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Hurst Castle

Hurst Castle

Hurst Castle, an Historic England property managed locally by Hurst Marine, is at the seaward end of the shingle spit that extends 1.5 miles from Milford-On-Sea – and offers a great day out in the New Forest.

Come and discover this artillery fortress, built by Henry VIII, providing one of the best views in England. Commanding the entrance to the Solent, its strategic location has developed the castle into a powerful fortress, steeped in centuries of military history.

From its beginnings in 1544, as one of Henry VIII’s chain of artillery defences Hurst Castle, unusually for a Tudor castle, remained in military use until 1956, playing an active role through both world wars. Occasionally it was also used as a prison, most famously in the imprisonment of Charles I in the 17th century, during the Civil War. Hurst Castle defended England from invasion threats in the 19th and 20th centuries and exhibitions around the castle will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about its long history.

With spectacular views of the Solent and the Isle of the Wight from the top of the Tudor Keep and plenty of open spaces for children to explore, it’s a great day out for the whole family. Dogs on leads are very welcome too.

Access to Hurst Castle is a leisurely ferry ride from Keyhaven (charges apply) or a two-mile walk along Hurst Spit (please note this is a shingle spit).

How to get to Hurst Castle | Hurst Castle Ferry or Walking

Castle highlights include:

Step inside the heart of Hurst Castle to its Tudor fort, which retains much of its 16th century appearance.

Follow the steps to the first floor of the Tudor keep, where it was probably here that Charles I was kept prisoner in 1648.

Enjoy the spectacular views from the roof of the Tudor keep across the Needles Passage to the Isle of Wight.

Take a visit to the basement of the Tudor keep, used for storage of food, fuel, weapons and gunpowder.

Travel through time to the East and West wings, built in 1860s and take a glimpse into the living conditions of a soldier in the First and Second World Wars, with living quarters and washing facilities to explore.

Don’t miss the Garrison Theatre, possibly the last theatre constructed by the garrison to survive from the Second World War.

Discover the history of the lighthouses on the spit within the Lighthouse exhibition in the West Wing, from the first light built in 1786 to the High Light of 1867, which still functions today.

For more information visit


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