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Welcome to Southsea Castle
Admission to Southsea Castle is FREE for all visitors!
Built in 1544, the Castle was part of a series of fortifications constructed by Henry VIII around England's coasts to protect the country from invaders. Barely was the work completed when Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose, tragically sank in front of the Castle. During the English Civil War, nearly a century later, the Castle was captured for the only time in its history, by Parliamentarian forces.
Over the centuries, Southsea Castle's defences were strengthened so that it could continue to protect Portsmouth. In the 19th Century a tunnel was built to defend the Castle moat. Visitors can still enter the tunnel and see how the Castle would have been defended against invaders.
The Castle has had many other uses besides defence. For a while it was a military prison. A lighthouse was built in the 1820s, and is still in use by shipping today. In 1960 the Castle left military service. It was acquired by Portsmouth City Council, which restored the Castle to its 19th century appearance.
Latest News! Portsmouth museums receive national recognition (March 2016)
Six Portsmouth museums have been awarded national accreditation status by Arts Council England. Charles Dickens' Birthplace, Cumberland House, D-Day Museum, Eastney Beam Engine House, Portsmouth Museum and Southsea Castle have all achieved the coveted status. The accreditation scheme sets nationally agreed standards for all museums in the UK. It allows participating museums to demonstrate their commitment to managing collections effectively for the enjoyment and benefit of audiences. Applicants are assessed against a set criteria which covers a range of museum activities. The six Portsmouth City Council operated sites have had to demonstrate they meet requirements relating to governance and management, services and facilities and care and management of collections. Visitors to the museums will benefit from the work done as it includes the creation of a customer charter which features 10 points to ensure all guests have the best possible experience.
It is also hoped the announcement will help boost future projects to the museum as accreditation status can strengthen applications for public funding and it also provides a level of reassurance to anyone donating items, collections or funds. There are currently more than 1,700 Accredited Museums in the scheme, from very small volunteer-run museums to large national institutions. Annette French, museums accreditation manager, Arts Council England, said: “Being awarded accreditation is an impressive achievement. It recognises the high standard and service that Portsmouth museums provide and acknowledges the hard work of the volunteers and staff.”