It’s hard to overstate just quite how impressive Highcliffe Castle is. Perched cliff-high, the highly Instagrammable castle is a prime example of Romantic and Picturesque architecture and one of the best-preserved castles and stately buildings from the 19th century.
Highcliffe Castle, Christchurch
Built in just five years from 1831 to 1836, the castle was the brainchild of Lord Stuart de Rothesay, a noted diplomat who oversaw much of the design. The castle has a much older look and feel thanks to the use of medieval French bricks and masonry, while the Gothic revival features, including stained glass windows, gives it a classic Norman look.
Sadly, the building was ravaged by several fires in the 60s and was left derelict before Christchurch Borough Council stepped in and carried out a huge renovation and conservation project over the last decade. The castle is now open to visitors between 10.30am and 5pm from Sunday to Thursday with guided tours every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, while the expansive grounds and excellent Castle Kitchen and Tea Rooms are free to visit year long. There are a range of rooms open to the public including the Great Hall and the Foyer, with more rooms currently being renovated ready for the public. The castle is in demand as a wedding venue on Fridays and Saturdays, so it’s best to check in advance if the castle is open.
A Grade I listed building, Highcliffe offers stunning views across the coast and out towards the Isle of Wight, and is just a short stroll from our Highcliffe hotel. The castle makes for a great starting point to explore the area – take a picnic out on the lawn, or scramble down to Highcliffe Beach for a beachside stroll where you can walk all the way to Christchurch and back along miles of expansive beaches. The grounds are free to visit, but you’ll need to buy a ticket to enter the house.