Visiting Dunster Castle: what you need to know

Exploring the autumnal garden colours at Dunster Castle

The garden, pop-up café, parkland, car park and toilets at Dunster Castle and Watermill are now open. To ensure the safety of our visitors, staff, volunteers and local communities, we've reduced the number of people we can welcome at one time and you’ll need to book your visit in advance. In this article you’ll find everything you need to know about what's open and what to expect from your visit.

Arrival and parking

If you are arriving by car, please have your ticket ready to show our staff either on your phone or a printed copy. If you’re a member, you’ll also need to show your membership card. You'll asked to show these through your vehicle window before parking. Those arriving on foot will be checked by a small team of staff who will adhere to social distancing. 

In order to maintain social distancing, please arrive within your timeslot. Sadly, if you're more than 10 minutes late, we won’t be able to guarantee you entry. Your entry will be at the discretion of the property staff and will be based on visitor numbers and the ability to maintain social distancing.

The National Trust car park is located 300 yards from the entrance.

 

Staying safe at Dunster

To help keep everyone safe, please follow social distancing and government guidance when you visit. And look out for signs while you’re here which will explain any changes to how you can access different parts of the site.

If you’re showing any of the symptoms of coronavirus, or if you've been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 14 days, please don’t visit. 

 

What's open?

The garden, pop-up café, parkland, car park and toilets at Dunster Castle and Watermill are now open. 

In line with government guidance, you're required to wear a face covering in most enclosed spaces. Please bring one with you.

Picnics

If you are bringing your own lunch, there are tables and benches available in the picnic area by the carpark. Picnics can also be had on the South Terrace, Green Court, and the Keep Garden. Please can we ask that you take your rubbish home with you after your picnic. Thank you.

 

Bringing your family

Although there are no restrictions on bringing a pushchair into the garden and grounds, it can be difficult to traverse as often there are slopes and uneven stones or cobbles in parts.

Toilets including baby-changing facilities are available both by the ticket office and also up on Green Court. 


Bringing your dog

If you are visiting with your dogs, they are allowed everywhere except from inside tea-room, but must be on a lead and under control. Water for dogs can be found outside the National Trust shop and castle. There is plenty of shelter and seating for people who are accompanied by their canine family member around the site.

Accessibility

  • To maintain 2 metre distancing there is a one-way route around the garden. The route is steep and features numerous steps, slopes and uneven surfaces. Reasonable levels of fitness and stout footwear are required. The route is currently not suitable for wheelchairs, powered mobility vehicles or pushchairs.
  • There are designated Blue Badge parking spaces in the main car park.
  • There is an accessible drop-off point at the ticket office.
  • Accessible toilets are located by the shop and ticket office. We currently don't have accessible toilets at the castle
  • Mobility buggy service, tramper hire and wheelchair loans are unavailable until further notice.

 

Exploring the garden

The garden is looking lovely, but it won’t be quite as you’re used to seeing it. We had almost no gardeners in the property for many weeks, while everyone stayed home and stayed safe.

We have a small team in now, but nowhere near what we’re used to, so the garden isn't perhaps as well-groomed as you might be expecting. There are some weeds and rough edges; please bear with us as we do what we can as soon as we can, and instead enjoy all the many other pleasures that our garden has to offer.

Gardeners will be working in the garden, please respect the social distancing guidelines around them and be aware that at times some areas may be closed for maintenance and to give the team space to work.

There will be no talks, tours, or opportunities for questions or advice at this time.

 

Booking your tickets

How to book

All visitors must book a ticket in advance, including members. Entry and parking is free for members, but please bring your membership card with you. Non-members will need to pay in advance.

  • Please book one ticket per person, except for children aged 5 or under as they don’t need a ticket.
  • You’ll need to choose a 30-minute arrival time for the day you want to visit.
  • The timeslot is for your arrival time only 
  • Tickets are for your use only and are not available for resale
  • We'll send your booking confirmation by email. Please make sure you fill in your correct email address when you book to ensure you receive your confirmation email.

Every Friday we'll release new bookings for visits the following week. You can book up to 18 hours before a timeslot. 

Due to limited spaces, we’re asking that you only book once a week to allow others a chance to visit.

Help support key workers

To say thank you to our nation's key workers and all they have done for us, we're encouraging visitors to keep the first and last slots of each day free for key workers to use. While we are unable to 'reserve' these slots exclusively for key workers, we hope you will join us in thanking them by leaving these times free. If you or someone in your group are a key worker, please take the opportunity to book these early and late timeslots.
 

Upcoming events

Timed entry to Dunster Castle and Watermill (10 August - 16 August)

Sun 16 Aug 2020
10:00-10:30
Book your timed entry to visit Dunster Castle and Watermill.

Timed entry to Dunster Castle and Watermill (17 August - 23 August)

Mon 17 Aug 2020
10:00-10:30
Book your timed entry to visit Dunster Castle and Watermill.