Southsea Castle
Southsea Castle
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About
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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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.0
631 reviews
Excellent
247
Very good
276
Average
88
Poor
14
Terrible
6

Travellerclass
Farnham, UK953 contributions
Oct 2022
After visiting the D Day Story Museum, we walked across to see the excellent Southsea Castle. Entry within is free and there is a shop and cafe within to enjoy. We went all around the castle wall area and marvelled at all the original old gun emplacement positions of this incredibly fortified castle. Within the main part of the castle, they can hold weddings and action many different functions. Lovely place to visit and enjoy an hour or so.
Written October 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Michellechampers
England, UK1,526 contributions
Aug 2022 • Family
Built in 1544, Southsea Castle was said to be designed by King Henry VIII to protect the country from invaders.

Henry VIII stood inside the fortress watching his flagship, the Mary Rose, tragically sink at a Battle against the French, just one year later in 1545

The castle is open free of charge and you can get fantastic views of the Solent.

Check the castle website for details as they host events that you may be interested in.

The castle was built a long long time before cars were invented, so it doesn’t have a car park, but the D Day museum next door does or you can park on southsea seafront (both payable)

Staff are great and very knowledgeable so fell free to ask away.
Written August 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

STEPHEN K
Ashby de la Zouch, UK1,219 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
Well worth a visit to this site just to put it's place in history in context. You get to feel it's connection to the forts and battery emplacements around the coast. The little museum is worth a visit to fill in the background. Dogs are allowed in but not inside or on the ramparts, but this allows for a little break in the courtyard cafe.
Written July 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Westyfamily222
Cambridgeshire, UK87 contributions
Aug 2022 • Family
We decided to pop here as we had visited museum nearby and had never visited before. Upon entering there was a wedding taking place in the castle bit so we didn’t see inside there. The ramparts were good and there was lots of canons there dotted around. The staff however didn’t really seem approachable and despite my husband trying to talk twice to a staff member he was ignored and she carried on talking to a colleague. We didn’t really hang around long after that as it was apparent the staff didn’t really fancy talking to people that day! Would we go back, yes, but it’s a shame that some staff let the atmosphere down.
Written September 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Anuruddha K
London, UK92 contributions
Jun 2022
It is one of the historical attractions in Portsmouth. It is free of charge between April and October each year. You can see 360 view from the keep and there is a lighthouse located on top. There are old cannons and inside the castle, there are some historical items and statues, including King Henry's family. The pathway leading to the castle is beautifully maintained with beautiful flowers in the middle. Great place to spend few hours with the family.
Written July 31, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Twotoneskaman
Chatham, UK2,564 contributions
Sep 2021
We visited the castle as we also wanted to combine it with lunch at Courtyard Restaurant on the same site. On entering there is a building to the left where you can sit and watch a very informative video of the castle, although it was a pity some of the staff were talking loudly amongst themselves just outside which made it difficult to hear at times. The castle itself is well worth a look if visiting the area.
Written October 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

simon164
Portsmouth, UK18 contributions
Jul 2021
The best advice I can give anyone with regards Southsea Castle is this. Try to time your visit during Spring / Summer and do a little reading up beforehand. This castle has played a fascinating part in our history and a little understanding will greatly enhance your visit !! Built by Henry V111 in 1544 it has served numerous purposes over time.

It is from this very castle that King Henry V111 watched his favourite ship The Mary Rose capsize on 19th July 1545 whilst attempting to repel an invading French navy. Take some binoculars and you can see the exact spot the ship was lost.

Come down from the battlements and enjoy a good meal in their brilliant restaurant washed down with a locally brewed IPA or anything that takes your fancy !!
Written July 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Colette G
6 contributions
Jun 2022
Courtyard Café Southsea

I would fully recommend this café. They were very friendly in the service they provided, being very accommodating with the children and I would thoroughly recommend this location to any families in the area as a great place to eat and visit. I would return there.
Written June 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Colette, Glad to hear you enjoyed visiting the Courtyard Cafe and had a great time.
Written June 21, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

GlobetrottingViking
Thatcham, UK2,514 contributions
Oct 2021
Although this castle is shown on Google Maps as closed, it was in fact open in early October 2021. It is a great place to learn more about the military significance of Portsmouth during the centuries, starting with Henry VIII who built this castle. It is well worth a visit, but dress warmly if it is on a windy day, and this part of the coastline absorbs all the wind it possibly can. And there are steep steps to climb, so good shoes are important. The introductory video is arguably a bit too long and detailed, but with a bit of patience, it gives an excellent story of the castle.
And entrance to the castle it is free.
Written October 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

KingOfTheNorth99
Windsor, UK552 contributions
Aug 2020
Maybe it was because of lockdown but you could not go anywhere once inside the castle and little to see or do, not even climb the stairs to the walls. There is a cafe inside and they have a couple small info boards. At least it’s free.
Written August 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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