A visit to Hurst Castle is one of the best days out in the New Forest with plenty of open space for children to explore and fantastic views of the Isle of Wight. It is a must for visitors to this area.
Come and discover this artillery fortress, built by Henry VIII, at the seaward end of a coastal spit offering one of the best views in England. Commanding the entrance to the Solent, its strategic location has developed the castle into a powerful fortress, steeped in centuries of military history.
From its beginnings in 1544, as one of Henry VIII's chain of artillery defences, Hurst Castle, unusually for a Tudor castle, remained in military use until 1956, playing an active role through both world wars. On occasion it was also used as a prison, most famously in the imprisonment of Charles I in the 17th century, during the Civil War. Hurst Castle defended England from invasion threats in the 19th and 20th centuries.
With spectacular views of the Solent and the Isle of the Wight from the top of the Tudor Keep and plenty of open spaces for children to explore, it's a great day out for the whole family. The 'Hurst Mess' offers hot and cold drinks, homemade food and cakes. Dogs on leads are very welcome too.
Access to Hurst Castle, is a leisurely ferry ride from Keyhaven (charges apply) or a 2-mile walk along Hurst Spit (please note this is a shingle spit).
Castle highlights include:
- Step inside the heart of Hurst Castle to its Tudor fort, which retains much of its 16th-century appearance.
- Follow the steps to the first floor of the Tudor keep, where it was probably here that Charles I was kept prisoner in 1648.
- Enjoy the spectacular views from the roof of the Tudor keep across the Needles Passage to the Isle of Wight.
- Take a visit to the basement of the Tudor keep, used for storage of food, fuel, weapons and gunpowder.
- Visit the North-west Bastion, sited to protect the approach and entrance to the castle. Take the stairway to the first floor, where you’ll see four fireplaces, one with a bread oven, suggesting it may once have been quarters for a senior officer. In 1859 it was partly used as the garrison hospital and by the 1890s provided married quarters for two soldiers and their families.
- Don’t miss the portcullis positioned above the Tudor entrance to the castle. This one dates from the 1850s, although a portcullis has guarded the castle since it was built.
- Discover the two casemates, closest to the Tudor castle, which contain 12.5-inch RML guns of the 1860s, salvaged from Cliff End Battery opposite Hurst Castle on the Isle of Wight.
|Closed from (1 Nov 2023 - 31 Mar 2024)
|Monday - Sunday
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