OS Grid Reference:- SW 82353
Pendennis Castle occupies the headland of Pendennis Point and is now owned by English Heritage, it was built by King Henry VIII from 1540-1545, along with nearby St. Mawes Castle as a coastal defence at the entrance to the River Fal.
St Mawes Castle occupies the opposite headland to enable their joint cannon to cover the entrance to the Fal estuary. Henry VIII built a chain of castles along the south coast as a defence against a possible attack by the French.
The castle has been significantly altered and added to over the centuries. King Henry VIII's original castle consisted of circular gun tower surrounded by a low gun platform, with a projecting entrance block. In 1588, during the reign of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, ramparts and angle bastions were added.
The castle was again strengthened during the Civil War, when it was was attacked by the Roundheads in 1646 and sustained a five month siege, before being forced to surrender to a Parliamentary army under Sir Thomas Fairfax.
The siege began in March 1646 and lasted until 17 August 1646. The castle was at the time under the command of the octagenarian Sir John Arundel. The Parliamentary forces attacked Pendennis Castle from both land and sea, its About 1,500 occupants were finally forced to surrender through starvation. Previously the Royalist stronghold of Pendennis had provided sanctuary to Queen Henrietta Maria of France, the wife of Charles I and the future Charles II, before their escape to France.
The castle saw further action during the Second World War, the secret defenses erected during the war which include underground tunnels and magazines, can be seen by today's visitors.
Pendennis Castle hosts a Discovery Centre with hands on activities. There is also access to the restored underground Victorian defences, complete with sounds and smells and displays of coastal defence armaments. The Noonday Gun is fired every day at noon during July and August.
During the summer months the Falmouth 'Land Train' runs from the city centre to the castle car park.