Sherborne Castle Guide

Sherborne Castle, Dorset
Sherborne Castle - © SalomonCeb

Sherborne Castle is a heritage attraction where visitors can explore the castle and the scenic gardens. Located in Dorset the castle is currently home to the Wingfield Digby family and has been so for several hundred years. During spring and summer visitors can explore the castle and the gardens and take a lakeside walk to discover a range of plants and wildlife that reside here. The tranquil setting makes for relaxing day out at an attraction with plenty of history and culture.


The site of Sherborne Castle is a historic one, the original building where the castle stands was a medieval hunting lodge in the Deer Park. Sir Walter Raleigh saw the castle and wanted to acquire it, so a lease was transferred to Sir Walter, at first he tried to modernise the 12th century Old Castle, however later decided to a new home on site of the hunting lodge in the deer park.

The new house was built in 1594 and was named as Sherborne Lodge in order to differentiate it from the Old Castle. The house is a four storey house that is rectangular in shape and its hexagonal corner turrets, this forms the main part of the current castle today. After Sir Walter was executed accused of treason the estate reverted back to the crown. Sir John Digby purchased the Castle back in 1617 and his family have lived in the house ever since.

The house was extended in the 1620s when four wings were added and it was during the civil war that the Old Castle was ruined that the new building came to be referred to as the Castle. In 1793 Lancelot "Capability" Brown was recruited to help create a lake, the extensive work took two years and resulting in Sherborne having the latest in landscape gardening.

During the First World War the castle was used as a Red Cross hospital for injured soldiers. During the Second World War the castle was used as the Head Quarters for the Commandos of the D-day landings.

The Castle was first opened to the public in back in 1969 and currently is the venue for a number of events that take place in the gardens during the summer months. The picturesque location is also a favourite wedding venue.

The Gardens at Sherborne are a major reason to visit, they offer a beautiful landscape full of inspiring scenery and place to enjoy the English countryside. In the springtime there is a wide array of bulbs and the garden is in full bloom in the summer when it comes alive with a festival of vivid colours.

The tranquil lakeside walk takes visitors through an impressive collection of plants and trees. Visitors can look out for Cedars, Ginkgo and Metasequoia among others. The gardens also boast the stunning backdrop of the ruins of the Old Castle and contain a number of features such as follies and statutes.

The gardens boast a variety of birds and wildlife for visitors to see, the lake attracts a range of water birds these include the Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, and Moorhen among others, they can be seen here around the year. There are also a variety of ducks present these include the Tufted Duck and the Wigeon.

The Formal Gardens at Sherborne have been around since the mid 18th century when the area was flooded by Capability Brown as part of his design for the landscape gardening for Sherborne. More recently the old gardens have been overlaid, the majority of the material from the old walls has been removed.

How to Get There

The House can be accessed by both car and public transport:

By Car:

Sherborne is located approx 125 miles from central London. The approx journey time is 2 hours 40 minutes from London. From London take the A4 then the M4 until junction 4b and exit on to the M25. Exit the M25 at junction 12 on to the M3. Drive on the M3 until junction 8 and exit onto A303 toward Salisbury/Andoverall. Follow the signs to Sherborne.

For those using Satellite Navigation systems the postcode is DT9 3PY.

By Train:

From London Waterloo Station in central London there are regular trains available to Exeter St. Davids that stop at Sherborne Station the approx journey time from London to Sherborne is 2 hours and 10 minutes. Visitors can either walk 10 minutes from the station to the castle or take a taxi.


National Express offers coach services from London Victoria Coach Station to Sherborne in Dorset, the approx journey time is 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Contact Details

Sherborne Castle
Cheap Street
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)1935 813182

Fax: +44 (0)1935 816727


Website: Sherborne Castle

Facilities & Information

Opening Times:

Open from start of April until start of November:

Open between 11.00 until 14.30 (Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Bank Holiday Monday)

NOTE: It is recommended visitors check before going to ensure the Castle & Gardens are open before going.

Further Information:

Castle and Gardens

Adults: £9.00 approx, Children: Under 15s free admission, Concessions: £8.50 approx

Gardens Only:

Adults: £4.50 approx, Children: under 15s free admission, Concessions: £4.50 approx


For Disabled visitors there is wheelchair access to areas of the gardens and the ground floor of the castle. There are disabled toilets facilities.

There is a Tearoom that offers a range of refreshments and light snacks.

The shop sells a range of gifts, souvenirs, books and memorabilia.

Visitors can enjoy a relaxing picnic in the Gardens if they so wish.


View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: Sherborne Castle Map

Tips & Other Considerations

Opening hours may vary depending on the time of year and other factors. It is recommended visitors double check before going to ensure the attraction you wish to see is open.

When travelling remain alert, vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times. Ensure valuables i.e. your wallet/purse are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is worn across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to Sherborne in Dorset, ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Use the Journey Planning tool for door to door directions for your trip. Check the traffic news & updates before travelling.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates before beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops in time.

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