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Holiday Travel Guide

Located in a dramatic waterfront setting, this historic fort was once the first line of English defense and is now a fascinating museum.

Once an important defensive structure, the beautifully preserved Southsea Castle is now a popular tourist attraction. Walk around the battlements, discover its captivating history and admire the sea views.

In 1544, Henry VIII chose this strategic location to build one of his many “Device Forts.” View these structures lining the south coast, designed to protect England from French invaders. Southsea Castle became the site of tragedy, however, when it saw the Mary Rose sinking not long after the building was completed.

As you explore, notice how well the building is preserved. After an explosion in the 18th century, the castle fell into disrepair. In 1814, it was renovated and expanded to accommodate more troops and guns. This is the incarnation that stands today. Head to the courtyard to see a section of the original Tudor wall.

On the grounds, look for the active lighthouse, originally built in 1820 to guide incoming vessels. Climb to the top of the castle for spectacular views of the ferry-filled waters of the Solent waterway to the south and Portsmouth to the north. Follow the Counterscarp Gallery, the underground tunnel around the moat.

Informative displays inside the keep provide information on Portsmouth's defenses. In the western galleries, watch an audio-visual presentation that narrates the story of the fort.

On Friday nights in summer, go to the Champagne Bar. Listen to live bands and DJs play music, sip drinks and eat snacks. Book your spot in advance to ensure a table.

Check the castle's website for information on events that run here throughout the year, including film screenings and gigs during Victorious Festival in August. The historic oceanfront setting makes it an unforgettable venue.

Buses run from Portsmouth's train stations to outside Southsea Castle. If you’re driving, look for a number of parking spots nearby, including those at the D-Day Museum. Admission to this landmark is free.

Top Trending Hotels Near Southsea Castle

ibis Portsmouth Centre
ibis Portsmouth Centre
3.5 out of 5
Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, England
The price is £37 per night from 7 Mar to 8 Mar

Located in Portsmouth City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of University of Portsmouth and Gunwharf Quays. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and HMS ...

3.8/5Good! (987 reviews)
In difficult times

"With the Covid it was very quiet and well supplied with the Hand cleaning Stations, very friendly and helpful staff. Well done keep it up"…"

Reviewed on 15 Nov 2020

ibis Portsmouth Centre
Spitbank Fort
Spitbank Fort
The Solent, Portsmouth, Gosport, England
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Situated in Gosport, this guesthouse is within 1 mi (2 km) of The D-Day Story and Spitbank Fort. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) away.

Spitbank Fort
Queen's Hotel, Portsmouth Ltd.
Queen's Hotel, Portsmouth Ltd.
3 out of 5
Clarence Parade, Portsmouth, England
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Located in Southsea, this beach hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Southsea Hoverport and Spitbank Fort. Gunwharf Quays and University of Portsmouth are also ...

3.8/5Good! (453 reviews)
Sea view break

"The hotel is a bit tired in parts but is in the process of being refurbished. Delightful stay, excellent service, friendly staff and food was amazing"…"

Reviewed on 26 Oct 2020

Queen's Hotel, Portsmouth Ltd.
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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ibis Portsmouth Centre
ibis Portsmouth Centre
3.5 out of 5
Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, England
The price is £37 per night from 7 Mar to 8 Mar
ibis Portsmouth Centre
Spitbank Fort
Spitbank Fort
The Solent, Portsmouth, Gosport, England
Spitbank Fort
Queen's Hotel, Portsmouth Ltd.
Queen's Hotel, Portsmouth Ltd.
3 out of 5
Clarence Parade, Portsmouth, England
Queen's Hotel, Portsmouth Ltd.
Blue Star House
Blue Star House
3 out of 5
20 Elphinstone Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, England
The price is £39 per night from 4 Mar to 5 Mar
Blue Star House
The Jolly Sailor
The Jolly Sailor
3 out of 5
54 Clarence Parade, Portsmouth, England
The price is £40 per night from 5 Mar to 6 Mar
The Jolly Sailor
Seacrest Hotel
Seacrest Hotel
3 out of 5
12 South Parade, Portsmouth, England
The price is £78 per night from 1 Apr to 2 Apr
Seacrest Hotel
Holiday Inn Express Portsmouth - Gunwharf Quays
Holiday Inn Express Portsmouth - Gunwharf Quays
3 out of 5
The Plaza Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, England
The price is £59 per night from 1 Apr to 2 Apr
Holiday Inn Express Portsmouth - Gunwharf Quays
Q8 Boutique Hotel
Q8 Boutique Hotel
4 out of 5
38 Clarence Parade, Portsmouth, England
The price is £130 per night from 1 Apr to 2 Apr
Q8 Boutique Hotel
Southsea Rocks Hotel
Southsea Rocks Hotel
3 out of 5
4 Florence Road, Portsmouth, England
Southsea Rocks Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.