Things to see and do

Range finder at Pendennis Castle

First World War Exhibition

Immerse yourself in the brand new exhibition at the castle: ‘Fortress Falmouth and the First World War’ which focuses on the role of Pendennis and Falmouth during the 1914-18 conflict.

The exhibition is packed with thought-provoking, and at times very moving, displays of letters, photos and artefacts from the period.  As the first port of call on the English Channel, this is just one of the more recent times that the castle has been called into action.

Find out how you can get involved as a volunteer welcoming visitors to the exhibition.

Information panel inside the Discovery Centre at Pendennis Castle

Discovery Centre

Find out more about the role the castle played in defence of the realm in the Discovery Centre.

In what was formerly the Field Train Shed, there are now many interactive activities revealing how the castle worked as a defensive fortification, and exploring the development of coastal weaponry.

Pendennis has played a key role in the defence of this coastline along with its sister castle, St Mawes, on the opposite headland. Built as part of a chain of coastal fortresses along the south coast, the castle has seen action in many conflicts since Tudor times. 

Gunners meal on the table in the Victorian War Shelter at Pendennis Castle

Victorian Defences

Visit the Victorian War Shelter, originally built as a gunpowder store, it now shows what it would have looked like when the gunners used it. They ate and slept here in times of emergency. You can see the meal left on the table as if they have just been called out to man the guns.

Continue around to One Gun Battery where you can see the battery that once housed a 'disappearing gun'. Then descend through the rock cut tunnel to the 6 inch guns of Half Moon Battery.

Gun being fired at Pendennis Castle

Guns and Cannons

Don't just see history, hear it too. Between April and October (except on event days), the noon day gun is fired using one of the original working guns out of the 37 on display at the castle.

The guns used are a World War II 25-pounder, an American built 1943 Howitzer and an 18th century 18-pounder Blomefield.

The team has been specially trained to fire the guns and will give a short introductory talk before firing.

Cannons and coastal views at Pendennis, Cornwall

Coastal Views

Dominating a high, rocky headland thrust out into the open sea, the great fortress of Pendennis has protected the entrance to the River Fal and its deep estuary, Carrick Roads, for nearly 500 years.

Pendennis offers breath-taking 360 degree views over the town of Falmouth, nearby beaches and out to sea.  Look out for sea-faring vessels of many kinds and a huge range of wildlife, birds and coastal creatures.

With so many vantage points to choose from you can always find a spot to admire the view, soak up the sun or sit and watch the world go by.

The castle keep at Pendennis, Cornwall

The Castle Keep

Step into the noise and drama of a castle under attack in the recreated gun deck in the castle keep, with its cramped and smoky conditions.

Climb the spiral stairs to the roof to experience its unparalleled views out to sea, and see why the castle's headland location was so strategically significant

Built by Henry VIII in response to threats of invasion by France and Spain, Pendennis was built with a guardhouse and surrounding gun platform. Although designed as a gun fort, from the middle of the 17th century the castle was used as accommodation, offices, officers' mess and storage.

Inside the light and airy cafe at Pendennis Castle, Falmouth

A bite to eat

Our bright and airy new café boasts a wide selection of meals freshly prepared at the castle with a menu which includes both local and seasonal Cornish dishes and those with a historical Tudor twist, inspired by Pendennis Castle’s history as one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses.

Children climbing the stairs outside at Pendennis Castle

Castle Tours

Go behind closed doors at the castle with a free guided tour and discover the stories of the people who lived and worked here.

The Castle Tour includes spectacular views from the roof of the keep, the gun decks and Governor's private rooms, as well as many tales of royal visitors.

Or go underground on the Half Moon Battery Tour and experience a wartime raid as you explore the magazine where the ammunition was stored.

The free guided tours are available throughout most days and last around 45 minutes each. Please ask at the shop for details on arrival.  

Plan your visit to Pendennis Castle today.

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