Castles and palacesSights and activitiesHerstmonceux Castle

Price £6

The 15th century Herstmonceux Castle is considered England’s oldest notable brick building. It is set among over 300 acres of gardens and is a splendid spot for a picnic. Although you can visit the gardens, the castle is only accessible by guided tour.

At the time of the Norman Conquest, the property was home to a priest and by the beginning of the 13th century it was home to Idonea de Herst who married Ingelram de Monceux and it is from these two that both the castle and the village take their name. However, the castle was not built until 1441 when Sir Roger Fiennes moved in.

The Royal Observatory moved onto the castle grounds after the Second World War (this is now the Observatory Science Centre) and in the 1990s Queen’s University in Canada purchased the castle and it is now used as an overseas study centre.

The 15th-century Herstmonceux Castle is surrounded by a moat on three sides
The 15th-century Herstmonceux Castle is surrounded by a moat on three sides

What to see at Herstmonceux Castle

Herstmonceux Castle is used primarily as an overseas campus of Queen’s University (based in Kingston, Canada) and the castle is usually closed to the public except for guided tours. However, the grounds and gardens are open to visitors and most people who come to visit the castle do not go inside.

The castle’s grounds are set on 121.4ha (300 acres) of woodland with formal Elizabethan gardens immediately to the rear of the castle, a rose garden and an avenue of 300-year-old chestnut trees. There is a moat around three sides of the castle and a visit allows for some brilliant photo opportunities.

Guided tours of the castle allow you to see a lot more, including inside the main building, but they do not run on a regular basis as they have to fit around the schedule of the study centre as well as any conferences or weddings that may be held at the castle.

Visiting Herstmonceux Castle

Herstmonceux Castle is around 4.8km (3 miles) south of Herstmonceux but the neighbouring village of Windmill Hill is a little closer. It is not particularly easy to get to by public transport and visitors without access to a car will have to take Stagecoach bus route 98, which runs between Eastbourne and Hastings, and get off at Windmill Hill post office. From Windmill Hill, the castle is around a 40-minute walk.

It is much easier to get here if you have access to a car and parking is free of charge.

The castle grounds and gardens are open to the public from early March until the beginning of November. Admission to the gardens and grounds costs £6 and there is also a combo ticket available that also gives you access to the nearby Observatory Science Centre.

Most people visit just to see the gardens and to see the exterior of the castle but it is well worth paying the extra £3 for a guided tour if they’re running when you visit.

Because it is in the countryside, there is not much choice when it comes to finding somewhere nearby to eat and Chestnuts, the small cafe by the side of the castle, and the cafe inside the Science Centre are your only options. Chestnuts is the nicer of these two and it is a lovely spot for a cream tea.

Most visitors spend between one and two hours visiting the castle grounds but allow an extra hour if you’re taking a guided tour.

Amenities
  • Free parking
  • Wheelchair access
  • Cafe/restaurant

There are no comments yet.

Submit your review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Plan your next trip to England with us

Planning a trip to England? englandrover.com is your independent source of travel information with information about how to get around, what to see and do and where to stay on your next trip to England.

Plan your next trip to England with us

Planning a trip to England? englandrover.com is your independent source of travel information with information about how to get around, what to see and do and where to stay on your next trip to England.

The South

The Midlands

The North

Back to England Rover home

Copyright 2018–2019 by BUG Travel Publishing Ltd.

Back to England Rover home

Copyright 2018–2019 BUG Travel Publishing Ltd

Login

Register

Your personal data will be used to support your experience throughout this website, to manage access to your account, and for other purposes described in our privacy policy.

Already have account?

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.