Castle Compton – A Medieval Fortress

castle compton 1aAs we drove into the car park everyone exclaimed “Oh Wow!  It really is like a castle!”  The front of the house has high crenelated walls with towers and a portcullis gate.

The first manor house was built in the mid 14th century and the fortifications were added around 1540.

It was owned by Sir Humphrey Gilbert who colonised Newfoundland and was Sir Walter Raleigh’s half-brother.

There is a legend that Sir Walter Raleigh smoked the first pipe of tobacco in Britain in Castle Compton


Where: Marldon, Paignton, Devon, TQ3 1TA  Tel: 01803 661906
Admission: Under 5 Free  National Trust members Free
open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the  summer season
Facilities: toilets, children’s trail, hip carriers for children available  – table top shop – no cafe
(Castle Barton restaurant opposite – open when Castle Compton is open)
Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/compton-castle/

castle compton 3

The Castle had become a ruin by the 18th century but a descendant bought it back in 1931, and restored it before giving it to The National Trust. The family still live in part of the house.

Although the castle is small there are plenty of things to interest children. We had a go at the children’s squirrel trail. The Squirrel was the name of Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s ship and you can see squirrels all over the house.  Papa Joe was the best at spotting them.

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Papa Joe and I liked the knot and rose gardens, but I think the children liked the medieval kitchen best – with the small stone stairway leading up to one of the inner towers.  The solar,which was the private living room, was a very attractive room and I could imagine myself living there. There is also a chapel which is still used for services.


It takes time to drive to Castle Compton because the local lanes are very narrow and we had to pull in several times to let cars go past.  Despite this we all felt that it was a very worthwhile visit.  After our visit we treated ourselves to a cream tea at the Castle Barton restaurant opposite the castle.  The restaurant is only open when the castle is open.

Getting There Castle Compton Marldon, Paignton, Devon, TQ3 1TA 
Google see map or get directions

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