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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 419 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 166
  • 171
    Very good
  • 54
  • 10
  • 3
Great for a short visit

It's quite small so doesn't take long to visit but is free and informative. They tend to have weddings there so sometimes you can't get to all the areas or walk around the top but... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 4 weeks ago
London, United Kingdom

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419 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 404: English reviews
Franklin, TN
Level Contributor
149 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

I had such a great time visiting the castle. Great signage inside the castle, and the folks there have done such a great job with everything. Free entry, and a place I will definitely visit again. Great place!

Thank BattlegroundTravel
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

From here you can see where the Mary Rose sank. It doesn't take too long to walk around the walls but it is interesting to stand where Henry VIII stood and watch his flag ship sink.

Thank Katherine O
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

It's quite small so doesn't take long to visit but is free and informative. They tend to have weddings there so sometimes you can't get to all the areas or walk around the top but if you can the view is lovely. The cafe is nice too.

1 Thank Sjmanfa
Bognor Regis, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2016

Beautiful location and breathtaking views. On site cafe and shop. Local brewery as well with superb beers to buy and taste. A delightful experience and very historical. Also used as a wedding venue. Visited with friends lovely experience.

2 Thank Diane W
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2016 via mobile

Walking distance from our hotel so how could we not visit. Unfortunelty only the battlements were open as they were still clearing from an event the day before however still a nice walk around battlements and we had a drink in the lovely cafe, which we wish we had found sooner as probally would of enjoyed an evening meal there.... More 

1 Thank Sammy B
Patchogue, New York
Level Contributor
209 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2016

Near the D-Day Museum overlooking Portsmouth Harbour an interesting building with lighthouse. Doesn't take much time to look around.

1 Thank ekejdono
Fareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
197 reviews
70 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2016 via mobile

Popped in here during a walk along the sea front with family & young child. Free entry. Nice to wonder round and look at the history of the castle. Check out the underground tunnels, which are interesting. Cafe, gift shop & toilets. Worth checking out for 20 minutes or so if walking along the seafront.

1 Thank Andy C
Lydd, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2016

Walked from Portsmouth to Southsea Castle on a lovely sunny day, free to enter, very informative, very nice to look around lovely views over the sea, tea shop on site, worth a visit.

1 Thank Sam B
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2016 via mobile

We came here for a friend's 30th birthday and the Castle was brilliant. The prices were about average for a venue such as this. The music was excellent, we all loved the love band. The atmosphere was also great. Even though the weather was cold there were outdoor heaters if you wanted to sit outside. The marquee was lovely and... More 

1 Thank Kate N
Level Contributor
20 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2016

Took the kids here mainly as it is free to get in. Nice place not enough for a day there but kids enjoyed it.

1 Thank caz b

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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?