St. Mawes Castle

St. Mawes Castle, St Mawes

St. Mawes Castle
4.5
Ancient Ruins • Castles
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
This round stone artillery fortress was built for Henry the Eighth in 1542, using a cloverleaf plan with a four-storied round tower. Take the free audio tour to discover life at the castle during the Civil War and explore the castle and grounds with its stunning views out to sea. Child friendly and dog friendly.
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4.5
649 reviews
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Terrible
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singhasam
Weymouth, UK3,284 contributions
Compact historic site.
Sep 2021
A FERRY trip out from Falmouth in glorious sunshine gave us some advance views of St Mawes Castle.
The £5 return trip took just under twenty minutes and enabled us to see the castle from the sea and appreciate why Henry VIII had it built in the 16th century.
The castle was seen as part of defences against the threat of invasion from France and it was designed to defend the waterway at the mouth of the River Fal.
We got off the ferry and walked out along a shoreline road to the castle, a short walk which enabled us to understand the relationship between this castle and Pendennis Castle in Falmouth.
When we finally arrived at St Mawes Castle we could have been forgiven for thinking that it would be a short visit as the Castle is not a large structure.
However, this compact castle is laid out on many levels.
To start with we walked in through the original guardhouse and over a bridge across a defensive ditch. There is also a shop here with some unusual gift ideas.
We began to explore everything from soldiers' quarters to underground kitchens and some parts of history which were literally under our feet.
A glass panel marked where an oubliette was covered, a place where prisoners or unruly soldiers were kept for punishment of crimes or bad behaviour.
This was typical of St Mawes, a site where so many historical features were packed into a single structure that it was easy to miss something if you tried to go too quickly.
There were gun platforms, carved historic crests and even evidence of basic life with a latrine, a well, bread ovens and store rooms as well as cannons trained towards any threat from the sea.
One thing any visitor should be aware of is that this is a historic military site and as such has lots of stone steps leading up, down and all around. It can be tiring and care is needed in some areas where twisting stone staircases provide narrow passage.
Once we had finished clambering around the castle we moved outside and explored the grounds where cannon were lined up to see.
Stunning views all around just added to the spectacle in the sunshine and we got a good impression of what gunners might be interested in when a large yacht drifted into view and sailed into what would have been the castle's field of fire.
We really enjoyed ourselves here and needed a break afterwards at a little coffee and cake van in the car park which itself offered shade and lovely views on a hot day.
Don't miss a chance to enjoy a ferry trip and a stroll round the castle. It was a great way to spend a few hours exploring history.
Written 12 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Carl H
London, UK309 contributions
Nice views but a little underwhelming
Jul 2021 • Couples
Lovely views from here and it’s nice to see an old castle but we didn’t go in as it was quite pricey considering the size and lack of things here.

However I’d highly recommend going down there on foot and having a drink and cake from the Bear Cornwall Coffee Stand can in the car park.

The Orange, lemon and like cake was amazing…
Written 21 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rashpal
Woking, UK18 contributions
St Mawes Castle with great harbour views
Aug 2021 • Family
Boat over from Falmouth to St Mawes 20mins lovely wonder around then into the castle. Family of 4 £20.00 very good price . Boat was £15.00 kids under 16 go free and that’s the return price .
Castle has a lot to see over a big area . Great views over the harbour . Lots of picnic areas.
Highly recommend going as St Mawes has nothing else little inlets for paddle boarding and various water sports . Lots of cafes .
Written 18 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nai75
Havant, UK82 contributions
Great little castle with great views, well worth a visit.
Aug 2021 • Family
We were staying locally so was worth the trip. Not a big place, but still interesting to wonder around. Narrow steep stair cases.
Written 6 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gail G
Southampton, UK517 contributions
Lovely views
Jul 2021
Lovely castle with beautiful views of the coastline. Unfortunately limited to where you can go at the moment but was still worth the visit. Friendly staff. Pre booking only.
Written 24 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sarah C
Portsmouth, UK77 contributions
Peaceful setting
Jun 2021 • Friends
We came during Covid restrictions so weren’t able to see the inside, but still had a really lovely afternoon relaxing in the gardens. We booked a slot and arrived early on the ferry so stopped for a coffee in the car park (which was also lovely).
The staff at the castle were sweet, helpful and friendly, they seemed to enjoy their work.
The gardens are so peaceful. There were other people there but it was by no means busy so we felt able to sit, walk, and enjoy the parts of the castle we could access.
There are toilet facilities on site that are well-maintained.
Written 20 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jane53England
Worcester, UK999 contributions
Advance booking
Jul 2021 • Couples
At the moment all English Heritage sites need to be booked in advance but hopefully things may change soon as sometimes it is difficult to get to places in the given timeframe.
The car park is a very sharp right above the castle and isn’t very big. Only the ground are open at the moment but the views are spectacular. No cafe on sight but toilets! There is a mobile cafe in car park .
Written 6 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Andrew Jones
London, UK315 contributions
Quirky castle on the coast
May 2021 • Couples
Due to current COVID-19 regulations, entry is only available if booked in advance online. Access is also currently limited to the grounds only. As we hadn’t pre-booked, we were unable to enter the grounds, but there are pretty good views available from the car park.
Written 30 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

d_jones25
Conwy, UK424 contributions
Interesting site, terrible customer experience
May 2021 • Couples
This place has even worse organisation than Pendennis Castle. Getting into the site is a nightmare. English Heritage should hang their head in shame. Pathetic.
We are close to ending our membership after our trip to Falmouth, very frustrating
Written 24 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

jacw2000
Bristol, UK856 contributions
Be sure to book in advance
Jun 2021 • Family
Book in advance at the English heritage website. And I recommend you allow plenty of time. I found it a frustrating process - I booked for the three of us, then it asked me again how many and I said three. Then I realized I had booked for 6, three regular, three concessions. Could I edit it? Not obviously. I started again. This time I did it right, paid, and then it started asking for our names. Why do you care who I am, English Heritage? Just take my money and let me in

Anyway, we went in, and wandered round the castle, which was rather good. It's more a gun emplacement than a castle, really. Assuming that the guards are not asleep, any attempt by the French to steal upriver will result in cannonballs from this castle and Pendennis Castle opposite turning them to floating splinters.

It predates heated shot, which is even nastier, but you still won't want to try and sneak past

Written 14 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about St. Mawes Castle

St. Mawes Castle is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM