20 October 2020
Crooked houses sit on cobbled streets in beautiful Corfe Castle village, all overlooked by the ruined castle this settlement is known for.
It’s an enchanting place for a holiday escape with family or friends and there are so many things to do in and around Corfe Castle, you’re sure to have a blast.
The history of Corfe Castle dates back to prehistoric times and it has a remained an important destination over the centuries, yet always stayed a small, compact village. If you want to get out and about during your time here, there is a train station in Corfe Castle and with so many things to do throughout Dorset, you’ll soon be drawn to one of the many delightful attractions, activities and secret places that can be found throughout this county.
Take a look through our list of the top things to do in Corfe Castle or head over to our collection of holiday cottages in Corfe Castle to book your next South Coast break.
1. National Trust Corfe Castle
First on anyone’s list during a holiday to Corfe Castle is a visit to the magical castle ruins that tower over the village.
This ancient fortress was originally built for William the Conqueror’s son, King Henry I, during the 12th century and yet is only a small part of this village’s impressive history. Long before then, this hillside was settled by Saxons, Vikings and Romans and there is even evidence of prehistoric activity with several barrows on the southern edge of the village.
Walk across the bridge to this thousand-year-old castle, today cared for by the National Trust, and see the fallen walls, secret places, and ‘murder holes’. You can even bring the family pet along on this dog-friendly day out! Click here to check out our other favourite National Trust places to visit in Dorset too!
2. Corfe Castle Model Village
After your visit to the magnificent castle ruins, take in Corfe Castle fortress and village on a smaller scale over at Corfe Castle Model Village. This Isle of Purbeck attraction opened its doors in 1966 to visitors and depicts the castle and village as it was in 1646 before it was destroyed during the English Civil War.
Aside from the delightful model village, you could also play a game of Giant Draughts, Hi-Tower or Corfe Croquet in the garden. There’s an acre of outdoor space for you to explore, made up of traditional English garden, a wildlife area with a bird hide, and a children's Enchanted Fairy Walk and Garden. Finish your visit with a cuppa in the Courtyard Café.
3. Dorset Adventure Park
If you’re got excitable children with you, or indeed a tribe of sporty adults, the Dorset Adventure Park is a fun-filled day out. The main attraction is the water park where the floating obstacle provides a real challenge; it’s impossible to visit this watery playground without getting soaked!
If you’d rather keep both feet on the ground, but don’t mind if you stay dry, the muddy obstacle course if the one to have a go at. With muddy crawls, balance beams and ropes, cargo nets and mud slides, you’ll be sure to test your balance and strength on this ‘tough mudder’-style obstacle course. Dorset Adventure Park prices start at £15 if you book ahead.
The Snack Shack is the place to grab hot food when you’re ready to warm up, although you may rather simply race back to your holiday cottage to cosy up in front of the wood burner or sink into a bubbling hot tub after an exhausting activity day.
Another way to burn off steam, this time while getting to know the Isle of Purbeck coastline, is with Fore/Adventure. Previously Studland Sea School, they host 2-hour trips and full-day expeditions into the great outdoors.
Paddle your way beneath dramatic chalk cliffs in a kayak, go snorkelling and you might spot seahorses in this unique ecosystem, or enjoy a session of paddleboarding from the sheltered shores of Studland Bay, 5.5 miles from inland Corfe Castle.
If water sports aren’t your thing, but you’re still keen to get close to nature, they offer bushcraft sessions too where you can learn a few survival essentials of how to build shelter, make a fire, identify plants, and carve tools. Meanwhile, foodies will be keen to try one of their foraging courses where you can search for plants, seaweed, cockles and other seafood before taste-testing your finds with a wild cookout on the beach.
5. Cycling around Corfe Castle
With cycle trails that will lead you through ancient forests, along the Jurassic Coast, past Old Harry Rocks and mighty Corfe Castle, you can experience the best of the Isle of Purbeck when on a bike ride through this impressive region.
If your bikes don’t fit onto your car, or you don’t have your own, you can hire bikes from Cyclexperience who can also provide you with a few route options for your travels. Families with youngsters can take their time on shorter routes while keen cyclists might be able to take on the entire peninsula during a holiday to Corfe Castle.
A couple of routes you may like to try are the Bankes Arms Pub Loop from Corfe Castle, a 13.5-mile trail which ends at a welcoming pub, or the longer 17-mile Corfe Castle view Loop from Furzebrook.
6. Walks near Corfe Castle
Step out on foot to take in the serene rural landscape and the dramatic coastline in this unique Dorset holiday destination. Walking is always a fantastic walk to get to know the area and gives you the chance to stop and investigate any new places to uncover along the way. From secret coastal coves and beaches, to ancient forests and eclectic cafes, see the best that Corfe Castle and the Isle of Purbeck have to offer on a walking holiday.
Well-travelled hikers and ramblers could head to St Aldhem’s Chapel along the challenging 16-mile Winspit Loop from Kingston, while those preferring a shorter, relaxing walk could tackle the 3.2-mile Purbeck Way and West Hill, or the 1-mile Studland Wood Walk, a wonderful trail where you can keep an eye out for wildlife.
7. Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum
Indulge your inner history enthusiast with a stop at the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum, an intriguing museum providing insights into the ball clay mining of the region. This rare white clay is only found in a few places across the world, and has been used in Dorset since prehistoric times, yet it first began to be mined on a large scale during the 17th century. Horse-drawn wagons would carry the clay to Poole Harbour where it was then shipped on to London; later, steams trains would ferry the clay to the harbour.
The clay industry was a huge employer, supporting many families in Corfe Castle and the surrounding villages, and this museum provides visitors with an insight into their lives that revolved around clay mining.
8. Corfe Castle Steam Train
Chug through the English countryside on the Swanage Railway which passes through Corfe Castle on its travels around the Isle of Purbeck. This heritage railway service provides a list of delightful events throughout the year including taster driving and Christmas days where children can meet Santa during your trip.
Settle in and soak up views of lush Purbeck countryside and white chalk cliffs, characterful villages and the imposing castle ruins on a steam train ride with Swanage Railway. There’s food at both Norden Station and Swanage Station, as well as tea, coffee and cake that can be purchased from the buffet cart during your journey.
9. Kimmeridge Bay
No holiday to Corfe Castle or the Isle of Purbeck is complete without a trip to the beach! Kimmeridge Bay is one of the most breathtaking along this coastline, and a marine Special Area of Conservation, boasting excellent rock pooling and one of the safest snorkelling sites in Dorset.
The Wild Seas Centre can be found by the slipway and houses exhibitions and a small aquarium you can visit. During the summer, there’s a snorkel trail you can follow, and overlooking the bay sits Clavell Tower, and old folly which inspired works by P.D. James and Enid Blyton. Walk to the tower for views along this important bay and beach.
10. Swanage Pier
Finally, there’s a host of wonderful things to do in Swanage, 5.5. miles from Corfe Castle. One of the town’s top attractions has to be beautiful Swanage Pier. While there are no amusements or stalls, this Victorian pier is simply a superb place to take the family or enjoy a dog walk with wonderful views of the coast.
Take a few photos and admire the views from this enchanting old walkway before popping into a seafront bistro or café for a cuppa or a hearty lunch by the sea.
Things to do in Corfe Castle map
Begin planning your Corfe Castle holiday
Before you set off, a great place to start is the Corfe Castle Tourist Information Centre which offers up further insights and advice on top walks, wonderful cycle trails and best things to do around Corfe Castle.
If you’re looking forward to a big breakfast out or evening dinner in a local pub, a few great places to eat in Corfe Castle include Oliver’s Corfe Castle, Season’s Green, and Castle Inn.
Meanwhile, there are many more enchanting towns and villages near Corfe Castle where you may like to stay, such as the bustling, family-favourite resort of Swanage, the exquisite coastal village of Studland, or the rural and tranquil setting of Worth Matravers.
Browse our collection of characterful cottages and endearing boltholes and find your perfect place to stay in Dorset in our collection of Corfe Castle cottages.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.