Hurst Castle is an English Heritage attraction, and it’s a defensive castle built by Henry VIII at the end of a long shingle spit. The castle stands so far out into the Solent that it’s under a mile from the Isle of Wight, so as you can imagine the views are unrivalled and it’s a beautiful spot to spend time and explore.
The castle was cleverly built in just the right position to defend the Solent’s western approach and it was completed all the way back in 1544. Try to imagine how Charles I would have felt whilst imprisoned inside before his execution in London in 1648, and how the castle once looked before it was updated during the Napoleonic wars. Exhibits include the Garrison Theatre, the Trinity House lighthouse exhibition and the display room dedicated to the Association of Lighthouse Keepers.
The castle may look sleepy these days but it was used as recently as the Second World War. The site was constantly manned with coastal gun batteries and searchlights to detect enemy activity as early as possible in case of invasion. There’s a tea room nearby and dogs are welcome throughout the site on leads so this is a popular spot for some time out as well as to enjoy spectacular views across the Solent.
Hurst Castle opens to the public between April and November.