Discover the fully moated gardens and grounds of Herstmonceux Castle in Hailsham, East Sussex.  Herstmonceux is renowned for its magnificent moated castle, set in 550 acres of glorious parkland & superb Elizabethan gardens.

Gardens and Grounds of Herstmonceux Castle

1066 Country Credit Sam Moore

Castles

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From the weekend home of the British Royal Family to fully moated fairytale castles and battle scared ruins, there are over 50 castles to discover in South East England.   The South Coast has historically always been vulnerable from foreign attack so more than 30 of these protected and defended the UK's shores.

It is no surprise therefore, that castles in Kent and castles in Sussex dominate our royal connections guide as Kings and Queens throughout the ages turned South East England into the fortress of Britain, by building some of the most impressive, imposing and famous castles in England. Built to last, the castles make fascinating places to visit and the South East has them in abundance. From winding staircases, secret tunnels, ramparts , ornate rooms, hideaways, knights, stories of Kings and Queens and more - dive into South East England's 185 million years of history.

10 best castles in southern England

  • Hastings Castle, East Sussex
    Famous for the Norman conquest of 1066.
  • Windsor Castle, Berkshire
    Official residence of HM The Queen & Britain's best loved castle.
  • Dover Castle, Kent
    One of Britain's most iconic fortresses & home to King Henry II.
  • Leeds Castle, Kent
    One of England's best preserved castles with 500 acres of parkland & gardens.
  • Guildford Castle, Surrey
    Recently improved access & panoramic views of the Guildford countryside.
  • Broughton Castle, Oxfordshire
    Dubbed the original medieval manor house, surrounded by a three acre moat.
  • Arundel Castle, West Sussex
    Commanding location with magnificent South Downs views.
  • Hever Castle, Kent
    Romantic castle & childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
  • Herstmonceux Castle, 1066 Country
    Embodies the history of medieval England and the romance of renaissance Europe.
  • Fort Nelson, Hampshire
    A superbly restored Victorian fort overlooking Portsmouth Harbour.

South Coast Castles

The south coast has historically been Great Britain's first line of defence against attack and military invasion so there are many more to explore beyond out top ten guide.

Castles in Sussex

The Redoubt Fortress in Eastbourne is a unique Georgian fortress built to keep Napoleon's armies out of Britain and was in operation during both world wars in the 20th Century. The fully moated, story book Bodiam Castle in 1066 Country offers some of the best views over Sussex from the top of its towers.

Castles in Hampshire

The ruins of Odiham Castle date back to the signing of the Magna Carta while Southsea Castle was constructed under the reign of King Henry VIII. A more recent construction, Fort Nelson near Fareham is a superbly restored Victorian Fort with a display of more than 350 guns and daily gun salutes.  Don't forget that the famous 'Great Hall' in Winchester is all that remains of Winchester Castle, one of the finest surviving aisled halls of the 13th century now containing the greatest symbol of medieval mythology, King Arthur’s Round Table.

Castles in Kent

Henry VIII's chain of coastal defences also includes Walmer Castle while the river Medway into London has been stoutly defended over the years by the turreted Upnor Castle and the great keep of Rochester Castle, one of the UK's best preserved examples of Norman architecture.

Castles to visit near me

Whether you live in South East England or are visiting from elsewhere in the UK or abroad, find which castles are near you by using the 'map view' button below. Many of our featured castles double up as wedding venues, offer the chance for a night away and have a selection of seasonal events suitable for all the family, dispelling the myth that castles aren't fun places to visit for kids too!

Number of results:

Number of results: 24

, currently showing 1 to 20.

  1. Odiham Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Hook

    Known locally as ‘King John’s Castle’, Odiham Castle is located within a tranquil site adjacent to the Basingstoke Canal.

  2. Visit Arundel

    Type

    Type:

    Countryside, Parks & Gardens

    Arundel captures the essence of heritage, urban chic and country pursuits, all within a stone’s throw of London. Experience our market town and you will discover more than you’d expect.

  3. Guildford Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Guildford

    Guildford Castle features 2 model displays, and a viewing platform offering panoramic views of Guildford.

  4. Southsea Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Southsea, Portsmouth

    Visit Henry VIII's Southsea Castle, right along the water's edge.

  5. Hever Castle and Gardens

    Type

    Type:

    Historic House / Palace

    Edenbridge

    Childhood home of Anne Boleyn and later of Lord Astor.

  6. New Tavern Fort

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Gravesend

    An 18th-20thC fort with guns and emplacements overlooking the River Thames. The underground magazines have exhibitions on World War II and the aerial bombing of Gravesend.

  7. Redoubt Fortress & Military Museum

    Type

    Type:

    Museum

    Eastbourne

    An impressive Napoleonic circular brick fortress which provides the perfect home for the largest military museum in the South East.

  8. Dover Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Dover

    Discover 2000 years of history at Dover Castle! Step inside the Great Tower and immerse yourself in the medieval world and royal court of King Henry ll. Travel deep inside the White Cliffs and tour the Underground Hospital.

  9. Shoreham Fort

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    SHOREHAM-BY-SEA

    Shoreham Fort built in 1857 is now the last of its kind and definitely worth a visit on event and open days

  10. Yarmouth Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Yarmouth

    A Tudor Castle in a beautiful seaside town.

  11. Royal Armouries - Fort Nelson

    Type

    Type:

    Historic Site

    Fareham

    Fort Nelson is a superbly restored Victorian fort overlooking Portsmouth Harbour. It is home to the Royal Armouries national artillery collection with over 350 historic guns on display.

  12. Arundel Castle & Gardens

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Arundel

    The towering stately home and fortified castle in the heart of Sussex by the Sea! Open April to October, Tuesdays to Sundays inclusive, Bank Holiday Mondays and August Mondays.

  13. Leeds Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Maidstone

    Set in 500 acres of beautiful parkland, Leeds Castle is the perfect backdrop to your day out. The historic castle, glorious gardens, attractions and programme of events awaits visitors.

  14. Walmer Castle & Gardens

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Deal

    This castle was built in 1540 as part of Henry Vlll's chain of coastal defences. See the Duke of Wellington's room, the reception rooms and magnificent commemorative gardens of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

  15. Hastings Castle & 1066 Story

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Hastings

    Fragmentary remains of Norman Castle built on West Hill after William the Conqueror's victory at the Battle of Hastings. 1066 Story interpretation centre in siege tent.

  16. Carisbrooke Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Newport

    Visit Carisbrooke Castle and enjoy over 800 years of history!

  17. Highcliffe Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Christchurch

    Highcliffe Castle is a Grade I listed mansion built in the romantic gothic style. It was built by Lord Stuart de Rothesay in the early 1830s and remained a family home until the 1950s. It is situated on the cliff top with beach access and…

  18. Broughton Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Banbury

    Broughton Castle is essentially a family home lived in by Lord and Lady Saye and Sele and their family. The original
    medieval manor house, of which much remains today, was built in about 1300 by Sir John de Broughton. It stands on an
    island site…

  19. Windsor Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Windsor

    Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, the family home of 39 British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years, and is today one of the official residences of Her Majesty The Queen.

    Open to visitors throughout the…

  20. Upnor Castle

    Type

    Type:

    Castle / Fort

    Rochester

    This attractive, turreted castle is set in a picturesque village area that is backed by rolling, wooded hills. The castle is fronted by a water bastion jutting out into the River Medway.

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