Visiting Dunster Castle: what you need to know
The castle, garden, pop-up café, shop, 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.
We've introduced advance booking to keep everyone safe and maintain social distancing. To avoid disappointment please book in advance, especially at busier times such as weekends and bank holidays. However, where space is available on weekdays, pre-booking may not always be necessary.
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.
Please bring a face covering
In line with government guidance, you're required to wear a face covering in most enclosed spaces, unless exempt. Please bring one with you.
The castle with a one-way route, garden with a one-way route, pop-up café, shop, parkland, car park and toilets at Dunster Castle and Watermill are now open. Please note, that whilst we hope to give access to all visitors into the castle itself, due to social distancing, a queuing system will be in place: entry will be on a first come, first served basis, with your pre-booked ticket.
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 inside the castle and tea-room. Please keep your dogs on a lead and under control. Water for dogs can be found outside the shop and castle. There is plenty of shelter and seating for people who are accompanied by their canine family member around the site.
- 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.
- We have two powered mobility vehicles available for hire. Please call the main office before your visit to book one.
- Accessible toilets are located by the shop and ticket office. We currently don't have accessible toilets at the castle.
- Mobility buggy service is 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.