We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“From Here Henry the Eighth saw the Sinking of the Mary Rose”
Review of Southsea Castle

Southsea Castle
Ranked #22 of 128 things to do in Portsmouth
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: 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.
Reviewed June 2, 2013

Now open regularly Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. until November, the Castle offers great panoramic views of The Solent and across Southsea Common. It was on these battlements that Henry stood to observe the attack on The English Fleet by The French Fleet that included the sinking of The Mary Rose. There is a small exhibit explaining the events of that day. The castle itself built during Henry's reign is of an interesting design and entering over the drawbridge and through the main gate you are confronted by the Keep which is on several floors and has various exhibits which trace not only the history of the building but also the fortification and defence of the city. There are personal details of the residents of the Castle over the years from the original Garrison through the Lighthouse keeper and his family and up to The ATS girls stationed here during the Second World War. Although when we visited we were unable to get to the roof as refurbishment was taking place you are able to walk round the outer upper level with all the views. When available there are fifteen minute guided tours from the Keep entrance. There is a shop and a very good Cafe (The Yellow Kite) which offers lunches and light food. situated in some of the original rooms. Entry to the Castle and Rooms is free and the whole experience provides another part of The Mary Rose story.

Thank bsandrs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (506)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
All reviews
"henry viii"
in 47 reviews
"free entry"
in 40 reviews
"courtyard cafe"
in 9 reviews
"free attraction"
in 15 reviews
"wedding venue"
in 8 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 29 reviews
"small museum"
in 8 reviews
"nice walk"
in 9 reviews
"sea front"
in 12 reviews
"nice cafe"
in 10 reviews
"interesting history"
in 6 reviews
"interesting place to visit"
in 6 reviews
"isle of wight"
in 23 reviews
"gift shop"
in 12 reviews
"fantastic views"
in 7 reviews
"sunny day"
in 7 reviews
"mary rose"
in 10 reviews

383 - 387 of 506 reviews

Reviewed June 2, 2013

What more could you want from a free visit, great views of the sea and bay. This an important place in history.

Thank Sbangsuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

On a sunny, clear day the views are fantastic. So much to see in the Solent, never a dull moment. Not an awful lot in the castle itself but lots of other attractions nearby. Southsea Common has lots of fantastic gardens and hidden treasures. Plenty of space for energetic children.

1  Thank Maggie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2013

Just the place to be when the sun is setting and the boats are returning to harbour. Great views, always windy but refreshing place to be. Lovely gardens especially at this time of year.

Thank Jazzman101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed May 21, 2013

For a free and quick wander around it is a nice little place but there isn't an awful lot going on here. There are a lot of other attractions nearby though so can easily be tied in to some of those.

Thank 889Roo889
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Southsea Castle also viewed

Portsmouth, Hampshire
Portsmouth, Hampshire
Portsmouth, Hampshire

Been to Southsea Castle? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing