Herstmonceux Castle Hastings
Hailsham
East Sussex BN27 1RN
 
 

Herstmonceux Castle is a magnificent moated Tudor period castle, set in beautiful parklands and superb Elizabethan gardens. It is conveniently located near the English south coast seaside resorts of Eastbourne and Brighton.
 
To see this red brick castle reflected in its moat is a thrilling experience. Started in 1411, the castle was one of the first major structures to be built in brick. Today it is the oldest brick building of any note still standing in England. It was years ahead of its time concentrating more on grandeur and comfort than on defence.
 
Herstmonceaux remained a country home for centuries but changing family fortunes forced the sale of the property.
 
In 1957 the castle grounds became home to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, and it became an important scientific institution for the next 40 years. Several of the telescopes still remain but the largest telescope (The Isaac Newton Telescope) was moved to La Palma in the Canary Islands in the 1970s.
 
The castle is now owned by Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario, Canada and is the Bader International Study Centre attracting students from around the world.
 
Science Centre
The Equatorial Telescope buildings are now the site of the "hands on" science centre providing interest for all the family (there is a separate entry fee). If you wish to visit both the Science Centre and the Grounds and Gardens, a whole day visit is recommended. A joint ticket is available.
 
Science Centre Enquiries
Telephone  +44 (0)1323 832 731
Website  Observatory information    External Link
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Hotels.com here:     External Link
 
Castle Visits
The castle is not normally open to the public, however guided tours are conducted. Please refer to the Castle website for charges and availability. As the Castle is a working university, please telephone for confirmation of guided tour times before visiting. Generally these tours are conducted once/twice daily, Sunday - Friday between 11:00 and 14:00 hours.
 
These guided tours of the castle interior give an insight into castle life in times gone by. The tours can give the visitor a chance to learn of the past and stories about the castle, including tales of smugglers and of course the Castle’s resident ghosts.
 
Gardens & Grounds
The beautifully maintained Elizabethan walled gardens are sheltered and their herbaceous borders provide a blaze of colour in the summer. The trails through the woodland lead to delightful discoveries such as the Rhododendron, Rose and Herb Gardens. There is a 1930s folly and charming lily covered lakes with breathtaking views of the Castle.
 
The best time to see certain flowering plants is: daffodils in April; rhododendrons azaleas and bluebells in May; roses from June-August; herbaceous borders during June-September; and woodland autumn colours during October.
 
Accommodation
Bed & Breakfast accommodation is available outside of University semesters – for details visit the Castle website,  Link below or Tel: +44(0)1323 834 400
 
Visiting Information
For Opening Times, Guided Tours and Admission Costs,  go to the Castle website link below.
 
Disabled Access
There are disabled toilets available – for other information, please contact the Castle.
 
Facilities
Chestnuts Tea Room serving delicious cream teas
Shop, Visitor Centre.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone  +44 (0)1323 833 816
Website  Herstmonceux Castle    External Link
 
Getting There
Please refer to the Castle website above for directions. Note for Satellite navigation users - DO NOT use the Castle postcode as this will lead you to the closed entrance of the Herstmonceux.Castle.
 
Google Maps - Herstmonceux Castle