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Dunster Castle

Visited June 2009



Location Dunster, Nr. Minehead, Somerset
Entrance Fee Yes 
Railway Station       West Somerset Railway- Tourist Line
Parking Yes
Facilities Toilets, Shop, Cafe









Set in beautiful scenery, this castle is one of the jewels in the  National Trust’s crown, with excellent facilities, beautifully maintained gardens and plenty to see in the castle itself. There is a steep walk from the car park up to the castle itself- unfortunately this gives plenty of scope for grizzling (and that is just the adults!!), but if you can coax everyone up the hill it is well worth it. There are several garden walks, and the views are amazing.




The castle itself as we see it today is built on top of the remains of a Norman castle, and was owned by the Luttrel family for about 600 years before being given to the National Trust. A visit inside is a must- and the ever patient NT staff are very good with children, one of them let our 4 year old have a go at banging the gong in the entrance hall, we wondered as the sound reverberated around the building if this was a form of secret code to the other staff to let them know that kids were on their way round, as some of them seemed to be expecting us. My only complaint about the place was that lovely as the staff were, there were quite a few elderly visitors that day who did not share an appreciation of children. However, as children are the NT members of the future, I tend to just try and laugh off any dirty looks and get on with our visit.




The facilities in the castle are good, with clean toilets, a lovely shop, and plenty of picnic benches but no cafes, to buy food you need to head down into the charming village of Dunster, nestled below the castle. Do take a few minutes to look at the ancient Yarn Market on the main street, then literally take your pick of eateries of all types and price brackets. Alternatively take a walk through the National Trust grounds to the river Avill, and follow along its banks for about 10 minutes, a pleasant walk which will take you past the lovers bridge (you will know why its called that when you see it!) and lead you Dunster Water Mill, a historical mill with a tea room with plenty of indoor and garden seating .As well as being a tea room , the restored mill is open to visitors if the castle has not quite fulfilled your history quota for the day.


UPDATE 2019- we have added all new photos after a recent re-visit(May 2019) In the meantime a children's play area has been built in the castle woods, and there is now a small refreshments shop in the castle building but without actual tables, so you have to buy the food and take it to a bench in the garden to eat. We also visited the reservoir which formerly fed the fountains, which somehow we had missed last time. This has steps down to a viewing platform and makes an interesting underground attraction. We can also confirm we did not experience any grumpy elderly visitors this time (We had our own grumpy teenager with us instead!)




More info: The National Trust Dunster Castle  

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