We are always looking for new places to explore at the weekends when Neil is off, so we jumped at the chance to visit Hurst Castle when we got the opportunity. It is fairly local to our house taking around 40 minutes to drive there. You can’t directly drive to Hurst Castle and need to walk out to it or there is also a ferry available (at an additional cost.) We parked at Keyhaven (Postcode SO41 0TP) which cost us £6 for 6 hours. We had ferry travel included by Hurst Castle but the usual price for return travel for adults is £6.50 and children are £3.50, luckily under 3’s are free. Anyone else really going to miss the free tickets for toddlers when they’re older?!? The ferry’s are pretty regular every 20 minutes and Noah absolutely loved this experience. They were small open boats so it was pretty windy and wet but luckily Noah was just in awe. There is also the option to walk out to the castle which is around a 2 mile walk each way. Unfortunately the ground is shingle so not ideal for pushchairs. Upon reflection, we wished we had walked to the Castle because by the time we had finished, Noah was too tired to walk so we ended up returning on the ferry.
When we arrived to the Castle, we were greeted by very friendly staff which always starts the day off positively. We were handed a map and informed about the D Day celebrations they had running over the next week. It is definitely worth checking their website beforehand to see if they have any special events running. We enjoyed the day with Noah, who is 2, and also my little brother, 10, and i can honestly say it really does cater for a wide range of children’s ages. Within the castle, there is lots to see and explore. It is pushchair friendly, however, there are lots of stairs to go up within the castles, so you will find that you’re regularly dumping the pushchair around. There is a huge amount of space to run around and hide which is perfect for toddlers, whereas the information in the Tudor castle, Victorian wing batteries and lighthouse is enough to entertain older children. My brother absolutely loved reading about the history within different areas.
Built in 1544 by Henry V111 to protect the Solent, the history hidden within is really interesting, especially considering i’m not massively bothered by history. There are several rooms that display war memorabilia including canons, guns, uniforms, a theatre and so much more. We were so lucky with the weather the day we visited so the views from the top of the turrets, were clear and spectacular (definitely very instagramable 😉 .) Facility wise, there are toilets located in the central part of the castle, with large grass areas for picnics and benches dotted about in front of the tea rooms. We didn’t use the cafe facilities but they do offer a wide selection of homemade cakes, sandwiches and hot beverages, which all looked yummy. We are on a bit of a money saving mission at the minute with the impending baby arrival, so if you take a picnic and walk to and from the castle, the trip is particularly cheap. Ticket prices are as follow: adults £5.50, children age 5-17 £3.50 and a family ticket is 17. Under 3’s have free access within the castle too as well as the ferry.
We spent a good 4 hours here as there really is a lot to explore and the spacious areas, means the kids are able to play safely pretending to be knights with their swords. There are some dark rooms which terrified Noah but the older kids seemed to love them. During the visit, there was a D-Day exhibition on and the children were able to dress up and hold old guns while learning new and interesting facts about all the memorabilia. It is great that it was so interactive for them and my brother loved having his photo taken with the gun!!
We would definitely recommend Hurst Castle as it is good value and an interesting day out. Although, Noah was too young to appreciate the history, it was a great place for him to spend time exploring and burning off energy. Dogs on leads are also welcome, which is always an added bonus for us as we love taking Peggy on our adventures!!! We ended the day with an ice cream from the boat yard back in Keyhaven and one very quiet drive home with an exhausted toddler and puppy… happy days!!!
*Our day out was kindly gifted although my opinions are my own and i would never recommend somewhere we genuinely didn’t enjoy.*