Things to see and do
Defending the Castle
The defensive Gatehouse once had a drawbridge and gun ports in the towers. You can still see the slots overhead where objects and hot liquids were thrown down and the groove for the portcullis which could be dropped to crush attackers.
Find the blocked opening at the rear of the passage created by treasure hunters seeking a hidden room - with no success!
The Elizabethan House
In the 16th century, Sir Edward, Lord Seymour, whose father had bought the castle, developed it into a fine house. With large windows offering stunning views from the four floors, it was typical of Elizabethan hunting lodges. Ornate mouldings over the windows can still be seen along with fragments of carving which now lie in the courtyard surrounded by the ruins of this once lavish mansion.
The Great Hall
You can still spot the remains of the arched loggia which lead from the main courtyard to the Great Hall. This was once the most magnificent room in the castle with an extravagant plaster ceiling, marble fireplace and wall tapestries. Now you can only imagine the grandeur of the room from the ruined walls and window openings.
Explore the first floor
Climb the steps to the first floor of the medieval gatehouse to the high roofed chamber and you will be rewarded with a beautiful 15th century wall painting. It depicts the adoration of the Magi - one of the earliest showing a black wise man in England. You can also see the Dominican altarpiece before crossing to the only medieval wall walk to survive almost to its original height.
The Pomeroys and the Seymours
The Pomeroy family were once prominent landowners in Devon and started the castle construction - one of the last fortresses built by a non-royal founder. See where their coat of arms were originally displayed on the gatehouse.
The most famous owner of the castle was Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector to Henry VIII's only legitimate son from Jane Seymour. Find out more.
Cooking 17th century style
In the South Range kitchen, you can see the great fireplace flanked by pastry or baking ovens in each corner. Look up into the flue and you can see where meats were smoked - cutting-edge technology in its day. In the North range kitchen you can see two fireplaces as well as a bakery with its own two ovens for cooking delicacies, the buttery, brewhouse and laundry.
Listen to the audio tour
Hear the stories of the previous residents of the castle including the Seymours and Pomeroys in an entertaining look back at the history of the castle with a torrid past. Discover the dungeon in Margaret's Tower, where Margaret Pomeroy was said to have been held and how daily life in Devon's finest mansion was for those living above and below stairs
The castle grounds are a haven for walkers with the woodlands offering a great opportunity to view the castle from different perspectives. Follow the John Musgrave Trail to enjoy beautiful views up to the castle from the lake. It's a great place to spot wildlife and birds as well as wild flowers. Dogs on leads are welcome too on the woodland walks.