History

As historic as it is beautiful, The Penn has quite a story to tell

Proudly perched atop the Isle of Portland, just off the Jurassic Coast of Dorset, The Penn, a gorgeous early 19th century neo-Gothic castle, has a rich and varied history.

In 1797, after King George III had gifted him an area of land on the tiny Isle of Portland, John Penn – grandson of William Penn, the founder of the US state of Pennsylvania – began construction of the Castle that stands today.

Shortly after work began, Penn appointed James Wyatt, a renowned architect well known for his neo-Gothic style. Together, Penn and Wyatt completed the Castle and in 1800 the property was officially opened by Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King George III. Since then, it has been the backdrop for a number of fascinating tales; including Royal celebrations (the King and Queen enjoyed a wedding anniversary in the Castle), the ferocious Napoleonic Wars, the vital preparations for the D-Day landings, and visits by literary figures such as Thomas Hardy – whose popular book The Well-Beloved was set on the Isle of Slingers, a representation of the Isle of Portland.

The Castle made lasting memories as both a hotel and setting for a number of celebrations and festivities. After a brief spell as a private home from 1994 to 2011, the Castle is once again available to hire for family gatherings or special occasions.