilt, and then in 1227, it was substantially redeveloped by Richard of Cornwall. Later, Richard’s son, Edmund, inherited the castle and decided to move the administration to Lostwithiel. It caused the decline of the castle. In 1337, the castle was extremely ruined and used as a gaol.

In 1549, the castle was captured by the Prayer Book rebellion. The Royalists garrisoned it during the 17th-century English Civil War. It was also used as a prison. By 1842, the site was closed and was landscaped to form a park by the Duke of Northumberland. This site was used to host United States Army soldiers during the Second World War and then by the Air Ministry. In 1956, the ministry left the castle, and it was reopened to visitors. In the 21st century, the castle is operated by English Heritage as a tourist attraction.

Launceston Castle Inside

Launceston Castle
Launceston Castle, by Ferengra, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The castle is more on the ruined side. You can still explore its defensive remains, such as the high tower overlooking the former deer park to the south of the castle, keep, and motte. The gatehouse and some curtain walls can also be explored. You can notice its original earthwork defences and the essence of Norman architecture.

After buying a ticket, you can walk around the castle and closely experience its history and ruins. Launceston castle prices start just from £3.30. The English Heritage pass is also valid for entry.

Launceston Castle Interesting Facts

  • Launceston castle, the gateway to Cornwall at the River Tamar, was called Castle Terrible because of its active history.
  • It has a small museum, giving a brief about its history.
  • It is a Grade I listed building protected by the law.

Launceston Castle Nearby Places to Stay

It is easy to find hotels and restaurants near Launceston castle. Some top hotels are The White Hart Hotel, Glencoe Villa, B&B at Rose Cottage, and The Eagle House Hotel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Launceston Castle?

The Duchy of Cornwall owns the castle.

When was Launceston Castle built?

It is believed that Launceston castle was built between 1067 and 1068 as a motte and bailey wooden castle. Later, in the 12th century, its wooden keep was replaced with a circular stone keep, and in the early 13th century, stone walls and several towers were added to its structure.

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