Discovering Hurst Castle and a fabulous coastal walk.

Start your adventure at the Keyhaven public car park (opposite the Gun Inn. Postcode SO41 0TP) and walk out to Hurst Castle. It sits at the very end of Hurst Spit, a geographical oddity, 1.5 miles long, that stretches south, into the Solent toward the Isle of Wight. The Spit divides the choppy Solent waters and creates a calm lagoon which is an excellent site for paddle boarding trips, kayaking and quiet sailing.

There are masses of dark passages to explore, strange crevices and well signed shell storage bunkers to explore. The views from the top are spectacular, so take a picnic, or grab something from the cafe.

Whatever the weather, come and blow your cobwebs away on this spectacular day out for all the family.

Hurst Castle was the perfect location to defend the western approach to the Solent. The castle was built by Henry VIII as a part of the coastal fortresses defence system. It was finally completed in 1544.

In 1648 Charles I was imprisoned here, before being taken to London to his trial and execution.

The castle was modernised during the Napoleonic wars and again in the 1870’s when the enormous armoured wings were constructed. Two of the huge 38-ton guns installed in the 1870’s can be viewed in their massive casemates. They are quite a thing to see, especially since they were rotated by men pushing!

As an alternative to walking back, boat trips run between Hurst Castle and Keyhaven. Tickets can be purchased on the day, so no need to book ahead. The timetable is dependent on weather, tide times and passenger numbers, but generally run on a regular schedule. The boat has a cover for bad or windy weather, but the journey is nearly always flat and calm because you’re travelling up the eastern side in the lagoon next to the spit and not the rougher side of the Spit to the west.