dunstanburg castle

Dunstanburg Castle: Sentinel of England’s Coast

For centuries, England’s coastal castles have stood as ancient fortresses, protecting its shores from invasion and preserving its rich maritime heritage. Among these iconic landmarks is Dunstanburg Castle, a towering sentinel that has stood the test of time and continues to captivate visitors from all over the world.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dunstanburg Castle is an important coastal stronghold in England’s history.
  • The castle was constructed in the 14th century by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and played a strategic role in numerous conflicts.
  • Its architectural marvels and unique charm make it stand out among other coastal castles.
  • The castle is surrounded by legends and tales, adding to its mystique and allure.
  • Visitors can explore the castle’s impressive features and scenic surroundings, making it a photographer’s paradise.

History of Dunstanburg Castle

Dunstanburg Castle was constructed in the 14th century by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, as a symbol of his power and to serve as a fortified stronghold against potential invaders. The castle’s location on the Northumberland coast made it a strategic location during numerous conflicts, including the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War.

The castle changed hands several times throughout its history, with the Percy family taking ownership in the 15th century and later becoming an important stronghold for the Royalists during the Civil War. However, the castle was ultimately destroyed by the Parliamentarians in 1648, leaving it in ruins that still stand to this day.

Dunstanburg Castle’s enduring presence as an ancient fortress serves as a testament to England’s coastal defenses throughout history, providing a glimpse into the country’s rich maritime heritage.

Architectural Marvels of Dunstanburg Castle

Dunstanburg Castle is not only a formidable fortress, but also a stunning architectural achievement. Its unique design features and imposing ruins make it stand out amongst other coastal castles.

One of the most striking features of Dunstanburg Castle is its great gatehouse, which once served as the main entrance to the castle. The gatehouse is a true marvel of medieval engineering, with imposing towers and defensive battlements looming above the entrance. This impressive structure is a testament to the importance of grandeur and symbolism in medieval castle architecture.

Another notable architectural feature of Dunstanburg Castle is its curtain wall, which surrounds the castle’s inner Bailey. The wall is constructed from large stones and is over five meters high in places. It provided an excellent defensive barrier against enemy attack, as well as a stunning visual display of the castle’s grandeur and power.

The Keep

At the heart of Dunstanburg Castle lies the keep, a cylindrical tower that rises to a height of over twenty meters. The keep is one of the finest examples of medieval castle architecture in England and is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of its builders. The tower is constructed from hard-wearing sandstone and boasts stunning views of the surrounding coastline and countryside.

Inside the keep, visitors can marvel at the intricate stonework and appreciate the attention to detail that went into its construction. The keep’s entrance is guarded by a heavy wooden door, and its interior is divided into several levels, with spiral staircases connecting each floor.

The Chapel

Another highlight of Dunstanburg Castle is its well-preserved chapel. The chapel’s ornate design and exquisite stonework make it one of the most impressive examples of medieval church architecture in England. Visitors can explore the chapel’s interior and admire its beautiful stained glass windows, intricate carved stonework, and unique design features.

Overall, Dunstanburg Castle is a masterpiece of medieval castle architecture. Its imposing ruins, unique design features, and stunning coastal location make it a must-see for anyone interested in coastal castles and ancient fortresses.

Legends and Tales of Dunstanburg Castle

Dunstanburg Castle is steeped in myths and legends that have been passed down through generations. Whether it’s the ghost of Sir Guy the Seeker who haunts the castle grounds or the hidden treasure buried somewhere within the castle walls, tales of Dunstanburg Castle never fail to captivate visitors.

“Legend has it that Sir Guy the Seeker still roams the castle grounds in search of his lost love. Visitors have reported seeing his ghostly apparition wandering the castle walls.”

Another popular story tells of a secret tunnel that runs from the castle to the nearby village of Embleton. It is said that this tunnel was used by smugglers to transport contraband goods without detection from the authorities.

“Rumors of hidden treasure buried within the castle walls have circulated for centuries. Some say that the treasure was hidden away by Sir Guy the Seeker himself as he fled the castle during a fierce battle.”

Whether these stories are true or not, they add to the mysterious and enchanting aura of Dunstanburg Castle. Visitors can immerse themselves in the castle’s rich history and the legends that have become a part of its legacy.

Exploring Dunstanburg Castle

Visitors to Dunstanburg Castle are treated to a stunning display of coastal beauty and historic significance. The castle’s impressive remains offer a glimpse into the past, while its natural surroundings provide a picturesque backdrop for exploration.

The main gatehouse is an imposing structure that still retains much of its original grandeur. Visitors can explore the ruins of the castle’s various chambers, including the Dining Hall and Drawing Room. From the upstairs rooms, visitors can take in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and the North Sea beyond.

The battlements of Dunstanburg Castle also offer panoramic views of the coastline. Visitors can imagine themselves as sentinels of the coast, standing watch over the sea and keeping a lookout for any incoming ships. The castle’s rugged landscape and rocky shoreline make it an ideal location for photographers seeking to capture the natural beauty of the area.

For those interested in the castle’s history, guided tours are available throughout the year. Tour guides provide detailed information on the castle’s construction, its strategic importance, and its role in shaping England’s coastal defenses. Visitors can also take part in educational programs, offering a hands-on approach to learning about the castle’s past.

Overall, Dunstanburg Castle is a must-see for history buffs, nature enthusiasts, and anyone seeking a unique coastal experience. Its impressive ruins and stunning surroundings make it a standout among England’s coastal castles.

Dunstanburg Castle: A Photographer’s Paradise

If you’re a fan of photography, Dunstanburg Castle is a must-visit. This stunning coastal castle offers endless opportunities to capture breathtaking shots of its rugged landscape, stunning coastline, and picturesque surroundings. The castle’s imposing ruins and intricate design features make for fantastic subject matter, providing photographers with a chance to flex their creative muscles.

From the impressive remains of the main gatehouse to the panoramic views from the battlements, Dunstanburg Castle is a treasure trove of unique and captivating features. Whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned pro, you’re sure to find endless inspiration here.

“The rugged coastline and imposing ruins of Dunstanburg Castle make for some truly remarkable photos. It’s a photographer’s paradise!”
– John, professional photographer

Make sure to pack your camera and plenty of memory cards, as you won’t want to miss a single shot. You never know what hidden gems you might uncover at Dunstanburg Castle, so be sure to explore every nook and cranny.

Events and Activities at Dunstanburg Castle

There’s always something exciting happening at Dunstanburg Castle. Throughout the year, the castle hosts a range of events and activities suitable for visitors of all ages.

For those interested in the castle’s history, guided tours are available, offering a fascinating insight into the castle’s past. Education programs are also available for school groups, providing an interactive learning experience for students.

If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, why not try your hand at archery on the castle grounds? Or participate in a medieval reenactment, complete with historical costumes and weaponry.

Event Date
Easter Egg Hunt April 10th-11th
Archery Fun Day May 22nd
Medieval Reenactment June 12th-13th

In addition to these events, the castle also hosts seasonal activities such as Halloween ghost tours and Christmas markets. Check the Dunstanburg Castle website for the latest event schedule and to purchase tickets in advance.

Visiting Dunstanburg Castle is an unforgettable experience, and the events and activities on offer only add to its appeal. Don’t miss out on the chance to immerse yourself in English history and make lasting memories at this iconic coastal castle.

Nearby Attractions and Accommodations

While Dunstanburg Castle is the main attraction in the area, there is much more to explore in the nearby coastal villages.

The charming village of Craster is just a short walk from the castle and is famous for its smoked kippers. Visitors can explore the village’s picturesque harbor and enjoy a meal at the famous Jolly Fisherman pub.

The village of Embleton is also worth a visit, with its stunning beach and views of the castle from afar.

Accommodations Contact Information
Craster Arms Hotel Phone: 01665 576 222
The Cottage Inn Phone: 01665 576 658
The Old School Phone: 01665 576 111

For those who want a more rural experience, there are plenty of bed and breakfasts and farm stays in the surrounding countryside.

No matter where you choose to stay, Dunstanburg Castle and the surrounding area offer a unique mix of history, natural beauty, and local charm that is sure to captivate visitors.

Conservation Efforts for Dunstanburg Castle

As one of England’s most significant coastal castles, the Dunstanburg Castle requires constant care and attention to preserve its historical integrity. The castle’s vulnerable location, battered by the sea winds and saltwater, adds to its conservation challenges.

Several conservation efforts have been put in place to maintain the castle’s architecture and its surrounding environment. One of the primary methods for conserving the castle is through regular maintenance and repair. Experts continually assess the castle’s condition and repair any damage to the walls, towers, and other structural elements.

Conservation Efforts Significance
Applying protective coatings to the walls Prevents further deterioration due to weathering
Removing vegetation growth around the castle Prevents damage to the walls and towers by roots
Installing security systems Prevents vandalism and theft of historical artifacts

Another method used to preserve Dunstanburg Castle is by monitoring the castle’s environment and controlling any factors that could lead to further damage. For instance, the castle’s coastal location makes it susceptible to erosion, and steps have been taken to mitigate this through the installation of sea defenses.

The castle’s conservation efforts also include conducting archaeological surveys and preserving any artifacts found during the process. These surveys help to uncover more about the castle’s history and the people who lived and worked there.

Dunstanburg Castle’s conservation efforts are crucial in maintaining the castle’s historical significance and ensuring it remains intact for future generations. Visitors to the castle are encouraged to respect its environment and history, and to adhere to any rules and guidelines put in place to protect it.

Dunstanburg Castle: A Symbol of England’s Coastal History

Dunstanburg Castle is more than just an ancient fortress. It is a symbol of England’s rich maritime heritage and the enduring legacy of coastal castles. As a sentinel of the coast, the castle played a vital role in protecting England’s shores from invaders and preserving its cultural identity.

Throughout history, Dunstanburg Castle stood as a formidable fortress, a testament to the ingenuity and military prowess of its builders. Its rugged landscape, imposing ruins, and intricate design features make it a unique example of coastal castle architecture.

Today, Dunstanburg Castle remains a popular destination for tourists and history enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the castle’s main gatehouse, battlements, and other captivating features, marveling at its beauty and historical significance.

As a photographer’s paradise, Dunstanburg Castle attracts artists from around the world, drawn to its stunning coastline, rugged terrain, and picturesque setting. Whether capturing the castle in its natural surroundings or highlighting its architectural marvels, photographers will find no shortage of inspiration.

For those planning a trip to Dunstanburg Castle, there are plenty of nearby attractions and accommodations to round out their experience. From quaint seaside villages to cozy bed and breakfasts, visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture and make the most of their stay.

However, the preservation of Dunstanburg Castle is of utmost importance, and ongoing conservation efforts are necessary to safeguard its place in England’s coastal history. By protecting its historic integrity and ensuring its accessibility for future generations, Dunstanburg Castle will continue to serve as a symbol of England’s maritime heritage for years to come.


In conclusion, Dunstanburg Castle stands as an enduring symbol of England’s coastal history. Its strategic location and role as a sentinel of the coast have shaped its rich history and enduring legacy. The castle’s architectural marvels and captivating beauty make it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Exploring Dunstanburg Castle offers a glimpse into its unique charm, from the impressive remains of its gatehouse to the panoramic views from the battlements. Visitors can engage in interactive experiences such as guided tours and educational programs, immersing themselves in the castle’s history and legends.

Nearby attractions and accommodations offer further opportunities to enhance visitors’ experience of the castle and surrounding coastal villages. However, it is important to remember the ongoing conservation efforts aimed at preserving the castle’s historic integrity for future generations.

Overall, Dunstanburg Castle stands as a testament to England’s maritime heritage and the enduring significance of coastal fortresses. We invite readers to experience its beauty and historical significance for themselves and to appreciate the role it has played in shaping England’s coastal defenses.


Q: What is the significance of Dunstanburg Castle?

A: Dunstanburg Castle is a coastal stronghold that played a crucial role in England’s history, serving as a sentinel of the coast.

Q: Who built Dunstanburg Castle?

A: Dunstanburg Castle was built in the 14th century by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster.

Q: What sets Dunstanburg Castle apart architecturally?

A: Dunstanburg Castle is known for its imposing ruins and intricate design features, making it a unique architectural marvel among coastal castles.

Q: Are there any legends or tales associated with Dunstanburg Castle?

A: Yes, Dunstanburg Castle has its fair share of legends and tales, including stories of ghostly apparitions and hidden treasures.

Q: What are some notable features of Dunstanburg Castle worth exploring?

A: Visitors to Dunstanburg Castle can explore the impressive remains of the main gatehouse and enjoy panoramic views from the battlements.

Q: Is Dunstanburg Castle known for its scenic beauty?

A: Absolutely! Dunstanburg Castle is a photographer’s paradise, offering stunning coastal views and a rugged landscape.

Q: What kind of events and activities take place at Dunstanburg Castle?

A: Dunstanburg Castle hosts various events and activities, including guided tours and educational programs for visitors of all ages.

Q: Are there nearby attractions and accommodations for visitors?

A: Yes, visitors to Dunstanburg Castle can explore charming coastal villages and find cozy bed and breakfasts in the vicinity.

Q: How is Dunstanburg Castle being preserved?

A: Ongoing conservation efforts are dedicated to preserving Dunstanburg Castle and maintaining its historic integrity for future generations.

Q: What does Dunstanburg Castle symbolize?

A: Dunstanburg Castle stands as a symbol of England’s coastal history, reflecting its role in safeguarding the coast and its maritime heritage.