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“Friends of the Rock Gardens”
Review of Southsea Castle

Southsea Castle
Ranked #11 of 119 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.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Friends of the Rock Gardens”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

The Rock Gardens in Southsea are listed. The gardens were built in the early 1920's during the depression following WW1. During the Second World War the entire coastline, including the Rock Gardens, was defended with a barrier of large concrete blocks (one can be seen today at the D-Day Memorial Garden near South Parade Pier). Together with coils of barbed wire, these blocks were intended to prevent tanks or personnel landing on the beach. After the war, the Rock Gardens was the first area in Southsea to be renovated because they were completely overgrown. Nowadays the beautiful gardens are maintained by Friends of the Rock Gardens, a volunteer group, who in 2013 won the prestigious national Green Flag Award.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank Julia P P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
32 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Try a champagne in a castle!!”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

I've been here several time during the summer and thoroughly enjoy myself each time I'm here. I hosted a friend and we spent a good 45 mins on the ramparts listening to a local volunteer talk about the castle. The weather was sunny and hot so we enjoyed the great views over the Solent and then we retired to the courtyard for a bottle of champagne in the sun. A lovely piece of history that has been preserved with a functional twist to it.

Visited May 2014
Thank Simon H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Farnborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
91 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Fab views & it's free”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

visited on a sunny day,greeted by very friendly helpful staff.
Views from the top are spectacular.
Facilities excellent for young and old alike.
Best part was the lovely cafe,excellent tea and cake but they also do meals,freshly prepared-really worth a visit away from the hustle & bustle of the sea front

Visited May 2014
Thank Elaine W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
166 reviews
100 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Southsea Castle”
Reviewed 24 May 2014

Choose a decent day for visibility and you can see across the Solent to Bembridge on the Isle of Wight and also the forts in mid channel. It was here that Henry VIII saw his flag ship the Mary Rose sink July 1545.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank MBKOKent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Castle in a City”
Reviewed 12 May 2014 via mobile

Portsmouth has so many interesting and diverse attractions. This one is extra special because it is a substantial historical monument, and it is free to visit. There are spaces within to suit every weather condition, and points of interest for a broad social spectrum from historical scholars to very young children. We will be returning soon!

Visited May 2014
Thank SouthseaMum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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