Portland CastlePortland Castle was built by Henry VIII as part of his fortifications of the south coast of England following his separation from the Catholic Church. Portland Harbour was easily accessible and need protection so as discourage any disembarkation by the French within its shelter. It was thus that the twin castles of Portland and Sandsfoot were born between 1539 and 1540. Like most of the other castles which were built by Henry VIII at the time, these were low built batteries with a solid battlemented circular tower at the centre overlooking the battery. Constructed out of Portland Stone, it was designed for three tiers of guns with embrasures on the first two levels looking out to sea at strategic points. Musketry or swivel fire from the roof platform could support the work of the larger guns which lay below.
Although the English Fleet and the Spanish Armada fought off Portland, ironically, Portland Castle never did see any action against the enemy but would be fought over by the English themselves in the course of the Civil War. Won and lost between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians, Portland Castle was damaged but repaired during the reign of Charles II. It is now generally recognised as one of the best preserved of Henry VIII's castles having remained mostly unchanged in its construction.
In the 19th century, Portland Castle would become a private home for Captain Charles Manning who built the Portland Breakwater. By 1870, Portland Castle was reclaimed by the military and was used as an army residence. In WWI, Portland Castle served as a Seaplane Station while in WWII some secret plotting for the D-Day invasion took place here.
On your visit take in the Governor's Garden which offers spectacular views of Portland Harbour, meet Henry VIII in the Great Hall or try on a suit of Tudor armour.
Address: Portland Castle, Castleton
Postcode: DT5 1AZ
Town/city or near: Portland
Open daily from 24th March to 30 June and all of September between 10am and 5pm and till 6pm in July and August. In October open from 10am to 4pm.