Hastings Castle & 1066 Story

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

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From £3.95
View of Hastings Castle 1066


Please check before travelling and book ahead if you can. 


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 of 4 £61.80 Family of 5 £76.13


Book Tickets

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Adult ticket£4.95
Concession ticket£4.25 per ticket
2 adults and 2 children£15.80 per ticket
2 adults and 3 children£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 Traveller Rating:

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    Recent Reviews:

    • bd00lisa
      Cambridge, United Kingdom
      Trip Type:
      It was ok
      3 of 5 stars
      Sunday, 4th July 2021
      It was ok nothing special but was good for the views Cost £6 to get in. The young lady on entrance was very good and made you feel welcome and I loved the visiting cat !! Read full review
    • 7karleens
      Interesting history and nice views
      4 of 5 stars
      Sunday, 18th July 2021
      Tucked away on a quiet part of the hill, so it was nice to look around. Guests are free to explore pretty much all of the site, although it's not very big. You could probably see everything in half... Read full review
    • KateCreed
      Birmingham, United Kingdom
      1066 ways to ruin a ruin
      1 of 5 stars
      Wednesday, 21st July 2021
      How does one ruin a ruin? I can think of 1066 ways to do it and I am quite sure many have already found the same. We visited this weekend and were appalled to find a sight worthy of so much more... Read full review

    Map & Directions



    • Guide Dogs Permitted

    Audio Commentary in Foreign Languages

    • French audio guide
    • German audio guide


    • 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

    Opening Times

    Hastings Castle (12 Apr 2021 - 30 Oct 2021)
    Monday - Sunday10:30 - 16:00

    * Last admission 3.30pm.

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