Featured image of Portland Castle

Portland Castle- A Tudor Fort

LocationIsle of Portland, Dorset, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byEnglish Heritage
Rooms AvailableYes (Wedding and events)

Portland Castle is known as one of the best-preserved forts of King Henry VIII. It has survived largely since the 16th century and has its original fan shape. Located in the northern region of the island named after the castle, Portland Island, this Tudor castle is a must-explore. It offers a great day out to the visitors. Dogs are also allowed throughout, except in the tearooms. You can easily find hotels near Portland Castle and reach this Tudor fort by road.

Portland Castle History

In the mid-1500s, the international tension between England, France, Spain, and Rome increased. So in 1539, King Henry VIII called a device to construct the forts along the English coastline to offer coastal defences. The castle was part of the Device order. It was built on Portland Road in a way that it could survive the naval attack. The construction of the castle was completed in 1541, and it cost £4,964.

After the construction, it was armed with eleven artillery pieces to protect against enemy shipping. There was no action near the castle and Portland coastline for almost a century. Later, the castle was upgraded and rearmed.

During the English Civil War, Portland and the castle were taken by Royalist supporters of King Charles I. The castle was finally surrendered in 1646 and was used as a Prison for dissenters for some time. Later, the castle didn’t come into action for more than a century.

In 1815, during the Napoleonic wars, the castle was again armed, but the technological advancement in the artillery industry during the 19th century made it look obsolete. The castle was then decided to be converted into a private house.

In 1869, the War office again took over the castle, but it was not rearmed and transformed into accommodation for more modern neighbouring fortifications. This castle was used as an office and for storing ordnance during the first and second world wars.

In 1949, the War office surrendered control over the castle. In 1955, it was opened to the public by the government. Since the 21st century, it has been managed by English Heritage and operated as a tourist attraction.

Portland Castle Architecture

Portland castle closeup
Portland castle closeup”, by Mark.murphy, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Portland Castle is a coastal fort overlooking Harbour. This castle is designed with Portland stones and has an unusual fan shape with a curved central tower and two angled wings. It is worth discovering if you are near Portland Bill or Chesil Beach. The Tudor fortress, Captain’s house, gun room, and heritage garden with the contemporary theme are the must-explores during your visit. The entire park of the castle has a unique historic feel.

You can opt for exploring the castle with its audio tour, which is included in its admission prices. It tells the in-depth history of the castle and the role it played in world war first and second. Portland Castle offers a lot to do, including historic adventures. You can enjoy a beautiful sea view from the gunpoint and explore the heritage garden and Portland Castle Beach. There is no need to book the Portland Castle tickets in advance; you can reach there after the Portland Castle opening time and get your tickets.

Note: An advance booking is required if you want to organise a Portland Castle wedding, get-together, or any special event.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was Portland Castle built?

Portland Castle was built between the years 1539 and 1541 as an artillery fort. It was a part of Henry VIII’s device programme to protect the Portland Roads from any attack from the French, Spanish, and Romans.

Who owns Portland Castle?

Portland Castle was built by Henry VIII. It is now owned by English Heritage and operated as a tourist attraction. The main fortress is protected as a Grade I listed building and Captain’s house as a Grade II listed building under UK law.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
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