near Craster, Northumberland, England
Dunstanburgh Castle is spectacularly located on headland with its north side jutting out into Embelton Bay 150 feet below, between the towns of Craster and Embelton in the north of England.
The castle is set in an eleven acre site but has been left in a state of ruin. The castle’s main feature however, the gatehouse, gives a good idea of its once grand scale.
The twin towered gatehouse, originally four storeys, now two or three in places are ‘D’ shaped and behind them lies a courtyard. To the south is a wall with two rectangular towers, a further gatehouse and two turrets, the wall then turns northwards with another turret.
Visitors to the castle must walk along a footpath which follows the rocky shoreline for approximately one and a half miles to reach the site as there is no vehicular access. The castle is open daily from 10am until 5pm between April and September and until 4pm in October, Mondays only between 10am and 4pm November to January and Thursday through to Monday 10am to 4pm February to March. Visitor facilities include a small shop selling postcards and souvenirs and a café selling hot drinks and snacks
The castle was constructed by Thomas, Earl of Lancaste; nephew to Edward II of England, in 1313 and it is believed he chose the area to perfectly isolate and protect him against the Scottish and the King. Nine years later the castle was almost complete when he was executed in connection with the death of one of the Kings closest companions and it was the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt who was left to make improvements in the late 14th Century. He blocked up the entrance to the gatehouse making it a strong keep and built a new entrance to the left
During the War of the Roses significant damage was caused to the castle by canon fire and although it remained in the hands of the Lancastrians it was left abandoned after the war. Much of the stone was removed by locals and used to build homes around the area.
In 1929 the castle was donated to the Ministry of Works by Sir Arthur Sutherland, and today it is owned by the National Trust and under the care of English Heritage.
Dunstanburugh was painted on many occasions by Turner. Two such paintings are exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria and the Public Art Gallery in Dunedin.
Other Castles in the Area
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
Edlingham Castle, Northumberland
Lindisfarne Castle, Northumberland
Warkworth Castle, Northumberland