Castle Keep North

Lundy, Bristol Channel, Devon


The three Castle Keep Cottages are built round a small courtyard inside the Keep. Lundy’s beauty, community and way of life make a world apart and despite its size, a stay here never feels quite long enough.

  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
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Beds 1 Double

4 nights from
£206 equivalent to £25.75 per person, per night

Cottages in the Castle Keep

Snug and sociable, Castle Keep North looks inward to the courtyard.

The Castle was built by Henry III in about 1250, and paid for by the sale of rabbits. High up on the south-east point of the island, it replaced the earlier castle of the unruly Mariscos, which stood behind the farm. In the Civil War Lundy was held for the Royalists by Thomas Bushell, who rebuilt the castle. He owned a silver mine and tradition says he minted coins here. By 1787 cottages had been built round the small courtyard inside the Keep. These have decayed and been rebuilt several times, most recently by us, as three Castle Keep Cottages.

Floor Plan


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Map & local info

Commanding a fine view of the East Coast of Lundy from the parade ground, the Castle is set high up on the South East point of the island.

Read all about Lundy

Clear directions

Places to visit nearby

Rocky shore rambles

Lundy wildlife talks by warden

Snorkeling safaris

Warden led walks

Seabird walks



    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).


  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History & Restoration

Built by Henry III in 1243

Marisco Castle is a misnomer. The castle was built by Henry III in 1243 after the downfall of his rebellious island subjects, the de Marisco family. In that year the Sheriff of Devon gave instructions that the new Governor of the island should build a tower and a bailey wall. These were to be financed from the sale of rabbits, for Lundy was a Royal Warren.

The National Trust's Archaeological Survey of Lundy (1989) states that:

The castle comprised a small Keep, measuring 51ft by 38ft, with 3ft thick walls, and with a small bailey on the landward side. This was enclosed within a curtain wall (although this may have been a 17th century addition) and a ditch, except towards the sea where the rock is almost perpendicular. The Keep was rectangular in design, constructed of local granite with the walls inclining inwards. The few windows are very small and these are in the south-facing wall. At some point the Keep's crenellations have been filled-in and the walls built up to the height of the earlier domed chimneys at the four corners.

Facing North Devon, the castle commands a fine view of the east coast of Lundy, the landing bay and the channel. Myrtle Langham writes, “at first it was used by a succession of keepers, with garrison, appointed by the King and until Sir John Borlase Warren built the Farmhouse (Old House) about 1775-80 it was, as far as we know, the main building on the island”.

Thomas Bushell, who held Lundy for the King during the Civil War, claimed that he had “built it from the ground”. At that time he added the East Parade or Bastion with batteries on the east and south sides. The Curtain walls were reinforced or rebuilt of coursed, random rubble. On the parade ground there was a complex of buildings below the keep. One of these, at the western corner, is known as The Old House and may well have been Governor Bushell’s private residence at a time when the Castle was garrisoned.

The Keep was used to house convicts by Thomas Benson, who leased the island from 1748-54, and at that time there were two houses on the parade in front of the Keep. By 1775 the Keep was ruinous and Sir John Borlase Warren deliberately dismantled the castle's defences to provide building stone for works elsewhere on the island but the eastern end of the ditch and rampart survive quite well. In 1824, Sir Aubrey de Vere Hunt's steward wrote that “one half of the oald castle fell first Winter I came to Lundy and the other part came down last Winter”. Other parts were described as still being in good order.

In the 1850s Mr Heaven repaired the keep and converted it into three cottages facing the central courtyard for his labourers. North and South Cottage had two tenements each and East Cottage facing the entrance had one. They all had metal roofs. After the Granite Company failed in 1868, islanders occupied the company’s abandoned buildings, but the Castle cottages remained in intermittent use until the end of the century and sometimes housed shipwreck victims.

In 1870 one cottage was inhabited by the herdsman Withycombe, his wife and their lodger, an old sailor-turned-mason called Sam Jarman. Another was the home of the carpenter Joseph Dark and his family and the four roomed cottage facing the entrance was used by fishermen from Sennen during the summer fishing season, one of whom was George Thomas, the builder of Hanmers. By 1928 the cottages were no longer habitable and in that year Martin Harman commissioned the architect Charles Winmill (Secretary of SPAB 1898, pupil of Leonard Stokes and follower of Philip Webb) to do a report on the Castle. Mr Winmill proposed clearing the shell, strengthening the walls and covering the whole with a flat concrete roof, to provide perhaps a cattle bower. The estimated cost was £1,430 and so the report was ignored.

For a short history of Lundy please click here.

To read the full history album for Lundy please click here.


When Landmark took on the island in 1969 the Castle was once again a ruin. The cottages had lost all but little bits of roof and though the stairs were there, the timbers were rotten. In July 1975, Landmark appointed the stone mason Mike Haycraft to consolidate the external walls. At that time there were two proposals: the castle could either be repaired and left as a maintained ruin or it could be fully restored as hostel accommodation.

Due to erosion large areas of the outside walls needed repacking with mortar. The lime had leached out, the mortar had turned to soil and was supporting vigorous samphire plants. Some of the wall had crumbled away and needed completely rebuilding. Mike used coarse grit sieved from the Landing Beach, Bideford grit and ‘Wallcrete’. Because it was too difficult to handle in the weather conditions, lime was not used. A Victorian chimney was removed but no speculative work was done at all. This work took three summers to complete.

In 1978 an archaeological survey was commissioned before work began on the interior. It was quickly carried out and a musket ball and a little Iron Age pottery were discovered. The team then moved on to the Parade Ground and began working on the floor of the house believed to have been erected by Thomas Bushell in the Civil War.

At this point it was discovered that the internal walls of the Castle were in such bad repair that as they fell in they would drag in the external ones. Moreover, the internal walls were designed to be plastered and if they had been repointed as part of the maintained ruin scheme, they would look wrong. It was therefore decided to plaster them and roof over the old cottages. As, by this time, there was hostel accommodation in the Barn, it was decided to make two comfortable cottages instead.

In 1979 work on the cottages began with sometimes two, sometimes three, islanders helping Mike. The original lintel over the courtyard entrance was found lying on site and identified from old photographs. Mike found the piece of dressed granite, now in the window of the South cottage loo, when working at Admiralty Lookout; the granite fireplace in the North cottage comes from the Quarry cottages. As there is a danger that slates would be whipped off by the Atlantic winds, the cottages are roofed with corrugated iron. Inside, sheet lead was placed between the floors for soundproofing and the cottages were furnished in 1981. In1988, the far end was divided off to create a new, smaller Castle Keep East, reverting to Mr Heaven's 1850s layout.

When David Thackray of the National Trust surveyed the Parade Ground, he discovered a furnace just beneath the east wall of the Castle. It is possible that this was used by Bushell for the King's mint in the Civil War. From 1983 - 1984 the Manpower Services Commission had a team on Lundy rebuilding the exterior walls of the Parade Ground.

Getting to Lundy

Getting to Lundy

Your Lundy adventure begins even before you set foot on the Island.

During the winter season, (beginning of November until the end of March), a Helicopter Service operates between Lundy and Hartland Point on Mondays and Fridays.  This exhilarating flight takes approximately seven minutes, providing spectacular aerial views of the Island and North Devon.

During the summer season, (end of March until the end of October), the Island’s own supply ship and ferry, the MS Oldenburg departs several times a week from either Bideford or Ilfracombe. 

Find out more

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.