Featured image of Hurst Castle

The History of Hurst Castle

LocationMilford on Sea, Hampshire, England (Google Map)
Open for VisitorsYes (Opening on 1st April 2022)
Owned byEnglish Heritage
Official WebsiteHurst Castle
Rooms AvailableNo

Hurst Castle is one of the most advanced artillery fortresses in England, built between 1541 and 1544. It is a perfect escape point by the sea and allows you to experience the soothing sea waves. Officially used as a prison in the 17th century, this castle was modernised in the 19th century to solve the defending requirements of Solent in the Second World War. Now, Hurst Castle is a tourist attraction run by English Heritage and the friends of Hurst castle jointly.


Hurst Castle was built in 1544 to control the needless passage. In 1539, Henry VIII didn’t want the Catholic powers of Europe to attack the location; that’s why he used this castle as its defensive master plan. The castle was the building of permanent artillery defences that protected harbours and worked as a naval base and fleet anchorage. It was armed with 20 guns. The castle was the largest uneventful in the 16th century.

Between 1642 and 1651, during the civil war era, the Hurst castle was used for holding parliament. It was never attacked during this time, but it imprisoned Charles I in its keep between 1st and 19th December 1648. Later, he was taken for execution in London.

In 1793, the war with Revolutionary France broke, and Hurst Castle played a significant role in defending the location from enemies. Later, many other wars broke out, and the castle was in desperate need of repair and serviceable guns and ammunition. A small community near the castle helped the castle fulfil the garrison needs, and the number of soldiers and their families built their houses there.

In 1803, the repairing work was done while keeping coastal defences in mind because of the threat of invasion by Napoleon. The Royal Engineer Colonel John Evelegh handled all the strengthening and remodelling work. He vaulted the roof level and renewed the timber roofs of Tudor bastions and the overall work completed in 1807. In February 1809, the castle became the temporary military hospital for John Moore’s army survivors.

In the 1850s, the major modernisation of the castle took place. The overall work was completed in 1874. The occasional alterations in the castle continued till 1945. The castle solved the defensive purpose in both world wars and played a major role in protecting the western entrance leading to the Solent.

In 1956, the British Army’s coastal artillery was abolished, and the Hurst Castle started to be cared for by English Heritage under the ministry of works. Currently, the Hurst Marine manages the castle on behalf of English Heritage.


Hurst Castle, near Milford on Sea, Hampshire, England
Hurst Castle, near Milford on Sea, Hampshire, England”, by Ian Stannard, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Hurst Castle was constructed in the 16th century but was heavily modified in the 19th century. It includes a central tower with three bastions located in the north-west, south, and northeast, respectively. Each of them is around 52 metres across each other. The castle also includes a curtain wall with gun positions. The central castle has a narrow entrance connecting every part and offering perfect panoramic views.

The castle has the original 16th-century moat, which protected the castle during wars in the 1860s. It also has a twelve-sided central tower with two stories and a basement. The castle’s interior is circular, with a spiral staircase connecting the ground and first floors. Both floors have eight embrasure windows that were once used for holding lighter weaponry. The first-floor exterior walls and roof also have firing marks, which depicts the defensiveness of the castle.

The west and east wings of the castle were built in the 1860s using brick and stone. These were designed to offer 12 men the position to hold the heavy gun. The west wing is around 215 metres long and is now used as the gas-lit tower. It is surrounded by a beautiful garden. The East Wing is around 150 metres long, and it offered the gun position to 24 men. It is connected with the gateway in the north-east bastion.

You will get the chance to explore the new forest, ferry ride, Tudor castle, Victorian wing batteries, café, and lighthouses on the spit when you visit it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Hurst Castle?

Hurst Castle is located on Hurst Point, Milford on Sea, in the beautiful country of Hampshire. It is nested within the New Forest National Park and offers the perfect sea view. The easiest way to reach the castle is through Ferry, which works between 10 am and 5:30 pm.

What has happened at Hurst Castle?

Hurst Castle was the artillery fortress of Henry VIII. Unfortunately, a section of the wall of the castle’s east wing collapsed in February 2021 after the sea exposed and undercut its foundations. Currently, English Heritage is working on offering stability and protecting the castle from similar circumstances and making it stronger than before.

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.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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