Durlston Castle set to fully reopen next week

The rangers at Durlston Country Park are preparing for the full reopening of Durlston Castle with the first art exhibition since lockdown.

While the park has been open throughout the coronavirus pandemic for people to exercise, the castle has had to remain closed. The café has been offering a limited service for the last few weeks but now the castle will be fully opening its doors once more from Wednesday 22nd July 2020. This means that visitors will be able to enjoy the Fine Foundation Gallery, shop and café from 10.30 am to 5 pm daily.


Popular local artist, Tony Kerins’ exhibition in the gallery, is aptly themed around reconnecting with nature, which many people have done over the last few months.

View of Durlston Castle from below

“It’s been a time for people to slow down and get excited about nature again”

Alistair Tuckey, Project Leader at Durlston Country Park, said there has not only been a significant increase in local people visiting the park over the past few months, but a change in attitude to nature:

“People began to use the park more and more throughout the lockdown for their daily exercise and lots of people have said how helpful having places like Durlston has been for their physical and mental wellbeing during this strange period.

“Many people have had more time to slow down and notice nature more – to get excited about it.

“With every cloud there is a silver lining – and for us it’s been really lovely to connect with some new people in Swanage who hadn’t been to the park before.

“We’ve also welcomed lots of new volunteers who have rediscovered Durlston – and we’re always looking for more.”

Wildflowers in meadow, with poppies and cornflowers

Here’s how Durlston is making the castle safe to visit

  • Rangers will greet you outside and you’ll be asked to leave your name and phone number for the NHS Track and Trace system
  • Visitor numbers will be managed
  • There will be a one-way system in operation
  • The building will be cleaned throughout each day, with doors and windows open where possible
  • Visitors are encouraged to use the toilets at the Learning Centre

Do I need to wear a face mask?

  • Visitors to the shop will need to wear a face mask or covering
  • Face masks will be available to purchase in the shop
Picture of man on bench by Tony Kerins
Tony Kerins

First exhibition post-lockdown to celebrate “a special spring”

Swanage-based artist and illustrator Tony Kerins’ latest collection celebrates the re-connection with nature that many of us have discovered during this uncertain time. He said: 

“For me, the consequence of lockdown here in Swanage was to see people in family groups striding out together, smiling.

“Those who chose the fields at Durlston found flowering cowslips and early orchids; orange-tip butterflies and larks’ song.” 

“There is no doubt that this has been a special spring. I had never seen so many people of the town enjoying the sensation of being outside. With no daily grind there came different anxieties, but this was the first spring in years that many had felt able to enjoy. ”

You can see Tony’s ‘Walking and Drawing’ exhibition at Durlston’s Fine Foundation Gallery from Wednesday 22nd July to Sunday 9th August 2020 from 10.30 am to 5 pm.

Tony Kerins' sketchbooks
Tony Kerins

A selection of Tony Kerins’ sketchbooks will be on display at Durlston Castle until 9th August 2020

For further information

Durlston Country Park is managed by Dorset Council. To find out more about what it has to offer please go to its website.

Durlston Country Park

By becoming a Friend of Durlston, you not only support the park, but get discounts in the café and on parking. You can join at Durlston or via the website.

Become a Friend of Durlston

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