Visiting castles is a great way to teach children about history during a summer holiday. Beyond visiting majestic buildings and imagining how princes or princesses lived, you can learn more about key historical figures and even legendary ones like King Arthur. Cornwall is a great place to go castle-hopping, as there are quite a few that will wow your family and allow you to experience history while on holiday in the area. Many of these castles are located near popular tourist resorts with holiday accommodation options for all tastes and budgets, so these historic monuments make great places to visit for day trip while on holiday in Cornwall.
1. St. Michaels Mount
This is one of the most popular castles in Cornwall, found on the coast of Marazion. This medieval castle is actually on a small but historical island that is the setting of many legends. Depending on the tide, you can visit this castle by boat or by foot. The impressive architecture is only second to the picturesque views of the coastline.
2. Tintagel Castle
This is reputed to be where King Arthur was born and yearly events celebrate tales related to him. Nearby you can visit Merlins Cave. Only ruins remain from the castle itself, but it is still impressive and you can marvel at the myths surrounding the place. You can also trace the castles history all the way back to the time of the Romans, which makes it a truly interesting place to visit. As with most castles, you will also be rewarded with breathtaking views that you can enjoy while sitting at the nearby cafe.
3. St. Mawes Castle
This is not a castle in the old-fashioned sense, it is actually a fortress built by Henry VIII. Despite this, it is very extravagantly decorated, so expect to be impressed by what you will see here. It also has a strategic purpose, as one of the forts built in the 1500s to protect against a possible invasion from France and Spain. It fell, however, in 1646 during an attack by Civil War Parliamentary forces and was left mostly in its original design. Therefore, if you want to visit a castle that will bring you back to the 16th Century, this is the perfect option for you.
4. Launceston Castle
With over 1000 years of history, this castle is a must-see if for history-lovers. It overlooks the Cornish landscape, and it is because of its location that it became so important. Construction started after the Norman Conquest, and eventually became a prison because of its unique architecture.
5. Restormel Castle
This 13th-century castle has survived the centuries and is still in good condition. Guests can still explore the principal rooms that are enclosed by a circular shell-keep. It played a part during the Civil War in 1644.
6. Pendennis Castle
Another fortress built by Henry VIII, it was meant to defend against invasion. Since then, it has seen a lot of action in many wars and during the English Civil War, was one of the last strongholds of the Royalists. Visitors can still see a working Tudor gun and even more exciting, how the Guardhouse would have been equipped during the First World War. You can also view an interactive exhibition that lets you experience battle and an attack on an observation post during the Second World War.
If you want your children to learn little bits of history and grow an appreciation for structures that have existed for centuries, then these six castles should definitely be on your itinerary next time you visit Cornwall for a holiday!
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