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Hastings Castle & 1066 Story

Castle Hill Road, West Hill, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 3AR

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From £3.95
Hastings Castle & 1066 Story

About

The ruins we see today are the remains of a stone fortress (built after William of Normandy's coronation) which was practically impregnable from three sides. Less than half of the original structure remains.

 

Background & History

 

During September 1066, William the Conqueror landed at Pevensey and ordered the construction of a prefabricated wooden castle.  He then moved on to Hastings and erected another.

 

Hastings Castle was originally a wooden tower built on top of a man made mound or motte, which was surrounded by an outer courtyard or bailey.  The bailey was enclosed by a wooden palisade.  The Norman motte and bailey castle would become a common fixture across England following the conquest.

 

After the victory at the Battle of Hastings, William was crowned on Christmas Day 1066, and had issued orders that Hastings Castle was to be rebuilt in stone.

 

William left the castle in the charge of one of his top commanders Humphrey de Tilleul. Around 1069, he gave the castle and the town of Hastings to Robert, Count of Eu, who founded the Collegiate Church of St Mary in the Castle within the castle walls. The remains of this church are the best-preserved part of the ruins.

 

In 1094 William the Conqueror's son King William Rufus stayed at the castle and during the reign of Henry II much building work was carried out. However, in 1216 King John feared invasion from France and ordered the castle to be dismantled, rather than fall into French hands.

 

It was restored and rearmed by Henry III in 1225 and later dismantled in the reign of Edward II. In 1272 the Collegiate Church became the King's Free Chapel of Hastings and its Chapel of the Holy Cross became a place of pilgrimage.

 

The savage storms of the 13th century brought chaos to Hastings. The harbour was destroyed and large parts of the castle fell into the sea. The destruction of the harbour meant the port of Hastings had no further military importance, the town declined into a fishing village and the castle fell into decay.

 

Henry VIII finally dissolved St Mary in the Castle at the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. In 1591 the ruins became the property of the Pelham family and for centuries the site was used for farming.

 

In 1824 the 6th Earl of Chichester, Thomas Pelham carried out a full excavation of the castle and during Victorian times it became a tourist attraction. During World War II, an anti-aircraft gun was placed alongside the castle and the steep cliffs were used as a training area for commandos. In 1951 the Pelham family sold the castle to the Hastings Corporation for £3,000.

 

In 1966 a plaque was unveiled commemorating the Battle of Hastings and on October 14 each year a replica of William's flag, the Gonfalon, is flown from the castle. A popular attraction at the castle today is The 1066 Story - a 16 minute sound and light presentation on the history of the castle and the battle.

 

Hastings Castle & 1066 Story Tour

Hastings Castle is a fascinating part of history and includes 'The 1066 Story' - an exciting 20 minute audio-visual programme covering the Conquest and the history of the castle through the centuries.

Discover Hastings three in one super saver ticket!

From April to November visit Blue Reef Aquarium, Smugglers Adventure AND Hastings Castle with the super saver ticket saving you 25%! Available to purchase on the door at any of the three locations and valid for seven days. T’s and C’s apply.

Super Saver Ticket Price List:

Adult £18.45;  Child £14.33;  Concession £16.69;  Family 4 - £61.80  Family 5 - £76.13
 

 

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Adult ticket£4.95
Concession ticket£4.25 per ticket
2 a and 2 c£15.80 per ticket
2 a and 3 c£19.75 per ticket
aged 3-12£3.95
Prebooked£3.95 per ticket

Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:

3.5 of 5 stars
    • Excellent
      117
    • Very Good
      139
    • Average
      134
    • Poor
      54
    • Terrible
      22

    Recent Reviews:

    • Sandra C
      Rugby, United Kingdom
      Trip Type:
      Couples
      Nothing To Look At
      2 of 5 stars
      Monday, 8th July 2019
      The castle is very small and being a ruin to be truthful not very interesting. The charge to get in (you have to pay cash) is not worth it as you can see most of it on-line. Read full review
    • Zeo007
      n/a
      Trip Type:
      Friends getaway
      Nostalgic trip
      5 of 5 stars
      Tuesday, 9th July 2019
      Yes it is a ruin but it has a character all of its own. Got there on a sunny day and have to say it looks just as good as I remember. The video presentation gives visitors a good overview and... Read full review
    • Sinead W
      Trip Type:
      Solo travel
      Interesting
      4 of 5 stars
      Saturday, 13th July 2019
      I was only expecting ruins anyway. Also, the coastline erosion meant that it is now only about half the size as it was. It was something to think about while you stand on the hill and look around and... Read full review

    Map & Directions

    Facilities

    Accessibility

    • Guide Dogs Permitted

    Audio Commentary in Foreign Languages

    • French audio guide
    • German audio guide

    Catering

    • Picnic Site

    Establishment Features

    • Audio Commentary in Foreign Languages
    • Toilets

    Parking & Transport

    • Railway station within walking distance

    Payment Methods

    • Approx length of visit - 1 hour
    • Groups Accepted - Essential to prebook.Please pre book.
    • Min group size - 10
    • Special group rates

    Provider Preferences

    • In town/city centre
    • Smoking Some Areas

    Tours and Demonstrations

    • Educational Visits Accepted

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    1066 Country of Origin Original by nature
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