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Deal Castle, Deal

#1 of 53 in Things to do in 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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872 reviews
  • Good place. I expected a little bit more, it's actually just empty rooms without any exhibition. I prefer castles with much more to explore. If you read everything and watch every single stone in...  more »
  • Built for Henry VIII who feared an invasion from France, Deal castle is designed mainly to defend an attack from the sea. Built in an age of cannon, it is unlike traditional castles & designed like a....  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!
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