Launceston Castle towers over the surrounding landscape, overlooking the historic town and countryside from its impressive mound.
The original castle was built soon after the Norman Conquest by William the Conqueror’s half-brother, and then greatly revamped through the Middle Ages. Today, it offers a fascinating glimpse at Cornwall’s medieval past – as well as unmissable panoramic views of the valley below.
Steeped in history, Launceston was once the ancient capital of Cornwall. And the castle was its headquarters, dominating the town’s skyline and controlling the various estates in the area. The granting of the castle to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, marks the high point of its history, as he extensively remodelled it in the mid-thirteenth century. He expanded the castle’s defences and, unusually, constructed a new tower within the remains of the older one
After Richard’s death, the castle became a county jail. George Fox, founder of the Quakers, was the castle’s most famous prisoner, suffering harsh confinement here in 1656. He recorded it in his journal as a ‘nasty stinking place’.
With its beautiful setting away from the hustle and bustle of the town, the castle is an ideal spot for relaxing and enjoying a picnic. Those who climb to the top of the High Tower will be rewarded, so have your cameras at the ready.
- The climb up to the battlements for impressive views of the town
- The opportunity to picnic in grounds with wide reaching views of the countryside
- The North Gatehouse which once served as a prison
The Launceston Castle team are working hard to keep everyone safe. Find out more here about the safety measures we have in place.