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Follow the clues on the Half Term Trail at Pendennis Castle

Set on the cliffs above the Fal River, Pendennis Castle is a well maintained structure that brings 450 years of English history vividly to life.
Pendennis Castle is managed by English Heritage who are organizing a fun Half Term Trail event for families during the third week in February 2014. Devised for children of all ages, it gives them the chance to run off some energy and explore the castle and grounds with a purpose as you follow the clues and claim a prize at the end.

The event runs daily from Saturday 15th February through Sunday 23rd February 2014 between 10am and 4pm. Ticket price for admission includes the Half Term Trail, so for English Heritage members that means it is completely free to join in. For the general public the admission is £6.70 for adults and £4 for children with an all-in family ticket which is best value.

The idea of the Pendennis Castle Half Term Trail is to bring history to life and make discovering new things fun for everyone. Exploring the castle, moat, tower, guns and observation post is really interesting. Learning about the centuries of history that have taken place within these sturdy walls is sure to fire the imagination of youngsters, and adults will no doubt learn something new for sure.

Where to find the Pendennis Castle Half Term Trail

has a round castle keep on top of the cliffs above . Tucked behind the walls the castle grounds are extensive; perfect in fact for a History Trail or Treasure Hunt with plenty of space to explore and run around. The sea views from this exposed position are fantastic, especially on a windy winter’s day when the sea below can be rough and choppy.

The castle was built in 1545 for King Henry VIII and was intended to guard the entrance to the Fal River. It was one of a pair, with sitting on the opposite bank. Although peaceful Cornwall now seems the last place you would think needed any form of defence, at the time there were constant threats from the French and Spanish navies as they fought to restore England to the Catholic Church.

Pendennis Castle is a truly traditional castle in design and is well maintained. It certainly has plenty of history and battles which will be revealed during your visit as you follow the Half Term Trail around Pendennis Castle grounds.

Pendennis Castle history

Pendennis Castle was one of the last Royalist strongholds during the English Civil War. There was a five month siege of the garrison in 1646 and about 1000 men, women and children were besieged for 155 days. Finally the castle fell to Parliamentarian forces after the Royalists were forced to surrender, being close to starvation.

The Half Term Trail will also reveal other historic events at Pendennis. It gave sanctuary to the Prince of Wales in 1651 before he fled to France after being defeated at the battle of Worcester, was used during the Napoleonic Wars and even as recently as World War 2.

It’s worth exploring Crab Quay during your February Half Term visit to Pendennis Castle. You can still see the remains of a battery that was built here and is shown on local maps from 1715. Look for the concrete platforms just above sea level which once held searchlights which were part of the Middle Point Battery.

Claim your prize for completing the Half Term Trail

Finally, head to the Discovery Centre and enjoy the hands-on activities as you learn more about the 450-year-old history of the castle and its defences. The sights, sounds and smells really bring the castle’s past to life in the museum and the waxworks figures add to the authenticity of the stories. Don’t forget to claim your prize once the Half Term Trail is completed!

Do you know more about Pendennis Castle, perhaps from a recent visit? If you took part in a previous family event we’d love you to share your comments with other potential visitors.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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