Overview

Highcliffe Castle is a Grade I listed mansion built in the romantic gothic style. It was built by Lord Stuart de Rothesay in the early 1830s and remained a family home until the 1950s. It is situated on the cliff top with beach access and spectacular views across to the Isle of Wight.

Two devastating fires in the 1960’s rendered the building derelict. In 1977 it was purchased by Christchurch Borough Council and a programme of repairs was begun with the support of English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Spring 2019 will see the completion of stage 7 of restoration works meaning the East Wing will be open to the public for the first time. New interpretation and displays will bring the story of the castle to life and additional spaces will include an archive room, a furniture exhibition space and an education room.


Today
Today’s opening hours

1 February to 23 December, 11am to 4pm (10am to 5pm Apr to Oct).

Last entry one hour before close.

Opening
Opening

2020

1 February to 23 December, 11am to 4pm (10am to 5pm Apr to Oct).

Last entry one hour before close.

Find Us
Find us

Situated off the A337, the Lymington Road, West of Highcliffe.

Public Transport:
Train: Hinton Admiral Station (1 mile)
Buses: X1 X2 (not direct to the Castle, nearest stop on the Lymington Road near the Lord Bute Hotel)
Coaches: Coach Parties welcome by appointment.
Please ring for details of group discounts and parking arrangements.

  • Offers bike storage
Parking

  • There is a charge for parking.
Pay and display. Maximum stay 4 hours.Limited spaces. Alternative parking (approx 20minute walk) at the cliff top.2018 prices1 hour £1.302 hour £2.303 hours £3.804 hours £5.60May be subject to change from spring 2019

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members can now (as of 2019) visit Highcliffe Castle for free when presenting their membership card.

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Accessible toilets
  • Available lift
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Accessible parking
  • Wheelchair ramps/routes
Group Visits
Group Visits

Our volunteer led guided tours and talks will enhance your visit, giving you behind the scenes stories and facts about the castle and its hidden heritage. The guides will show you the unrestored areas* uncovering the hidden history of the Castle, bringing its rich heritage alive.

Tours and talks last approximately 1 hour.

Guided tours include tour and entry at £5.95 per person.
Season Ticket Holders are £3.95.

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Weddings

Our dedicated Wedding Team organise and run over 150 magical days every year. Ceremonies and receptions are held in the romantic rooms of this historic castle, opening out into the exquisitely landscaped grounds. We have prices and packages to suit a variety of budgets. With prices starting at £840 why not get in touch and make your dream’s a reality?

Facilities

  • Suppliers list
  • Guest parking
  • Accessible parking

“There are simply no words to describe how grateful we are to you and all the staff involved in our daughters wedding on Saturday …. the most perfect day imaginable”

“Every single thing about the day was magical. Everyone adored the venue, it is truly stunning.”


Corporate Hire

Corporate events

Are you hosting an important event? Are you looking for a unique venue for a company away day? With our half day package including breakfast pastries for just £20 per delegate or £40 for a full day including lunch, we have the perfect setting and a great price for you to impress your clients, staff or team.

Our cliff top location, beautiful wooded grounds and stunning beach make us the perfect get away to cultivate creativity, motivation and relationships within your business or department.

Just 1 hour 45 minutes from London, Highcliffe Castle has an experienced, passionate team who will dedicate themselves to design, organise and host your day. Whether a red carpeted awards dinner or activity filled team building day, our team will be on hand to ensure your business gets the most of its time at the castle.

Why choose Highcliffe Castle?

  • A choice of Grade 1 listed rooms
  • Outstanding catering and refreshments for a variety of budgets
  • The latest technology for presentations including superfast WiFi
  • 1 hour 50 minutes direct train link from London Waterloo
  • Free reserved car parking for your delegates

Facilities

  • Wifi
  • Plentiful parking
  • Projector and screen
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets

Today
Today’s opening hours

1 February to 23 December, 11am to 4pm (10am to 5pm Apr to Oct).

Last entry one hour before close.

Opening
Opening

2020

1 February to 23 December, 11am to 4pm (10am to 5pm Apr to Oct).

Last entry one hour before close.

Find Us
Find us

Situated off the A337, the Lymington Road, West of Highcliffe.

Public Transport:
Train: Hinton Admiral Station (1 mile)
Buses: X1 X2 (not direct to the Castle, nearest stop on the Lymington Road near the Lord Bute Hotel)
Coaches: Coach Parties welcome by appointment.
Please ring for details of group discounts and parking arrangements.

  • Offers bike storage
Parking

  • There is a charge for parking.
Pay and display. Maximum stay 4 hours.Limited spaces. Alternative parking (approx 20minute walk) at the cliff top.2018 prices1 hour £1.302 hour £2.303 hours £3.804 hours £5.60May be subject to change from spring 2019

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members can now (as of 2019) visit Highcliffe Castle for free when presenting their membership card.

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Accessible toilets
  • Available lift
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Accessible parking
  • Wheelchair ramps/routes
Group Visits
Group Visits

Our volunteer led guided tours and talks will enhance your visit, giving you behind the scenes stories and facts about the castle and its hidden heritage. The guides will show you the unrestored areas* uncovering the hidden history of the Castle, bringing its rich heritage alive.

Tours and talks last approximately 1 hour.

Guided tours include tour and entry at £5.95 per person.
Season Ticket Holders are £3.95.

Other opening

CASTLE GROUNDS

February to March

Open daily at 7am. Close at 6.30pm

April and October

Open daily at 7am. Close at 7.30pm

May and September

Open daily at 7am. Close at 9.00pm

June, July and August

Open daily at 7am. Close at 10.00pm

CASTLE SHOP

Visit the Highcliffe Castle Gift Shop for a wonderful selection of souvenirs and gifts. Choose from a wide range of goods from jewellery and toiletries to books, stationery and toys. New ranges are added throughout the season.

Our large shop located in the main visitor entrance space of the Castle in brimming full of choice for your souvenirs or gifts. Come in and explore our fantastic range of products suitable for every member of the family.

  • Supporting quality British suppliers including local talented individuals and companies
  • An extensive range of greetings cards
  • Quality souvenirs to remember your visit by
  • A fascinating range of local interest books including beautiful pictorial coffee table ones
  • A super range of jewellery with locally crafted earrings priced at £6 – to sterling silver pieces
  • Exciting, fun and education pieces to keep the kids entertained

THE CASTLE KITCHEN OPENING TIMES

Summer - April till September

10:00am closes at 5:30pm

Winter - October till March

10:00am closes at 4:00pm

ACCESSIBILITY

The Gift Shop provides level access into the Castle. Once inside, the ground floor is fully accessible. A wheelchair is available for use by visitors inside the castle on request and subject to availability. Please advise us in advance if you would like to use one. We can also drop access bollards if required for visitor access closed to the entrance.

Inside the Castle the main visitor route is full accessible by lift on all three floors.

Accessibility Statement


Highcliffe Castle's history and features

Highcliffe Castle has been described as arguably the most important surviving house of the Romantic and Picturesque style of architecture, which flourished at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Its significance is recognised nationally by its Grade 1 status on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historical Interest.

There is an international importance too. For a large amount of medieval French masonry was shipped across the Channel and used in its construction. It is this Norman and Renaissance carved stone, along with the Castle’s Gothic revival features and ancient stained glass, that make it appear older than it is.

Built mainly between 1831 and 1836, the Castle is the realisation of one man’s fantasy. He was Lord Stuart de Rothesay, a distinguished diplomat. When he built Highcliffe Castle, he was following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Lord Bute, who had built an earlier mansion on the cliff-top site when it was just open heathland.

Highcliffe Castle’s remarkable history and tells how a magnificent building, once lavishly furnished in the 18th century French style was reduced to a fire-ravaged roofless ruin. For years it had played host to royalty, the rich and famous. Then for two decades, the 1970s and 1980s, only a flock of white doves came to stay amid the derelict rooms.

Find out more about their history here


Things to See

Fun Facts

Highcliffe Castle has played host to many important historical figures. Perhaps most notable was The future King Edward V11 who first paid a visit in 1880 with the future Queen Alexandra and their two sons and three daughters. They arrived on the royal yacht Osborne. The castle also became home to Harry Gordon Selfridge who rented it from 1916 to 1922 as a country residence for his family. He was a very wealthy man at the time and lavished many thousands on the castle's upkeep and added bathrooms and other 'modern luxuries'.

Famous visitors include:

  • William Gladstone, four times Prime Minister between 1874 and 1892.
  • Dame Nellie Melba the Australian soprano whom Peach Melba, the pudding, is named after.
  • Nancy Mitford, Author and one of the Mitford Sisters.
  • Harry Gordon Selfridge, of Selfridge’s Department Store. He, his wife and his mother are buried in St Marks churchyard across the road from the castle.
  • Claude Grahame-White stayed during 1910 so that he could compete in the Bournemouth Aviation Meeting. This is the event where Charles of Rolls-Royce died.