Hurst Castle

>>  Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Many years ago, my first husband and I were on a cheap holiday sleeping in the awning of a friend's caravan, it was an experience best forgotten on the whole but on the day we were driving home we stopped by a waterway where people were crabbing with bits of bacon tied to string.  We wandered down a causeway for quite a while and at the end of it was a castle.  This took us by surprise.  We'd just gone for a walk.  We had very little money between us and we cobbled together together enough for half the entrance fee and convinced the man on the door to let us in for half price.  It must have been a slow day, and it was definitely quite late in the day.

This year we were back down in the New Forest and with a bit of map scouring I found out we had parked at Milford-on-Sea and the castle we had stumbled across was the rather large Hurst Castle.

So 25 years later I was back, with an upgraded husband and a daughter.  We parked in exactly the same place,  and watched people still crabbing off the bridge with string and bacon.

It's a really lovely place, and this time it was about 28C so it was seriously nice, if a little busy.

We walked the 1.5 miles out on the shingle spit (you can get a boat from Keyhaven to the castle if you don't fancy the walk).

So this is English Heritage's photo of it, it's a big place but its interest lies in that true English Heritage way: they've not done much with it!

Henry VIII built it and there is clearly a Tudor part of it, but it has basically been used ever since.  Charles I was imprisoned in it, so there is a display on that.  I think I recall reading it was used as a salt store but most interestingly it was used full on in the recent wars (starting with the Napoleonic)  so it still has huge guns in it and all the workings of an army station.

This is a relatively small one.

The bunting isn't celebrating the gun...

The gun and the theatre shared a room, must have been inconvenient some nights!

New and old are higgly piggly and you walk from one to the next.

Some parts I just wasn't sure whether I was in new or old!

National Trust seem to pick a period for a property and display it in that manner, English Heritage seem to leave stuff alone, it makes for a completely different experience.  I like it. 

Old, untouched since last used cookers in a room that seemed to be a store room you could just wander into.

There is a huge lighthouse exhibition there which was very interesting.

In fact there are many rooms with different displays and films in.

But mostly I liked being up on the roof.

...which was blistering in the heat and 'some people' seemed to enjoy standing on the bubbles whilst others warned them that they would be moaning later when their shoes were ruined and the castle wouldn't thank them for it either!

We had a wander around the outside and then a lovely walk back along the split.

I remember enjoying it the first time I went and this trip sealed it.  It is a fascinating place to visit.


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