Hurst Castle is situated at the seaward end of the shingle spit that extends 1.5 miles from Milford-On-Sea. The end of the spit, only three-quarters of a mile from the Isle of Wight, and the views from the top of the centre keep are spectacular we were told, on a clear day, this was not one of those days.
To access Hurst Castle you can either take the long cobblestone walk which we were told would take up to an hour, or catch the Ferry at £3.50 each way (£6.50 return) which takes 10 minutes – the option we took. The man ‘driving’ the boat the ferryman was a really nice guy giving us some information about the local area and the actual Castle itself which later proved to be really valuable.
Hurst Castle was the perfect location to defend the western approach to the Solent. The castle was built in the time of Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses and was completed in 1544.
Charles I was imprisoned here in 1648 before being taken to London to his trial and eventual execution.
The castle was modernised during the Napoleonic Wars and again in the 1870’s when the enormous armoured wings were constructed. Two of the huge 38-ton guns (above) installed in the 1870’s can be viewed in their casemates.
During World War II, Hurst Castle was manned with coastal gun batteries and searchlights. Some of those guns are exhibited in the castle today, one place in line with the entrance into Hurst Castle (right).
Since the castle has been opened to the public many more exhibits and exhibitions have been installed, including the Trinity House lighthouse museum.
Although it was good to visit Hurst Castle as an attraction in our opinion it was rather poorly set up which is unlike English Heritage. Little is laid on information wise with nobody around to tell you anything about the castle itself. The cafe was welcome as it was cold and raining, but the choice of snacks available to the guests was little and an order we placed for just two was delivered wrong. All this may have been due to the low number of visitors because of the poor weather? No excuse really!
You can hire those tapes you get with information being told over them, but the place looked in disarray and we thought they’d be pointless.
The garden looked rough with little work done to them and the Remembrance area was in a very poor state, something I hate to see. The cross was in a grassed over area and it seemed that nobody really cared much for it.
Pictures taken during the visit: