Train on Corfe Castle Station
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Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle Ruins
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Ruins of Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle, now a quintessential English village, can lay claim to a dramatic past. Site of a royal murder and a civil war siege, which leaves us with the National Trust owned ruins we see today. The ruins overlook a beautiful village, consisting of chocolate box Purbeck stone cottages. Surrounded by breath-taking countryside bordered by the Purbeck Hills, it is an exceptional place for views, walking, biking, photography and wildlife.

In AD 1090 following William’s conquest of Britain, the Corfe Norman Castle was begun. William’s son Henry I was crowned in 1100 and developed the castle keep and inner bailey. Henry left no legitimate male heir; his daughter Matilda claimed the throne, reinforced by an alliance with the House of Anjou through her husband Geoffrey Plantagenet. King Steven claimed the throne for the House of Blois and Civil War ensued. Corfe was besieged by Stephen, but Baldwin de Redvers held the castle for the Empress.

For the whole of the Medieval period, Corfe was a Royal Castle. Kings used it as one of the five royal castles. King John kept his crown jewels here. Edward II was imprisoned here. Much torturing and murder took place. Henry VII gave it to his mother but later it reverted to Henry VIII. Queen Elizabeth sold it to her Chancellor, Christopher Hatton, who fortified it further in readiness for the Spanish Armada.

The Hatton Family sold the castle to the Bankes family. Sir John Bankes was Lord Chief Justice to King Charles I. Civil war broke out and it was left to Lady Bankes (Brave Dame Mary) to defend the castle in 1643 and 1645 through two sieges. She was finally overcome by the treachery of one of her own officers, Colonel Pitman. Following an Act of Parliament, the Castle was then blown up from the inside by engineers.

Corfe Castle is perhaps most famous as the setting of a royal murder.  Elfrida invited the then king Edward to visit Corfe Castle when he was hunting nearby.  As he approached the castle, she greeted him with a cup of mead and when he bent down to take it, her attendant stabbed him, his horse then bolted and King Edward became Edward the Martyr.  Her son Ethelred became King but due to his age he was always known as Ethelred the Unready. Most modern visitors can overlook the castle bloody past,  the ruins have recently polled as one of the most romantic ruins in England.

Corfe Castle Attractions

The village of Corfe Castle
Take a Stroll Through

Corfe Castle Village

Evidence exists on Corfe Common on the southern edge of the village, of a civilisation in 6000 BC. Several barrows (burial mounds) can be seen after leaving West Street onto the common. These people would no doubt have migrated from Europe on the ‘land bridge’ of which the Purbeck hills formed a part.

Substantial evidence of Celtic and Roman settlements have been found, including a hoard of coins found on Corfe Common.  There is a legend – later chronicled by Thomas Hardy – of a whole Roman legion disappearing in Purbeck; only its ghost remains. Nevertheless, a massive battle ensued between the Celts and Romans at Maiden Castle resulting in the destruction of these Celts.

The village of Corfe Castle, predominantly lies along two roads, East and West St.  Generally but with a few exceptions the further away from the castle you are the newer the cottages become.  It is generally believed that alot of the stone cottages were built from the stone left over when the castle was demolished.  Corfe Castle is one of the prettiest villages in England, the cottages are mostly built from the local Purbeck stone and many have thatched roofs.

Corfe Castle is a prime spot for those who enjoy the countryside and walking.  A huge network of paths runs from the village, you can choose a vigorous stroll up the Purbeck Hills and take in the spectacular views of the Corfe Valley or Brownsea Island and Poole Harbour. You may prefer a less challenging stroll to Church Knowle or across Corfe Common.

The village square is home to a lovely selection of interesting shops, pubs and tea rooms.  The Greyhound Pub, with the castle in the background is supposed to be the most photographed pub in England.

Church Knowle, Corfe Castle
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Church Knowle

Church Knowle is situated about one mile west of Corfe Castle, four miles south of Wareham and about six miles west of Swanage.  This beautiful village lies at the foot of the Purbeck Hills, traditional Purbeck stone cottages lie on either side of the country road that passes through the village.

Church Knowle is home to both a lovely 17th Century pub (The New Inn, renowned for its Blue Vinney Soup) and the Margeret Green Rescue Centre , which hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Church Knowle is a small village on the Isle of Purbeck, in the county of Dorset, in the south of England.

The history of Church Knowle is included in Domesday Book, several settlements are recorded,  each associated with a small rectangular block of land the boundaries of which are still preserved today in continuous field banks. The settlements N. of the Corfe River were Whiteway, Barnston, Church Knowle and Bucknowle; those to the S. were West and East Bradle and West and East Orchard. Many of them have earthwork remains as well as later buildings, together with traces of their field systems. Only at Barnston is there a surviving medieval house, stone-built, with later alterations; it is a building of visual as well as archaeological note.

A well preserved Iron Age or Romano-British settlement lies on Smedmore Hill and is surrounded by fragmentary ‘Celtic’ fields. A mosaic pavement found near East Creech indicates a Roman villa, and several sites have produced evidence of shale working.

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Corfe Castle Holiday Cottage

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Ailwood Cottage
Nr Corfe Castle
4.7/5
1 Bedroom spacious holiday cottage near Corfe Castle. Nestled in the heart of the countryside within walking distance of Corfe Castle and the coast. Excellent quality detached accommodation which is highly recommended for walking and beach holidays.
2
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1
1
Holiday prices from  £423
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Church Cottage
Corfe Castle
4.6/5
Set in an idyllic location, this welcoming 18th century, Grade II listed character cottage stands in the heart of the picturesque village of Corfe Castle. Church Cottage boasts a beautiful garden and welcomes two dogs, making it an ideal base for a family get together.
6
3
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2
Holiday prices from  £475
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West Lodge
Nr Corfe Castle
5/5
Tastefully presented and finished to a high standard, this fabulous holiday home in Church Knowle, will appeal to those of you visiting with extended family and friends. Located just a mile outside Corfe Castle, as the crow flies between Kimmeridge Bay and the golden sands of Studland, you will be truly spoilt for things to see and do.
10
5
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Holiday prices from  £832
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Old Stable Cottage
Nr Wareham
0/5
A stylish bolt hole in the heart of ancient heathland, ideal for nature lovers and walkers - a perfect couples retreat.
4
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2
Holiday prices from  £325
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27 West Street Ph17 Web
The Old Butcher’s Cottage
Corfe Castle
4.9/5
The Old Butcher’s Cottage is bursting with character. Recently renovated throughout, this high spec property is the hideaway you’ve been searching for. Luxurious furnishings and exquisite linens adorn the bedrooms, living area and kitchen, providing stunning accommodation that the whole family will remember. Parties of all kinds can enjoy home cooked meals in the large open plan kitchen-lounge area and gather around the dining table for drinks or a board game.
6
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2
Holiday prices from  £512
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Honeysuckle Cottage
Kingston, Nr Corfe Castle
4.8/5
This two-bedroom + annex Purbeck stone cottage is tucked away in the very quiet village of Kingston, near Corfe Castle. Escape the everyday, with luxury interiors and enhancing views! Pet-friendly.
6
3
2
2
Holiday prices from  £858
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Castle View House
Corfe Castle
5/5
Escape the ordinary at Castle View House, a haven in the countryside that accommodates up to nine guests. With its enchanting views of Corfe Castle, stylish open-plan interiors, and dog-friendly atmosphere, this residence promises a unique and memorable retreat. Nestled in the heart of Corfe Castle village, it provides an ideal setting for switching off from the demands of everyday life and savoring every moment with friends and family. Whether you're captivated by the historic charm of the surroundings or indulging in the comfort of the stylish interiors, Castle View House invites you to create lasting memories in a tranquil and welcoming escape.
9
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4
2
Holiday prices from  £971
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Ridgeview Cottage
Corfe Castle
0/5
Located in the sought-after National Trust-owned village of Corfe Castle, Ridgeview Cottage is a modern, detached, family home found moments away from many of Dorset’s prolific attractions.
6
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Holiday prices from  £370
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Orchard Cottage
Nr Wareham
5/5
A romantic bolt hole for two, close to the Blue Pool and surrounded by open heathland - you will often see deer walking past your door. A nature lovers delight, ideal for walkers and those who are looking for a romantic retreat.
2
1
1
2
Holiday prices from  £295
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Gable Cottage
Corfe Castle
4.8/5
3 bedrooms. Located on a large corner plot, this light and airy family holiday home in Corfe Castle, offers comfortable furnishings and modern fittings. Conveniently situated close to the common and village amenities including the bakery, general store, tea rooms and pubs.
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Holiday prices from  £512
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Brook Cottage
Corfe Castle
4.8/5
Step back in time and enjoy this delightful semi-detached cottage, exuding charm and character throughout. Built in the early 1730s, this distinctive Grade II red bricked cottage, is set in the heart of the historic village of Corfe Castle. This cosy retreat, nestled in the heart of the Purbecks, would surely be able to tell a tale or two! Sitting peacefully at the bottom of the romantic Castle ruins, you will enjoy morning coffee with arguably one of the most impressive backdrops in Dorset.
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Holiday prices from  £611
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The Bungalow
Little Westport
Wareham
4.8/5
Little Westport is a charming 1960s four-bedroom Colt House, in a peaceful setting with a large garden overlooking the Purbeck Hills. A perfect location for a break to enjoy walking, cycling or exploring the area.
8
4
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Holiday prices from  £580
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