Featured image of Dunster Castle

The History of Dunster Castle

LocationDunster, Somerset, England (Google Map)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byThe Dunster Castle is owned by The National Trust.
The Dunster Castle Hotel is owned by Private Owners.
Official WebsiteDunster Castle Hotel
Rooms AvailableYes (Stay, Corporate Events, Weddings, and Functions)

Dunster Castle is a beautiful medieval castle located in the village of Dunster. This ancient castle highlights the place and presents visitors with dramatic vistas and subtropical gardens. It is a Grade I listed building operated by the National Trust as a tourist attraction. People who want to experience the beauty of the castle and stay at the very heart of the Dunster can plan their stay at Dunster Castle Hotel. It is a combination of traditional designs and modern comfort.


Dunster Castle has over 1000 years of history. In the world, this is the only castle that has been owned by only two families throughout its existence.

In 1066, de Mohun William arrived in England and became the new king of England. He constructed the timber castle on the site of the Dunster; however, by the 13th century, nothing from his structure remained because of weak structures other than a lower level gateway and iron-bound oak doors. However, the constant construction work continued to start in the castle.

In 1376, the Mohuns sold the castle to the Luttrell family for 5000 marks, who have held its ownership ever since. In 1571, George Luttrell hired William Arnold and transformed the castle into a luxurious mansion. However, the owners were not satisfied with the final work and accused him of poor workmanship. The overall project was very expensive and cost approximately 1,200 pounds. One of the surviving features you can find from his design now is the plasterwork ceiling in the inner hall.

In the 1640s, the Luttrells could not enjoy their new home for a long time because it was held for the parliament when the Civil War broke out. Finally, after many struggles, the family was able to get the leadership of the castle back and avoid its demolishment. However, in 1649, by the end of the Second English Civil War, the parliament decided to seize the castle again, demolish the castle’s defence, and give it to Royalists. The son of Thomas Luttrell, George convinced the parliamentary authorities to destroy only defensive outer walls and leave the castle’s inner parts untouched. After that, only the Great Gatehouse and the base of the towers survived.

In 1680, Francis married Mary Tregonwell, a rich Dorset heiress. They added modern aspects to the castle, including a carved wooden staircase. Margaret Luttrell, the daughter of the heir of the castle at that time, married Henry Fownes. He adopted the Luttrell surname and decided to move to Dunster castle in 1747. They also reformed the castle, raised its ground level, built additional embellished towers near Great Gatehouse, and added Rocco-style wallpapers.

In 1816, John Luttrell opened the castle to the public and shifted to London. And in 1868, George Luttrell became the owner of the castle. He hired Anthony Salvin, a famous architect, and changed the castle into a Victorian-style place and altered the exteriors. He also added servant quarters, innovated the bedrooms, and made the castle more luxurious.

After owning the Dunster castle for more than 600 years, the Luttrells left its ownership and gave it to the National Trust in 1976. Now, it is a famous tourist destination and a castle hotel in England.


Dunster Castle
Dunster Castle”, by Alison Day, is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Dunster Castle is a former motte and bailey medieval castle that now gives a country house feel. It is located on the top of Tor Hill and has the Anglo-Saxon period feel. From being called a Timber Castle to evolving into a stone shell keep, the castle has transformed a lot since the 11th century. It has several towers in the lower ward, which makes it contemporary.

Also, it has 13th-century gates and artworks, like a Tudor copy of a famous allegorical portrait of Sir John Luttrell and leather tapestries reflecting the story of Antony and Cleopatra. The castle still has a piano that belonged to Vivian Ellis, a famous composer, enhancing its interior.

The castle is surrounded by 15 acres of gardens filled with Strawberry trees. On the south side of the castle, you will notice a restored 18th-century castle watermill, a famous picture spot. The redecoration efforts have been made to give the exterior and interior of the castle a period feel. The original wallpapers and materials used in the castle give it an authentic feel. Additionally, it has solar panels installed on the roof to make it more environmentally friendly.

The Dunster Castle Hotel offers rooms for stay, events, weddings, and functions, where people can spend time and enjoy the traditional feel. Each room is a perfect combination of modern comforts, styling, a traditional feel, and amazing views from the windows. So whether you want to explore the history of this castle or want to stay here, Dunster Castle offers all the facilities.

Movie Features

Mud (1994-1995): It is a comedy TV drama focused on a group of disadvantaged children taking the social worker outdoor activity to flee their problems.

The Apothecary (2010): It is a short drama directed by Paige Copsey focused on mediaeval life.

The Famous Five (1995-1997): It is an adventurous family TV series based on Enid Blyton’s children’s book.

You should also read about Dunster Castle Ghost stories!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Dunster Castle?

Dunster Castle is located in the beautiful village of Dunster, Somerset. You will find it on the top of the steep Tor hill, giving an illusion that the conical wooded hill is wearing a crown.

Can you get married at Dunster Castle?

Yes, Dunster Castle offers a different range of wedding options, where you can select the best hall depending on the guests. The halls have the perfect 15th-century feel, accompanied by Tudor windows and chandeliers hanging from the timberwork roof. You can even have an outdoor wedding at Dunster Castle in the summers.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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