Calshot Castle was built by Henry VIII as an artillery fort in 1539, as part of his chain of defences along the English south coast. As Henry VIII began closing Catholic monasteries across the country, England’s relationship with the Catholic countries of Europe worsened, with invasions feared from France and Spain.
As one of 30 coastal forts erected to defend England, the Castle was built using stone and lead from the recently closed monasteries of Beaulieu and Netley. The Castle was completed in 1540 and has seen various uses in its time – an artillery fort, a base to combat smugglers and even an RAF air base during WW1 (as a base for seaplanes) hosting the Schneider Trophy air races.With the outbreak of WW2, the Castle was re-armed in the face of possible German invasion. The station continued in use after WW2 but was closed in 1961 as military seaplanes became obsolete. After a short period of use by the Coastguard, the castle was opened in 1980 as a “well-preserved example” of King Henry’s Device Forts.
Today, Calshot Castle is owned by English Heritage and managed by Calshot Activities Centre.Not to miss
- Explore the cylindrical central castle keep.
- Climb to the top of the castle for the vast views of the Solent and across to the Isle of Wight.
- View the display on Calshot during WWII and its link to the Sunderland Flying Boat.
- Enjoy the children’s trail.
Parking charges apply for all castle visitors, including members of English Heritage.
The Castle is surrounded by a deep moat. Please park carefully and always keep children under close supervision due to the steep drop and risk of drowning.
Face coverings are encouraged when visiting the Castle, as per the current government guidance regarding COVD-19.