When looking for things to do in the New Forest, a visit to Hurst Castle is up there on the top of my list. It’s a great place for a family day out, relatively inexpensive and everyone will enjoy the beautiful views while exploring the castle.
You can’t drive to Hurst Castle, instead it can be reached by walking along the shingle spit from Milford on Sea or taking a ferry from Keyhaven. If you have a buggy or small children, walking along the spit isn’t an option as it extends for 1.5 miles. I’ve walked it with my husband and a very pleasant walk it is too (although as you will be clambering over pebbles, I’d recommend wearing proper walking shoes and not a pair of Havianas!)
When we visited the castle with the kids, we took the ferry. You can park in the public car park outside Keyhaven Yacht Club and the ferry (well it’s a small boat really) stop is nearby. My son wasn’t walking at the time, so we took his buggy, which was well accommodated by the ferry and at the castle.
The ferry runs from 25th March until the end of October, every 20 minutes from 10am until 5pm. It costs £6.50 for an adult and £3.50 for a child.
Once we arrived at Hurst, our first task with two hungry children was to eat our picnic. As you can see, in the backdrop of the castle and the lighthouse, it is a beautiful spot to picnic.
If you’ve ever looked at the Isle of Wight from Milford or Barton and wondered why it looks as though it’s joined onto the mainland, viewing it from Hurst will explained why. There’s only a three-quarter mile stretch of water between the Island (as it’s known by locals) and Hurst.
If you forgot to take a picnic, there’s no need to panic as the castle has a well stocked cafe. I love this picture inside the cafe and think it’s very apt given the castle’s history and its present day use.
Once everyone was fed, we found there was plenty to see and do inside the castle.
Hurst Castle was built in 1544 under the command of Henry VIII to defend the western approach to the Solent. It was used as a coastal defence up until the end of the Second World War and there are plenty of war related exhibits, including cannons, guns and searchlights.
My daughter enjoyed climbing up onto the roof and running about, while I took in the stunning views.
Hurst Castle is well worth a visit as a fun-filled family day out. Kids will love the ferry ride and the wide open spaces, while adults will enjoy the discoveries inside.
The spit is also meant to be an excellent location for fishing and dogs are allowed on leads.
(Disclaimer: I strongly suggest you contact the attraction and visit their website before visiting to ensure information in this post is up to date. I have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post and do not accept liability for any errors or omission. I accept no liability for the outcome of any visit.)
(I have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post and do not accept liability for any errors or omission. I do not accept any liability for you getting lost or encountering any other problems. )