An ancient castle and comfortable country home with dramatic vistas and subtropical gardens.
Dramatically sited on a wooded hill, a castle has existed here since at least Norman times, with an impressive medieval gatehouse and ruined tower giving a reminder of its turbulent history.
The long and eventful history of Dunster Castle starts with the de Mohuns who arrived soon after William the Conqueror became King of England in 1066. William de Mohun constructed a timber castle on the site of a Saxon hill fort as part of the pacification of Somerset.
In 1376 the de Mohuns sold the castle to the Luttrell family, who were responsible for most of what we see at Dunster today. They built the gatehouse in 1420, created a Jacobean mansion in 1617, defended and saved the castle during the English Civil War and updated the castle in the Victorian era.
The castle that you see today became a lavish country home during the 19th century for the Luttrell family, who lived here for 600 years. The castle boasts spectacular views toward the Bristol channel, the Quantock hills and up to the moors of Exmoor.
The result of 100s of years of planning, building and restoration a walk around the gardens at Dunster Castle takes you around the world and through four different microclimates. The South Terrace, River Gardens, the Yew Bank and the Keep Garden.
A native micro-climate, the River Garden is a wild, wooded area. Green throughout the year during spring it's full of colour as the magnolia trees bloom. During summer the giant rhubarb reaches its peak in growth. It is home to some rare species including the Handkerchief tree, grown from seeds smuggled back from Australia by Alys Luttrell in her purse in the 1920's.
Bridges cross the River Avill which runs through the garden and lead to walks on the wider estate. At the end of the garden is the working watermill.
Dunster Working Watermill is a rare type of mill called a double overshot. Although only recently restored there has been a mill at Dunster since the medieval period, grinding corn and other grains into flour for baking and cooking. Visit Dunster Watermill to watch the waterwheels spin and see the miller and his team in action making Dunster Castle flour.
Factfile: Group organisers are offered a complementary visit to help plan your day.
Shuttle bus to castle entrance available.
Coaches to enter from through village with drop off point at the Ticket Office. Coaches park free at Dunster Steep village car park. Tours available (please check availability at the time of your booking). Groups of more than 15 people welcome with prior booking. Group discounts apply.
For more information or to book your group visit, please call 01643 821314 or email [email protected]