Portland Castle (English Heritage)
The history of this fortress, which overlooks Portland harbour, is diverse and fascinating. Built by Henry VIII to defend the anchorage against possible French and Spanish invasion, its squat appearance is typical of the artillery forts built in the early 1540s.
Unusually for a fortress of this period, the castle has seen much interior alteration, though the exterior remains largely unchanged. It first witnessed serious fighting during the Civil War, when it was seized by both Parliamentarians and Royalists. It became a Seaplane Station during World War I, and was in the forefront of the D-Day preparations which helped to end World War II.
The Governor's Garden, designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole as part of the Contemporary Heritage Garden series, contains an impressive circular amphitheatre made from local Portland stone, with two-level seating for about 200 people. This perfectly sheltered spot is a great place to relax and enjoy the dramatic sea and harbour views.
There are audio tours and a Touch Tour for the visually impaired. You can even come face-to-face with Henry VIII in the Great Hall.
Museum, Castle or defences
closed 2 Nov - 31st March
- English Heritage
Summer Fun Trail
Get out and about this holiday with our summer fun trail. Explore the Castle grounds and find the hidden clues. Solve the challenge and a special reward awaits!
- Family friendly
Living in a Tudor Castle Discovery Visit
This interactive tour uses role play, costume, artefacts and investigation to reveal what life in the castle was like in the Tudor period. Can you work as a team to work out how the canons were fired? Will you be able to make butter in the castle kitchen? Join us and find out!
Duration: 1 hour
Key Stage: 1, 2, 3, History, Drama, Literacy
How to obtain
Call 0117 975 0720 to book a 1 hour session each weekday during term time. Price £60 per group of up to 30 pupils until April 2009, £75 per group after April 2009. Visit http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.19484 for more information.