Set on a large natural mound, Launceston Castle dominates the surrounding landscape. Begun soon after the Norman Conquest, its focus is an unusual keep consisting of a 13th-century round tower built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, inside an earlier circular shell-keep. The tower top can be reached via an internal staircase but once reached, offers breathtaking views of the historic town and countryside.
Once the administrative headquarters for the Earl of Cornwall, it was a significant location where control could be kept over the various estates in the area.
The castle has a colourful history as a prison of which George Fox, founder of the Quakers, was the most famous prisoner. He suffered harsh confinement here in 1656. Launceston Castle was also used as the base for the Cornish Royalist defence of the county. You can explore the long history of the castle in a display which traces 1,000 years, with finds from site excavations.
Set within what is now the town of Launceston, the castle grounds are ideal for relaxing and picnicking while you enjoy the great views of the surrounding valley.
- The exhibition tracing 1,000 years of history
- 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