Built by Henry VIII to ward off the Spanish, Hurst Castle stands at the tip of Hurst Point, a one-and-a-half mile shingle spit with views across the Solent. The castle controlled this strip of water bounded by the Isle of Wight up until the last garrison left in 1956. The Tudor castle is well preserved, as are Napoleonic, Victorian and Second World War additions. During the civil war, Hurst was held by Parliament and Charles I was imprisoned here in 1648 before being taken to London, tried and executed.

Something for children

Hurst Castle is perfect for hide-and-seek. There is almost no restriction on where you can go, so kids can (and do) range freely around the winding Tudor staircases, Second World War barrack rooms, numerous hidey-holes and the sizeable grassy area. If you walk back along the spit there is good crabbing from the bridge at high tide and a van selling inexpensive and excellent real ice cream.

Something for adults

The history is well presented in concise displays on Tudor castles, fortifications along the Solent, the civil war (in the room where Charles I was imprisoned), and a soldier's life in the Second World War (an exhibition centred on one local man). There is a geological exhibition on the shingle spit.

Refreshments

A small café sells homemade cakes and sandwiches, or take a picnic to eat in the castle or on the shingle.

Souvenirs

Photo guidebook £2.50, plus a small, well chosen range of souvenirs, including cannon keyrings, 75p, real bullets, £1.20, and monarchs of England wooden rulers ,£1.20.

Admission and access

1 April to 31 October, daily 10.30am-5.30pm. Adults £3, concessions £2.80, children £1.80, English Heritage members free. Ramps for wheelchair access to ground floors. Hurst Castle (01590 642344; hurst-castle.co.uk).

How to get there

A 20-minute boat ride from Keyhaven. Adults £4 return/£2.50 single, children £2.50/£2. Hurst Ferries (01590 642500). Or walk along Hurst Point from Milford-on-Sea (free parking).

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