Pendennis Castle is a new one for us. I’m a real fan of British history, and have a soft spot for castles and stately homes. With the summer holidays here, it was a prime opportunity to explore somewhere new and child friendly. We decided to visit Pedennis Castle for one of their Legendary Joust days that run throughout the summer.
Pendennis Castle is part of English Heritage. It was built on the say so from Henry VIII in the 1540s as part of extensive defence preparations. It sits on Falmouth’s coast, at Pendennis Point. The castle has a 180 degree view of Cornwall’s fabulous coastline. You can see across to The Roseland Peninsula and St Anthony Head, St Mawes, to Flamouth’s neighbour, Flushing, and to Swanpool and Pennance Point on the other side. It’s worth visiting just for the views alone!
In Pendennis Castle.
Pendennis castle isn’t massive. Let’s face it, it was built for defence rather than habitation. That said, it’s is a good place to explore with children. Like St Mawes castle on the opposite headland, Pendennis Castle has strong links with World War II as one of the main defence positions, so aside from all the 16th century history there’s some war shelters and gun forts to check out. Once in the castle, we wasted no time climbing the slender, winding stairs, taking us to the top. As you can imagine, the views are better than ever. There’s cannons to check out (loads of them, in fact) and snippets of information on offer about Pendennis Castle’s history.
While jousting was on the menu, it wasn’t the only event on offer. Aside from exploring Pendennis castle, there was an impressive falconry display, medieval coronations, and some medieval music action. These were mostly interactive, giving children the chance to try medieval instruments and be part of traditional celebrations.
The archery lessons were a hit. Obviously archery is pretty cool anyway but the men who were offering the lessons kept up the comedic medieval spirit throughout. Similarly, at different points in the day there were opportunities to take part in a sword fight. This was really good fun and the kids loved it. Naturally it offered an opportunity for them to let off a bit of steam and get a bit competitive. And no, despite what he says, my son didn’t beat me!
In preparation for the jousting, which took part in the late afternoon, we watched the Mounted Skill at Arms at lunchtime. Here the knights took part in a series of challenges obviously to prove who was the best, and who was going to win the joust. I think it was the medieval equivalent to boxers having a stare off before a fight. The challenges involved them trying to get a cabbage (medieval polo, maybe?) and secure other objects. The jousting was worth staying for too. It’s drew a crowd at the end of the day, with suspense, gasps and clapping coming from the spectators.
We left Pendennis Castle feeling tired from all the action and fresh air but satisfied that we’d experienced a day out with a difference.