We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Fantastically restored castle (folly?) with great walks, places to explore, and a real sense of the original owner”

Durlston Country Park
Ranked #4 of 36 things to do in Swanage
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Fantastically restored castle (folly?) with great walks, places to explore, and a real sense of the original owner”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2014

I was skeptical about coming here, but am totally impressed and will happily come back again.
The castle - a proper castle with crenelations, towers, battlements and loos in the basement dungeons - has been very sensitively but daringly adapted and added to to make it fully functional and fit for purpose.
And that purpose is now to house a really good cafe, wildlife displays and information, exhibition space showcasing local artists and history, and private hire function space - all fully accessible, but with plenty of crannies to explore.
The update has sensitively incorporated the original owner's philosophical / scientific / natural history interest. A walk down to the giant globe is well worth it as would be a walk to the lighthouse.
I cannot commend the architects and the local authority who have done such and incredible job enough - this really is as good a restoration / re-purposing as you get.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Nicole-NSM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

794 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    499
    239
    37
    11
    8
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
High Wycombe, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
146 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“The children take charge”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2014 via mobile

The children came on a school visit previously so they escorted us on their return and we had a wet and blustery walk around the lighthouse and back to the castle watching the crashing waves. The castle was very interesting with well thought out displays and a surprisingly nice cafe and good service
Overall well recommended

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Tim W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
66 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Super Place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 February 2014

Now the castle has been renovated this is a great place for a visit with wildlife info, walks and possible sightings of Dolphins at sea.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Philippa80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Whitehills, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Astounding Views”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 February 2014

You just pay to park ( £2) and everything else is free! The Castle leads you from place to place really easily via steps and tunnels and lifts. There is an interesting history of the caste and of Swanage demonstrated by photos and peoples memories. There are great walks to be had and spectacular views and wonderful walk to the lighthouse. We had lunch in the café which was delish and very reasonable. Very dog friendly. Great long day out.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Debbie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
135 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Something for everyone here”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 January 2014

Restored in 2011 after a period of decline and decay, this Victorian castle has again found its place as an important landmark above Swanage town. There really is something for everyone, as the leaflet boasts, with lots of events through the year. But you can go there just to enjoy the fabulous walks and views over the bay and coastline, or explore the grounds around the castle with the historic and giant world globe surrounded by suitable quotations and information, or go into the visitor centre where there are superb exhibits on the history of the area, with interactive things to amuse children (and some adults!). From the car park there is a fascinating time-line of life on earth. Parking is pay and display but not expensive. And the Seventhwave cafe is also worth a visit (reviewed elsewhere). This Saturday in January the whole place was alive with happy families - that says it all! plenty of info on their website.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank EleanorStoneham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Durlston Country Park also viewed

Swanage, Isle of Purbeck
Swanage, Isle of Purbeck
 

Been to Durlston Country Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing