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Southsea Castle

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Address: Clarence Esplanade | Southsea, Portsmouth PO5 3PA, England
Phone Number: +44 23 9282 6722

Built in 1544, the Castle was part of a series of fortifications...

Built in 1544, the Castle was part of a series of fortifications constructed by Henry VIII around England's coasts to protect the country from invaders. Barely was the work completed when Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose, tragically sank in front of the Castle. During the English Civil War, nearly a century later, the Castle was captured for the only time in its history, by Parliamentarian forces.

Over the centuries, Southsea Castle's defences were strengthened so that it could continue to protect Portsmouth. In the 19th Century a tunnel was built to defend the Castle moat. Visitors can still enter the tunnel and see how the Castle would have been defended against invaders.

The Castle has had many other uses besides defence. For a while it was a military prison. A lighthouse was built in the 1820s, and is still in use by shipping today. In 1960 the Castle left military service. It was acquired by Portsmouth City Council, which restored the Castle to its 19th century appearance.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 393 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 156
  • 161
    Very good
  • 51
  • 9
  • 3
Great view of shipping

Great little castle walls - next to pretty rock garden and Pyramids sports complex. Good pathways which was welcome news for my dodgy knees. Great place for a walk by the sea

4 of 5 starsReviewed 3 days ago
Reading, United Kingdom

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393 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 380: English reviews
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

After moving to Southsea a year ago my first visit was on a beautiful summer evening to the pop-up bar in the courtyard with about 15 people for birthday drinks. Hooked on this place from then on. The drink flowed and was not over priced because of where we were and the sharing platters from the Courtyard Cafe very generous... More 

1 Thank NigelDurham
Chorley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
76 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Not sure what to make of this ......Its a castle of some sort,I personally think its more of a defence structure rather than a traditional castle.Its well restored but it also doubles up as a wedding venue.....Not sure about that......Also there is a marquee of some sort at ground level for possible wedding guests......Spoils it a bit for me. .....The... More 

Thank Brian H
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Great little castle walls - next to pretty rock garden and Pyramids sports complex. Good pathways which was welcome news for my dodgy knees. Great place for a walk by the sea

Thank Margaret753
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

This is a lovely little gem of our history- the caste where Henry VIII watched his beloved Mary Rose come to her firey end. Just a small castle in lovely surroundings. The kids will not be bored by being dragged around this site, as it is quite bijou.

Thank Dallas M
Fareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

With out giving it all away. This wonderfully preserved part of British history forms part of a beautiful walk along the Southsea beachfront. A few hidden surprises and definitely worth seeing. Added bonus is it is a free visit.

Thank savvysue2016
Level Contributor
199 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

This free castle is right on the beach, complete with moat (albeit grassy) and drawbridge. Once inside, there are places to simply grab a pint or can eat at a fancy restaurant with outdoor seating. Beautiful views…would definitely recommend. Check website to see when restaurant is open as it seems only on certain days/seasons.

Thank McChi
Brentwood, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
60 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

While staying in Portsmouth we noticed a nice little castle 5 minutes drive away at Southsea. There was ample parking only 100 yards from the castle. The castle is next to the D Day museum and can get 2 attractions together. The castle is free to enter but isn't large but has battlements where you can see canons and the... More 

Thank kvnnch
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Solid and well restored building. Very few exhibits. On our visit bits excluded to us as its used as a wedding venue !! Yes really. Typical tea and buns in the stock cafe but with a real ale shop this so called historical site is really just a commercial venture.

Thank DonnyAir
Fareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
128 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

not a huge lot going on here, but for a freebie its well worth a look, a few intresting things to been seen n read up on , and the kids enjoyed it,,worth a look for sure

Thank david l
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

This is one of many things Portsmouth and surrounding areas has packed into it. The castle offers a insight into life during the reign on King Henry the 8th. He was supposed to of been in the castle on the day the Mary rose sank. You can look at old cannons and tour the tunnels under the dry most. The... More 

Thank Adam E

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