The Purbeck peninsula and Corfe Castle are one of the jewels of England. The peninsula offers in easy reach some of the most spectacular landscape in England; the quiet stillness and moorland of Poole harbour, the largest natural harbour in Europe; the best sandy beach on the south coast; a World Heritage Coast line of unique geology; some of the best walking along the South West Coast Path to Lulworth Cove and beyond and a traditional family seaside resort at Swanage. At its heart is one of the most beautiful and magical villages in England, Corfe Castle. If you enjoy the great outdoors, Corfe Castle is the place to stay and visit in all seasons.
Corfe Castle is a beautiful and historic village in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. It takes its name from the ruined castle.
Work on the castle was started in 1080 by William the Conqueror and continued by his successors. By about 1300 this was one of the strongest fortresses in the country. By 1585 the castle was considered out of date and Queen Elizabeth sold it. In 1635 it was bought by Sir John Bankes by which time it was again a magnificent building. During the Civil War, Sir John Bankes stayed with the King leaving his wife at Corfe. She and a few retainers twice withstood sieges by Parliamentary forces before the castle was captured by treachery, and destroyed in 1646. The castle was left to the National Trust in 1980.
Corfe Castle boasts two hotels, both with restaurants, two pubs, three tea rooms, a general store with a Post Office, an excellent baker, two jewellers, a National Trust shop and other attractions. Corfe Castle Model Village shows the castle as it was before it was destroyed. There is a regular bus service and a steam railway link to Swanage, with some diesel trains to Wareham.
The Isle of Purbeck is an unspoilt paradise in south east Dorset. It is called an “Isle” because it is largely surrounded by sea except where it is bounded by the River Frome. The Purbeck Hills run across the area with Corfe Castle in the largest gap. Entry points are the bridge over the River Frome at Wareham and the chain ferry at Sandbanks. A particularly mild and agreeable climate makes it one of the sunniest places in the country in summer and autumn.
The coastline from Lulworth to Swanage is part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. The Dorset Coastal Path follows the coast. Throughout the area there are many excellent walks suitable for all ages. There are safe beaches at Swanage and Studland, and other less sandy coves at Lulworth, Worbarrow, Kimmeridge, Chapman's Pool (pictured below), and Dancing Ledge.
Places to visit include Durlston Country Park, Putlake Adventure Farm, Farmer Palmers, Blue Pool, Monkey World, The Tank Museum, Sandbanks, Brownsea Island, Durdle Door and the deserted village of Tyneham.