Pendennis Castle, much like its sister castle, St Mawes, was once part of a chain of artillery fortresses that were built along the Cornish Coast about five and a half hours by car from London. The iconic English King, Henry VIII, was responsible for the building of these fortresses, and his intent was to fend off the French and Spanish. The French and Spanish forces were actually encouraged by the pope to invade England, as Henry VIII had changed the religion in England from Catholic to Protestant. This was the time when the Tudor Dynasty reigned supreme in England, and it is certainly characterized by the English Reformation.
The history of Pendennis Castle is storied, and this only lends to its popularity as a tourist attraction. Originally constructed between the years 1540 and 1545, this sturdy fortress was expanded in 1598. Approximately 50 years later, the English Civil War broke out, and Pendennis Castle was among the last Royalist strongholds to fall. In the following centuries, the fortress continued to play a key role in the defense of Cornwall, and it actually saw action during World War II.
The history of Pendennis Castle is on display throughout the compound, and there are various interactive exhibitions for visitors to indulge in when looking to learn more about the structure. A special Discovery Centre features some of the more interesting hands-on exhibits, and you'll also want to make time for the recreated Tudor gun room. Seeing the Tudor gun room in action is definitely among the highlights of a visit.
While taking a tour of Pendennis Castle, visitors will have the chance to view some very fascinating cartoons. These cartoons are famous wartime cartoons that were created by George Butterworth during World War II. Many depict the unfavorable leaders of Germany and Italy, and they aren't exactly a statement of goodwill. In fact, Hitler wanted the renowned cartoonist eliminated, though his wish never came true.
A day trip to Pendennis Castle can be a wonderful thing to do for various reasons. The site has an inviting tea room where visitors can take a break and get something to eat and drink, and should you be interested, various events are held on the grounds throughout the year. Many of these events come in the form of reenactments with live actors.
Couples who are looking to get married in England might be happy to know that Pendennis Castle can also be used for private events. Pendennis Castle weddings can certainly make for fairy tale experiences, and it only gets more enticing when you consider the fact that you can also have your reception at the fortress.
Regardless of your visiting intentions, you can find Pendennis on the Pendennis headland, which is only a half mile from the center of Falmouth town. In the peak summer tourist season, it is possible to take a special Land Train from Falmouth to the Pendennis headland. Those who are driving over can park at the main lot on Castle Drive. The castle is open daily, save for a few days around Christmas and New Year's, and the general hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The closing time varies according to the season, and on Saturdays when events are booked, the castle site closes to visitors at 4 p.m.
It should be mentioned that there is a shop at Pendennis castle, so you can pick up some interesting souvenirs and such. You might also fancy the fact that there are picnic areas on the castle grounds. Picnicking in the shadows of a medieval fortress can certainly make for a rewarding dining experience, especially if you stock up on goodies.