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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 414 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 165
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    Very good
  • 54
  • 10
  • 3
Mooch round the castle

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... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 days ago
Andy C
Fareham, United Kingdom
via mobile

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414 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 400: English reviews
Patchogue, New York
Level Contributor
209 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

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

Thank ekejdono
Fareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
179 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW 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.

Thank Andy C
Lydd, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
47 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

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.

Thank Sam B
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago 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 

Thank Kate N
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

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

Thank caz b
Cheshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
357 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 390 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

This fantastic historic castle is a credit to Portsmouth - great for all age groups & free to enter - Henry VIII supposedly designed this castle & here we are in 2016 seeing the castle standing proud & as majestic as ever.

2 Thank Pamela B
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
211 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 301 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Henry VIII built this castle to protect the local people from invasion, its a fantastic place to visit & is shown in an easy way for everyone to enjoy. It's great to see the castle being used for weddings & commercial events - well done to Portsmouth for keeping this historic land mark free & available for its people &... More 

2 Thank jaguar123456
Cwmbran, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
271 reviews
117 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

A castle telling its history, displays in different rooms and a view from the top. Entry is free and there is a cafe

2 Thank roscwmbran
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2016 via mobile

We went to look round as we were taking my daughter to uni it's free to look round and you can get food there it's interesting and you can spend an house or two looking round

Thank Davidcrumpton
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 14, 2016 via mobile

Wonderful location, scene of the sinking of the Mary Rose ship in 1545, and it's raising in 1982. Marvellous history and stupendous views of the Solent. A must visit place.

1 Thank 1265Steve

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?