Dunster Castle & Dunster Village are a great day trip if you are staying somewhere in Somerset or Exmoor National Park in England. Dunster has a range of heritage sites and cultural attractions which combine with the castle to make it a popular tourist destination. Dunster is a village, civil parish and former manor within Somerset’s English county. It’s just within the north-eastern boundary of the Exmoor National Park.
The area has been occupied since the Iron Age, but the village grew up around Dunster Castle which was built on the Tor by the Norman warrior William de Mohun shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066.
How To Get To Dunster
Many visitors arrive on the West Somerset Railway, a heritage railway running from Minehad to Bishops Lydeard. If you are not planning to do this, then the best way to get to Dunster is by car. You can rent a car in London or various other UK locations using Rentalcars which offers the best and cheapest rentals. It’s possible to get to Dunster from London using public transport by taking a train from Paddington to Taunton and then a bus from Taunton to Dunster.
Things To Do In Dunster
Dunster Castle is a former motte and bailey castle, now a country house, in the village of Dunster in Somerset, England. The castle lies on the top of a steep hill called the Tor, and has been fortified since the late Anglo-Saxon period. After the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century, William de Mohun constructed a timber castle on the site as part of the pacification of Somerset. A stone shell keep was built on the motte by the start of the 12th century, and the castle survived a siege during the early years of the Anarchy. At the end of the 14th century the de Mohuns sold the castle to the Luttrell family, who continued to occupy the property until the late 20th century.
Today the castle belongs to the UK National Trust and can be visited. Entrance is paid and ticketed, but National Trust members can visit for free. Parking is available right outside. The visit includes some of the castle’s rooms, stables, a crypt where you can learn about Dunster’s ghosts and it’s extensive gardens. There are tours several times a day to different parts of the castle that are not always open to the public.
Dunster’s functioning Watermill is now included as part of the Dunster Castle and Garden admission. A mill was first recorded to be present at the site in the Domesday Book, although the present building dates back to 1780. Situated on the River Avil, close to Gallow Bridge, it is fully restored and still used to grind flour – you can even buy some flour to take home.
Dunster Yarn Market
Dunster village was a centre for wool and cloth production and trade. The Highstreet is proudly home to a little monument of Dunster’s ancient past: Yarn market, a small octagonal structure built around a central pier would have provided people shelter from the rain for hundreds of years. There is information on the inner walls to help bring your imagination back to old days.
The benedictine Dunster Priory was established in Dunster about 1100. The Priory Church of St George, dovecote and tithe barn are all relics from the Priory.
If you follow the road out of Dunster towards the sea you will cross under the A39 into Dunster Marsh and find Dunster Beach beyond it. This beach is a large expanse of sand and shingle which overlooks the Bristol channel to the Welsh shoreline. In around 30 minutes you can walk along the beach to the coastal town of Minehead.
Where To Stay In Dunster
Although the village is pretty small, there are plenty of accommodation options in Dunster. Staying here for one night might be a magical thing! I’ve pre-filtered the best rated B&Bs, cottages, hotels, apartments in Dunster here. There are budget options but also some luxury stays!
Where To Eat And Drink In Dunster
There are several options to eat and drink in Dunster. For lunch or tea, check out the Chapel House Tea Room, Locks Tea Room and The Olde House Dunster. For dinner definitely visit the highly respected Reeves.
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