Things To Do in Corfe Castle
- Visit Corfe Castle
- Be a giant at Corfe Castle Model Village
- Get wet at the Dorset Waterpark and Mud Trail
- Snorkel at Kimmeridge Bay Marine Reserve
- Visit the Etches Collection Museum
- Hire a bike at Purbeck Cycle Hire
- Ride on the Swanage Railway
- Eat and drink after or before the beach at Clavell’s Restaurant
- Walk to The New Inn, a pub walkers destination
- Drink in the view at the Scott Arms
The ruins of Corfe Castle on the edge of the lovely stone village of Corfe are a famous Dorset landmark. The village and castle are unsurprisingly extremely popular. The village has a wide selection of shops and eateries plus a station for the Swanage Steam Railway. There are great walks across Corfe Common or the Purbeck Hills.
The outer lying villages of Kingston, Church Knowle and Kimmeridge all showcase rural Dorset at its best with stone cottages, pretty churches and amazing countryside views.
There has been a castle at this spot since William the Conqueror. The Norman castle was expanded through the ages until the English Civil War when it was taken by the Parliamentarians by an act of treachery and then destroyed. Today you can wander the battlements, learn the history at the Visitor Centre, enjoy a cream tea at the tea rooms and shop at the National Trust shop.
This model village is just behind the National Trust shop in the main square of Corfe Village. You would not know it was there, and there is an acre of grounds hidden behind the entrance. Not only do you get to tower over Corfe Castle as it would have been before the English Civil War, you can also walk through their gardens, play games and soak up the view of the real castle whilst enjoying tea and cake. It’s a great stop before or after you visit the ruins, as it really helps you to grasp the size of the destruction that took place in 1646.
Dorset Waterpark is on the edge of Corfe, you can see it from the top of the castle. It is a huge woodland water park set over two lakes, with each lake offering a different inflatable assault course. If you want to tire the family out then this is the place to go, hours of wet fun for all the family. If you fancy getting muddy, there’s a three km mud trail around the park featuring over 30 different obstacles, from monkey rings to rope bridges and from cargo nets to the dome.
Kimmeridge Bay is part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and is reached by a private toll road. The bay attracts windsurfers, surfers, sea kayakers, fishermen, divers, snorkelers, fossil hunters and rock-poolers. The smooth shale ledges run out into the sea providing shallow swimming for children and the famous rock pools offer hours of fun looking for the sea creatures that live in them. There is a marine reserve visitor centre with some good displays of the sea life, plus you can also follow the snorkel trail from it. The beach is dog friendly all year and there are toilets and showers at one of the car parks. If you want to avoid the crowds then this is definitely a beach with facilities where you can spend the day.
This is one man’s life’s work collecting fossils around Kimmeridge Bay. Experience the 150 million year old animals up close and then view their fossils. They truly come to life in front of your eyes in the “Aquarium” and you can journey back through time to the age of the dinosaurs. Once you have visited the museum you might like to have a go at finding your own fossils at Kimmeridge Bay.
Purbeck Cycle Hire is located at the Norden Steam Railway Station car park on the edge of Corfe village. Even if you have your own bikes this is a great spot to start a ride from, you are quickly off the tarmac and onto tracks and trails. The trails are relatively flat and you can get advice from Purbeck Cycle Hire based on your ability. Ride for a few hours, or make a day of it and take a picnic to Studland, have a swim on one of the amazing beaches to cool off and then ride back again.
Corfe village has a station in the centre and on the outskirts lies Norden Station where there is easy parking. Corfe is the end of the 6-mile line from Swanage and its sandy beaches. The Steam trains run 364 days of the year and is a great way to view the countryside. There are also special events, driver experiences and dining trains. It’s a very unique yesteryear experience for all the family.
This is one of those restaurants that once you find it and try it, you just keep coming back. It is located in the centre of the village of Kimmeridge opposite the Etches Collection Museum. This family-owned restaurant sources most of its meat from the family farm and fish from local fishermen. The food reflects the landscape, it is always fresh and vibrant. The service is excellent and you can dine “al fresco” if the weather allows or take a seat inside. It is always best to book for lunch, as it can get very busy especially if the weather is good. It’s a good place to stop at any time of the day, even if it is to just grab an ice cream on the way home from the beach.
If you want to take a break from walking the South West Coast Path then this a perfect pub to visit. Set in a valley at the centre of the village, this very characterful pub is a great base to set out from and to return to after walking the Purbeck hills and fields. The pub specialises in fresh fish and local produce as much as possible. In the winter months you can cosy up to the fire, in summer you can sit outside in the large beer garden gazing at the hills beyond.
This is the pub with “THE VIEW!”. Sitting above Corfe village, the pub looks over the castle ruins with Poole Harbour in the background. You can even see the steam train in the distance as it goes back and forth. The pub is a bit like a rabbit warren on many levels with the main bar at its centre. The food and drink are as locally sourced as possible. The summer months are when the pub truly wins, with its large garden you can just take in the view whilst enjoying a drink and jerk chicken from their very own jerk chicken shack.