Highcliffe Castle

Highcliffe Castle was built in 1835 by Charles Stuart (Lord Stuart de Rothesay) and is a superb example of Gothic Revival style architecture. The mansion house incorporated large quantities of stained glass and carved Medieval stonework salvaged from the ruined Benedictine Abbey of St Peter at Jumieges and the Grand Maison des Andelys, both situated in Normandy, France. Both buildings had fallen into disrepair after the French Revolution. Charles Stuart was a distinguished diplomatic and became British Ambassador to France and after serving two terms later became Ambassador to Russia.

Sat Nat Postcode BH23 4LE, Rothesay Drive, Highcliffe. (Google map)
Website: https://www.highcliffecastle.co.uk
See below for ticket prices, opening hours and car park charges

Highcliffe Castle
Highcliffe Castle

One way to generate income to pay for the Castle’s upkeep was to rent it out. One of its more notable tenants was the American Harry Selfridge, founder of Selfridges department store in London, who rented the Cattle from 1916 to 1922 and used it to entertain his wealthy friends. Selfridge loved the building so much he wanted to buy it but it wasn’t for sale so he bought the nearby Hengistbury Head, a mile-long stretch of beautiful cliffs and Bronze Age monuments with the plan to build “the largest castle in the world”. Plans were drawn up but Selfridge’s personal life and fortune suffered over the years and, after the death of his wife during the 1918 flu epidemic, he became increasingly reckless and his wealth could no longer support his lavish lifestyle. In 1930 he had to sell Hengistbury Head to the local council. When Selfridge died in 1947 he was penniless. He is buried in the nearby churchyard of St Marks in Highcliffe.

Highcliffe Castle

Tragedy struck the Highcliffe Castle in 1967 when a fire badly damaged the Great Hall and another fire the following year caused more devastation. The Castle fell into ruin. In 1977 Christchurch Council compulsorily purchased the Castle. Repair work didn’t start until 1994 funded by the council and English Heritage. Renovation has taken place in phases over the following years helped by National Lottery grants.

The Castle, sitting in 14-acres of land, is now owned by Christchurch Council and is open to the public throughout the year. It is also used for weddings and host to several events and exhibitions. .

Highcliffe Castle Ticket Prices

Children (5-16)£3
Family (2A + 2C or 1A+3C)£18
Under 5’s / CarersFree
Historic Houses membersFree
Season tickets are also available. Tours of the house are available on arrival but spaces are limited and you have to sign up on arrival. Tickets do not include car parking charges – see bottom of page for info. Information updated 06 April 2023

Highcliffe Castle Opening Times

Castle opening times are Sunday to Thursday 10am – 4pm.
The castle is closed on Friday and Saturday.

The Castle Grounds are open daily
7am – 6.30pm November to March
7am – 7.30pm April and October
7am – 9pm May and September
7am – 10pm June, July and August
The gates are locked in the evening

Highcliffe Castle Car Park

Sat Nav postcode is BH23 4LE. This is a small car park adjacent to Highcliffe Castle with capacity for 102 cars. Note that the maximum stay at this car park is only 4 hours and the car park and castle grounds are locked in the evening so check times on the notice board. Car park charges are given below. Payment can be made using cash, phone or using an online app (JustPark, RingGo or PayByPhone).

More information can be found on the https://www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/Parking/ website

Highcliffe Castle Car Park Charges

1 hour£1.70£0.80
2 hours£3£0.80
3 hours£4.90£0.80
4 hours£7.10£0.80
Highcliffe Castle car park is open whenever the grounds to the Castle are open, check website for details. Maximum stay 4 hrs. Information last updated 06 April 2023
Highcliffe Castle Map. Highcliffe Castle Beach is just down some steps. Friars Cliff Beach is the next beach to the west. If you park at Friars Cliff Beach car park BH23 4UE then there is a lovely cliff top walk from the car park through Steamer Point Nature Reserve (Free) direct to the Castle.

Related Pages: Highcliffe Castle Beach / Highcliffe Beach / Friars Cliff Beach / Mudeford Quay / Mudeford Sandbank / Christchurch