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Launceston Castle

Home > Cornwall > Castles | Day Trips | Family | Free | Picnic Spots
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We travel full-time as a family and I've just started blogging and freelance writing with no set place to call home, I'm now sharing my family's adventures online. Please visit my blog at
Published July 29th 2019
Its not quite a tower of terror
On a visit to Launceston in Cornwall, the one thing you can't miss is its castle. Perched high on a natural mound in the centre of town it dominates the landscape.

Once the bustling heart of the town and main focal point of the local area it now lies mostly in ruins with its tower being one of the few remaining sections.

English Heritage manages the site, and for a small fee for non-members, you can take a look around the mound section and climb the tower for a view of the surrounding area.

At the visitor centre, there is an exhibition area that lets you read all about one thousand years of history at the castle. And if you have kids with you, they can do brass rubbing or try on some historic costumes.

As you walk around the ruins, information signs provide details as to the buildings that once stood in different parts of the castle grounds.

Castle History

Construction at the site started shortly after the Norman Conquest, with the buildings starting as timber structures and eventually being made out of stone.

The round tower was built in the 13th-Century by Richard Earl of Cornwall. This was probably to show off his power and to enable him to watch over his lands. It was constructed inside an earlier defensive wall.

The uses for the Castle and grounds changed over the years. It was originally the home and headquarters of the Earl of Cornwall. In later years it was used as a prison along with being a base for the Cornish Royalist Defence army. During World War Two it was used by the United States Army and airforce.

The South Gate and the outline of the Great Hall along with several other buildings are located outside the English Heritage area, so if you want to save some money and still see some castle ruins, you can. There are information signs in the free zone that tell you about the buildings that once stood there.

If you want a beautiful place to have a picnic with a view, there is plenty of space to do this in the courtyard area and the English Heritage site.

With most of the castle being a ruin a visit won't take long, we were there less than two hours.

There is no parking on-site, but it is available nearby, you can check the Cornwall government website for current prices.

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Why? To see Cornish history
When: Daily from 1st April to 3rd November
Phone: 01566 772365
Where: Castle Lodge, Launceston, Cornwall, PL15 7DR
Cost: Free for members or Adult £5.00, Child (5-17 years) £3.00, Concession £4.50, Family (2 adults, up to 3 children) £13.00
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