Corfe Castle has an imposing location on top of a steep chalk mound, guarding a gap in the chalk ridge of the Purbeck Hills. From this position the castle could be defended from attacks coming from Poole Harbour. Though most of the castle now lies in ruins, many of the original defences can still be seen. For example, the castle's first line of defence, the Outer Gatehouse and the South West Gatehouse, are sufficiently intact to give an indication of the power and size of what was once one of the strongest and most powerful castles in Britain.
Construction began around 1080 and, over many centuries, several kings developed its defences, adding a large keep, defensive ditches and curtain walls around the inner and outer baileys. Because of this fortification the Castle was known as 'the most secure of all English Castles'.
Corfe Castle, in common with the Tower of London, always had resident ravens. Legend had it that tragedy would befall the castle if the ravens left the castle. Supposedly the ravens left the castle in 1638. Three years later, during the English Civil War, the castle was besieged by troops of Oliver Cromwell and the castle was destroyed. Thankfully the ravens have returned and, along with falcons and buzzards, can be seen around the castle walls.
The grounds of the castle are only partly accessible. The many steep slopes and steps, uneven paths, and undulating terrain make it unsuitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. In spite of the hilly nature of the area picnics are a popular pastime among visitors. For those who prefer something a little more organised the National Trust has a licensed 18th-century tea-room complete with a tea garden. The tea-room serves light lunches and traditional Dorset cream teas with local clotted cream. Locally made souvenirs and gifts are available from the National Trust shop in nearby Corfe village.
Baby changing facilities are on hand and it is possible to hire baby back-carriers. A small donation is requested for this.
There is a pay and display car park at Castle View, off the A351. This is about an 800 yards walk uphill to the castle. The car park is free for members of the National Trust.