Sherborne Old Castle


These days the epitome of a picturesque ruin, Sherborne's Old Castle was built by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, in 1120 – Elizabeth I gave it to her one-time favourite Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 16th century. It became a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War, but Cromwell reduced it to rubble after a 16-day siege in 1645, leaving just the fractured southwest gatehouse, great tower and north range.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Dorset attractions

1. Sherborne New Castle

0.43 MILES

Sir Walter Raleigh began building the impressive Sherborne New Castle in 1594, but only got as far as the central block before being imprisoned by James I…

2. Sherborne Abbey

0.66 MILES

At the height of its influence, the magnificent Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin was the central cathedral of 26 succeeding Saxon bishops. Established…

3. Haynes Motor Museum


The 400-strong collection at this car museum includes an array of outstanding and outlandish motors, from Aston Martins and Ferraris to oddities such as…

4. Fleet Air Arm Museum

7.39 MILES

This excellent aviation museum houses hundreds of naval aircraft, from a Sea Fury to Phantom fighters. You can walk on to the flight deck of the first…

5. Montacute House

9.29 MILES

Built in the 1590s for Sir Edward Phelips, a speaker of the House of Commons, Montacute contains some of the finest 16th- and 17th-century interiors in…

6. Cerne Giant

9.49 MILES

Rarely do you find such a nudge-nudge, wink-wink tourist attraction. Nude, full frontal and notoriously well endowed, this hillside chalk figure is…

7. Ham Hill

10.56 MILES

Looming above the village of Stoke-sub-Hamdon, this is the highest point in Somerset. It's served a variety of purposes – Iron Age hill fort, medieval…

8. King Alfred's Tower

12.6 MILES

A 50m-high folly with wonderful views. It's part of the National Trust property Stourhead, some 8 miles south of Frome.