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“Interesting gem, with lots to see and explore”
4 of 5 bubbles 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 Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Interesting gem, with lots to see and explore”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2014

Situated at the end of a long shale spit, this castle was first constructed by Henry VIII and then extensively enlarged, mostly by the Victorians, for use as a fort to defend approaches from the sea.

You can reach it either by walking along the spit from Keyhaven (a distance of a couple of miles, fairly heavy walking on shale) or via a ferry from Keyhaven which is quite reasonably priced and a nice enough little ride.

The castle itself is long and thin, built around two large grassy courtyards with the tudor castle in the middle. It was used right up to the 1950's. There are various cannon and some huge guns (WW2 vintage). There's also a set of display boards in the Tudor keep which show you the development and use of the fort over the years.

The best thing about the fort though is that it is absolutely full of nooks and crannies, stairs up and down, cellars, roof walks and views. Great fun to explore, I went with my children aged 10 and 16 and they had a whale of a time.

There's a small cafe and a gift shop too.

Well worth the entrance price and a good few hours exploring.

Visited August 2014
Thank Andy O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
247 reviews
166 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Step Back in Time”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 August 2014

A long history of development as a military establishment from mid 1500s up to Second World War. Provides fascinating glimpses of what life was like as a soldier through he ages. Guns from 38 tons installed in 1870 though to quick firing gun batteries with searchlights can be minutely explored. It has towers, dungeons, parade grounds, turrets, and a maze of rooms and corridors in which you can lose your children for hours. There is also an interesting exhibition on lighthouses within the walls. Best approached by walking along the scenic coastal walk and pebble spit from Keyhaven Car Park (buggies not recommended) and return by ferry as you will probably be exhausted!. Although owned by English heritage (and thus free to members) it is locally operated by the ferry company thus the audio tour of the castle costs £2 for a one and a half hour visit. The wildlife in the marshes is an additional attraction.

Visited June 2014
Thank mikeandros
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Salisbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
226 reviews
85 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Ok for brief visit.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2014 via mobile

Got the ferry from Keyhaven (£5.50 return). Short scenic ride to castle with extra £4.50 fee to enter castle. Exhibits looked a bit tired and didn't seem to be organised in a methodical to explain the castle' s history. Best feature is the spectacular view from the keep across The Solent, particularly the tidal race through the narrows. You can walk from Milford On Sea which might be a better and cheaper option if you are the energetic type.

Visited August 2014
Thank BazJackSalisbury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buckingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A great day out”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2014

Thoroughly enjoyed the walk along the beach from Keyhaven, and was very pleasantly surprised at how interesting the castle is. Nearly all of it was open and ready for exploring (the most important part of any castle visit!), and the displays covering Tudor through to modern history were interesting and informative. Great views from the top of the walls as well. For a very modest entrance fee, this was a great value place to visit.

Visited August 2014
Thank RPBucks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
124 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Slightly disappointing”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2014 via mobile

After a very pleasant walk down a shingle beach to Hurst castle looking at some stunning views we arrived at Hurst castle. This so far is all free and then it went not so well. From unfriendly staff in reception that said no to most of out questions rather than offering us insight whet we could do. Apparently there is an audio tour but I oblong found that out half way round and rom the information leaflet I had to buy at extra cost.

The place itself looks like people have stopped looking after it. For example the toilets said they were upgraded on 1911 and I am sorry it looked like it! The information was there and was interesting but it was not organised in a way that allowed you to know where to go or how it flowed. It may have been better with an audio guide but as I say the woman in the reception was telling me much more what was not available or could not be done e.g no family tickets, than what would have made the visit better.

As for the cafe the food is good, but be aware it only takes cash. The reception took card so I ws surprised they could not. it was lucky I had some cash otherwise we would have gone without.

Overall this place looks dilapidated and old compared to many other similar attractions which is a shame considering the clear historical importance. Do go and look but be aware of the pitfalls. We debated as a family between 1-3 stars and plumper for 2. It may be we had a bad day but it would not take much for it to be a good day.

Visited August 2014
1 Thank RajaMukherjee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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