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“A Piece of History”
Review of Hurst Castle

Hurst Castle
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Located within the New Forest National Park, Hurst Castle is situated on the seaward end of the shingle spit that extends 1.5 miles from Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire. Built by Henry VIII as a chain of fortresses to protect the Solent in 1544, this is the site where Charles I was imprisoned in 1648 before being taken to his trial and execution in London. The castle was modernised during the Napoleonic wars and again in the 1870s when the enormous armoured wings were added, making it the largest coastal fort in the world. Two of the huge 38-ton guns installed in the 1870s can be viewed in their casemates together with other weapons developed through 412 years of military use. During World War II, Hurst was manned with coastal gun batteries and searchlights. You can get to Hurst Castle by ferry from Keyhaven Quay (sat nav postcode: SO41 0TP) or you can walk along the shingle Hurst Spit.
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“A Piece of History”
Reviewed October 10, 2013

I have visited Hurst Castle several times as I live only 5 miles from Milford-on-Sea. I never get tired of this place. There is so much history gathered in one place; from Henry VIII to WWII. There is plenty of information on show and you can visit most parts of the castle. The old guns are still there and the railway lines. You can go right up to the battlements and pass through the amazing round room where wedding receptions are held. Visit the dungeon which flooded at high tide, one way to keep the prison population down in those days! My favourite part of the castle is the newly restored WWII theatre. There is a café and small gift shop. You can reach the castle by walking along the shingle spit, approx. 1.5 miles from Milford or take the ferry across from Keyhaven.
Outside the castle walls is the lighthouse, no longer in service and unfortunately not open to the public.
Take the time to walk all the way around the outside of the castle (this does involve some clambering over wooden breakwaters), close to the sea in places but there are some nice little nooks for a picnic.
There is an entrance fee for the castle but it is free to walk around the castle and visit the beach.

Visited August 2013
Thank Cloud21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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844 reviews from our community

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English first
Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“The fortress which gives you more”
Reviewed October 9, 2013

This summer I've been around the fortress with my partner for a walk. At the time we didn't know there was a fee to visit and didn't bring any money with us, we were just up for a good long stroll down the spit and taking pictures of the scenery. We were impressed by the size of it, by the view towards Isle of Wight, and had no clue of what to expect inside as it is so grim on the outside.

Today I took my father on the same long walk from Milford side of Hurst Spit. We parked the car there, which we recommend everybody to do, if you have the time and the fitness for this. It's not worth it to pay the ferry and miss the stroll, we certainly don't regret it although the wind has blown our heads off on the way back, but it was part of the adventure.

The fortress proves to be so much more inside as you can guess from the outside. It's very pleasant to discover all it's horizontal layers (three historical stages) as well as the vertical one. Were I a child, it would be my fantasy fortress, and a place to run around excited (well supervised, as I guess parents don't want their children to fall off the walls when going up). I loved the views to Isle of Wight as well as the marshy surroundings, I found the big canons quite scary, but loved to have had a chance to see them. The only thing I missed was an idea of what the rooms of the old circular Henry VIII building would have looked like back in those day (furniture, utilities).
Would really recommend a trip to this castle to anyone who loves history, old and recent, as well as great scenery.

Visited October 2013
Thank Catalina G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Unusual castle, interesting history, great setting, enjoyable ferry ride and fab cake.”
Reviewed October 4, 2013

A very interesting and unusual castle. Great views of the Isle of wight and the sprawling castle from the top!

There are some displays but the audio tour gives you the most information.

We stopped for tea and some huge slices of great homemade cake.

Other reviews state the ferry is £5 each ride. We paid £5.50 per adult for a return trip. We could not have negotiated the spit with our buggy and enjoyed arriving by water.

Visited October 2013
Thank tempest799
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matlock, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
87 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed October 2, 2013

I must admit I had not read up enough about this castle so thought it would be a quick hour around a typical tudor type coastal fort. We parked up in the nearby car park, got a ticket for 2 hrs ,got ready to walk to the castle, only to find it was a £5 each ferry ride. We asked a local he helpfully said, pull out of the carpark turn left ,then right along (I think it is called Seagrass Lane) the narrow road to the Hurst Spit where you can park up for free.
It was then a nice, but breezy walk along the man made shingle spit to the castle, about 40 mins.
As we got nearer to the castle it just grew and grew, not only was it from the Tudor period, it was Napoleonic and 2WW periods. Entered to the shop we were told there was an audio guide but it was early, the sets were not charged up yet ( so if you go maybe better in the afternoon).
We got around no problem it was interesting from start to finish and partway through our 3 1/2 hr visit, we had a lovely brew and cake in the café. A great day out a lovely walk back along the spit.
We were lucky with the weather as if it rained the spit walk would probably be an ordeal. You also get a great view of the Isle of Wight.

Visited September 2013
Thank john a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
141 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Interesting large castle - lots of empty rooms to explore, great views and setting”
Reviewed September 25, 2013 via mobile

We took our 3 and 5 yr old boys here at the weekend. They loved it as there are just loads and loads of rooms to explore and so many tunnels, passages and dungeons etc... for them to run around and discover. Great views from up on the roof.

We spent most of the time in the eastern part where pretty much every room is empty. This was a bit of a shame as I think an opportunity has been missed here. The living quarters etc were just a large room completely empty and with tape on the floor showing where the internal walls had been making it into bedrooms, lounge etc... There were no artifacts - nothing - just an empty space. It would have been nice to see a bed and a chair and an old stove etc... to give the kids a feel of what life was like for the soldiers here and some idea of the living standards, conditions and environment that existed back then. Pretty much every room was completely empty like this and so it was down to imagination to have any idea of what would have been in the various rooms and how they might have looked and felt. This was disappointing but the kids enjoyed running about and had no concept of what I thought was 'missing'.
We did not have time to visit the Western end and that may well have been different - perhaps not just empty rooms? We'll go back and see that next time.

The little cafe was very pleasant with a nice selection of tasty home made cakes. The prices were very reasonable and the cheese and ham toasty was perfectly cooked and very enjoyable.
They even had a selection of pre-packed gluten free cakes and biscuits which was a pleasant surprise.
It was unfortunate that the cafe is inside the walls and so has no view outside at the spectacular surroundings and sea views, but you could always take your refreshments or picnic outside onto the beach.

It's an amazing feat of engineering considering much of it is more than 450 years old.

Overall we enjoyed our visit and we will go back again as the kids loved exploring it all and being so big it used up lots of their energy running about which was great.

Visited September 2013
Thank woodielisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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