If you plan on taking a trip to Somerset, visiting the stunning Dunster Castle is a must-do. Standing proudly on a hillside surrounded by thriving gardens and views of beautiful landscape, the castle represents the historical grandeur that Great Britain is known for. Thousands of tourists and locals flock to this National Trust site each year, which is why we always recommend it to our guests at Apple Tree Hotel.

If spending time exploring historical houses or museums is a way to enjoy passing the time when visiting new locations, you should plan a trip to Dunster Castle. In this article, we will share our complete guide to this magical setting and some top tips on things you should do when exploring. Keep reading this blog to find out more about the breath-taking location that is Dunster Castle to help you plan an amazing day out.

The History of Dunster Castle

Dunster Castle is a 13th century building with a long history that dates back to the days of Saxon invasions. Positioned up high with brilliant views of the surrounding areas and the coast, the castle was passed between various victors over the years. From the 1066 Norman invasion, which saw the spot awarded to William de Mohun, to the sale of the property in 1376 to the Luttrell family, the castle has seen many notable events (if only the walls could tell tales!).

The castle as it stands today resulted from a modernisation project spearheaded by Mary Tregonwell in 1680. This included amending the layout and creating more communal spaces where different events and occasions could occur. The castle was then passed down through various generations, and in 1816, its owner, John Luttrell, decided to open the site to the public. The castle switched between being open and a residency until ownership was passed to the National Trust in 1976 when the last living member of the Luttrell family decided to part ways with the landmark.

Things to See and Do During Your Visit to Dunster Castle

If a visit to Dunster Castle and the nearby village is something you are interested in, you will not be disappointed. From the fusion architecture to the subtropical plants that represent the building’s long history, there are many reasons why this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. Below we have gathered our top recommendations for things to do that we guarantee can entertain people of all ages.

Visit the Working Watermill

Dunster Castle is not just famous for being a stunning landmark but also a local producer of flour thanks to the traditional watermill. Featuring a mix of original tools and modern upgrades, the watermill is a special place to learn about food manufacturing, which paints a picture of the different periods that the castle has seen.

You can also take home a souvenir from the experience by shopping the extensive range of products created with the flour. From bags of the end product to delicious porridge, the mill offers plenty of treats to select from. Furthermore, many local companies use products from the watermill, meaning you may even experience the produce elsewhere while exploring the local village.

Ideal to engage children and interest adults, a visit to the watermill is sure to offer a unique, history-filled experience.

Exploring the Stately Rooms

Most of the castle is also available to explore either on your own as part of informative guided tours. There are lots of sights to see from the impressive 17th century library to the wooden-carved grand staircase. The items left behind from past owners and residents also create a unique viewing experience with each person getting the chance to truly immerse themselves in a piece of British history.

Whilst the castle looks amazing from the outside, the best way to understand the true grandeur of the building is to spend some time exploring the various rooms.

Spending Time in the Subtropical Gardens

Known for its extreme diversity of plants, the gardens at Dunster Castle encompass four different microclimates, making them a must–visit. The stunning collection has been amassed over the centuries, with plants representing the various cultural influencers and visitors the castle has welcomed.

When visiting the gardens, you can explore The South Terrace, The River Garden, The Yew Bank and The Keep, all different parts of the impressive landscape. Many sights in the gardens date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, meaning those interested in history and the great outdoors can combine their passions in one visit.

Grab a Bite to Eat

After a day of strolling around the castle and its grounds, you can grab a warm drink and slice of homemade cake in the various eateries on-site. Exploring and walking is sure to create an appetite which is why these spots are always a popular option.

Each offers sensational views of the castle and uses ingredients from the local area, including flour from the watermill. If you choose to bring your own snacks, there is even a beautiful picnic spot available which overlooks the Bristol Channel. Whether you plan on grabbing a traditional afternoon tea or indulging in a lighter bite, there are lots of mouth-watering spots waiting to greet you during a visit.

When Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Dunster Castle?

As with other National Trust sites, Dunster Castle is open all year, but timings can differ depending on the season, so it’s important to always check the schedule when you plan on visiting. The beautiful landscape can be enjoyed at all times of the year as different plants are waiting to flourish no matter the season; however, if there is a particular garden area you want to enjoy or are not a fan of the windy weather associated with visiting high-positioning buildings, it’s best to make an educated decision about when you visit.

We think it’s amazing at any time of the year, so in our opinion, there is never a bad time to take a trip to this landmark.

Where Is the Best Place to Stay When Visiting Dunster Castle?

Hopefully we have now given you enough insights into Dunster Castle!

If you are wanting to visit Somerset, our family-friendly hotel is a lovely place to stay. As well as offering you a comfy place to rest and unwind after busy days of exploring, our establishment offers a range of entertainment on-site. We offer a delicious dining experience, making the most of local produce, have areas for relaxation and can even accommodate corporate clients.

Should you wish to see all of this for yourself, why not check out our online gallery! Whether you are visiting the area specially to see the unique Dunster Castle, have other holiday plans or are on a business trip, we offer something for everyone.

Did you enjoy this information guide to Dunster Castle? Somerset has plenty of other treats to offer so we think you will find these blogs an equally interesting read: