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Deal Castle, Deal

Castle · Landmark
Deal Castle is an artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII in Deal, Kent, between 1539 and 1540. It formed part of the King's Device programme to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire and defended the strategically important Downs anchorage off the English coast. Comprising a keep with six inner and outer bastions, the moated stone castle covered 0.85 acres (0.34 ha) and had sixty-six firing positions for artillery. It cost the Crown a total of £27,092 to build the three castles of Deal, Sandown and Walmer, which lay adjacent to one another along the coast and were connected by earthwork defences. The original invasion threat passed but, during the Second English Civil War of 1648–49, Deal was seized by pro-Royalist insurgents and was only retaken by Parliamentary forces after several months' fighting.

Although it remained armed, Deal was adapted by Sir John Norris and Lord Carrington during the 18th and 19th centuries to form a more suitable private house for the castle's captain, which was by now an honorary position. In 1904, the War Office concluded that the castle no longer had any value either as a defensive site or as a barracks and it was opened to the public when the captain was not in residence. Early in the Second World War, the captain's quarters were destroyed by German bombing, forcing Deal's then-captain, William Birdwood, to move to Hampton Court Palace and the castle became an observation post for an artillery battery placed along the shore line. The castle was not brought back into use as a residence and was restored by the government during the 1950s to form a tourist attraction. In the 21st century, Deal Castle is operated by English Heritage, receiving 25,256 visitors in 2008.

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Deal Castle reviews

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894 reviews
  • Visited in September on a fine, hot day. Descending to lowest level we found the narrow, dark and damp passage that runs around the perimeter of the castle. Moving up the spaces open up, and light...  more »
  • Well worth a look around before going onto Walmer Castle. It brings the forts into prospective as to their roles along the coast. Well looked after and a lot bigger inside than it looks.  more »
  • It was interesting to look around this castle. It's not that big so doesn't take long to go round. There were some good activities for children inside which our daughter enjoyed.  more »
  • Deal castle is real cool with all the different passage ways that you can explore. It is of a reasonable size to mean it won't take ages to visit. You will also get some really good views of the sea from the top. Great place to explore and have fun at.
  • Deal is a very pretty seaside town, and Deal Castle makes a very good morning or afternoon out. There's loads for the kids to explore, and my boys particularly enjoyed the "rounds", which is the passageway which goes round the entire perimeter of the castle! The views out to sea are amazing on a sunny day! Parking is available, which is free to English Heritage members. Well worth a visit!
  • King Henry Eighth Castle. Lots of History. Free parking but complicated as you have to pay for parking then get refunded at shop so two trips back to car. Not all is as it seems as the castle has been heavily modified over the years. Lots of alterations. The victorians have done their usual modifications covering up or totally removing original features. Still we are left with a decent castle. Great for kids to run around and explore. Beware some sheer drops into the old moat. Look out for events. Great sea views. They just need to sort out the car parking for EH members.
  • Lots of information to read set out in an easy to follow manner. Really interesting place to visit. Several seats available to just sit and watch the world go by.
  • Wonderful solid no-frills castle. A maze of rooms uncluttered by too many museum items or modern displays. The ramparts look out to sea with old cannons on display.

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