Hadleigh Castle in Essex was used as an important strategic fortification that was guarding the entrance to the mouth of the Thames.
Unfortunately, neither the people nor the nature spared the castle. Now instead of formidable bastion the ruins of two stone towers have just remained. Nevertheless thousands of tourists visit the castle annually, because it is considered as historical heritage of England. Besides it is a great place for a picnic, when the weather is warm enough.
History of Hadleigh Castle
Hadleigh Castle was founded in 1230 by Hubert de Burgh. The 1st Earl of Kent was one of the most influential people in England in the 13th century. The new king, Henry III, was just a teenager and couldn’t rule the country. Actually, it was Hubert de Burgh, who governed the state. When Henry III grew up, he had a severe conflict with Hubert and imprisoned him. He continued to use Hadleigh Castle as the strategic place from where the enemies, who approached to the castle, were visible at a far distance and it was possible to prepare for their arrival.
The next owner of the Castle, Edward III, expanded its territory significantly. He was the first among kings, who started to use the castle as a residence, not just as bastion. Hadleigh Castle was luxurious as for the building of that time era. It was made of ragstone and cemented by seashells. The castle looked wonderful, so it was given by Edward IV as a gift to his wife, Elizabeth Woodville.
Later three other women owned the castle one by one. Henry VIII was married 6 times. He gave Hadleigh Castle as a gift to three of his wives one by one.
In 1551 Hadleigh Castle was sold to Lord Rich from Chelmsford for ₤700. He noticed that the castle was made of ragstone and decided to use this material to build his other estate. Thus Hadleigh Castle was completely ruined.
Hadleigh Castle Nowadays
Nowadays not much was left of Hadleigh Castle. Nevertheless in 2012 it was partially restored as not far from the castle Mountain Biking Olympics was held and many tourists came to Hadleigh.
Two massive round towers were the best kept, one of them has the height of three floors. Even some narrow rectangular windows can be noticed at the highest tower. The other tower is in worse condition; only two floors of it were left. Except the towers, tourists can notice the foundation of the Great Hall and part of the fortress wall.
If you appear near Hadleigh, it is recommended to visit this castle. The towers that are left look mysterious and very clean, so you can go round the ruins, take an hour or two walk in the picturesque area near the castle or even arrange a picnic.
It is a good idea to come to Hadleigh Castle with children. Kids are always eager to explore the ruins of the castle, so two hour activity in the open air – it is always recommended for kids. They can play there – playing football or basketball is allowed near the castle too. For pupils to visit the castle is also a good educational event as for sure, they will hear a lot about it during their history lessons. So, find some free time at weekend, take your children and come here!
Hadleigh Castle Opening Hours
Hadleigh Castle is opened every day of the year all day long. So, you can come here at any reasonable time and spend some great hours in the castle and walking nearby. Children are welcomed here; they will also have a great day outside.
A lot of climbing, a lot of running and a great family photo – that you can get if you make up your mind to come to Hadleigh Castle. To visit Hadleigh Castle won’t cost you a penny, so you can spend a great time for free!
How to Get to Hadleigh Castle
The address of Hadleigh Castle is Castle Ln, Benfleet, Essex SS7 2AP, United Kingdom.
To get to Hadleigh Castle, you can use the bus. There are various bus roots that will take you not far from the castle. But you will need to go on boot for half a mile. Take the buses 3, 21, 26, 27 and some others.
If you go by car, there’s a small car park nearby that is situated just at the castle. But the number of places is limited there. There are some other car parks that are situated half a mile from here, but you will have to walk.
Trains can also be used to get to Hadleigh Castle. Get out at Leigh-on-Sea and then walk for a while.
If you have a bicycle and want to practice in cycling, you can ride a bike to get here. It is a good idea to arrange a short workout for yourself and to use the best kind of transportation from the ecological point of view to get to Hadleigh Castle.
There are no tours that are especially organized and supervised by guides; you have to explore the castle with your own forces.
Cafes and Shops near Hadleigh Castle
Hadleigh Castle is a little isolated, so you won’t find a lot of facilities nearby. But there’s a café not far from the castle, where you can get the best coffee and some pastry to it. The Salvation Army café is the ideal place to have a rest from a long walk, to wash your hands in the toilet (it is the only WC for the visitors of the castle) and to have a slight snack. For children they serve great tea and milk shakes.
If you are not in mood to have a snack in a café, you can get food with you and arrange a small picnic in the open air.
There are no shops near Hadleigh Castle, so if you dream to take souvenir from here, make some photos with your camera or visit the nearest shop that is located at Hadleigh Farm.
Hadleigh Castle Contacts
Do you plan your visit here and still have a lot to ask? Feel free to ask all the questions by email or by phone. “English Heritage”, the owners of Hadleigh Castle and other 400 historical places in England, are ready to answer all the questions of their future visitors.
So, telephone is +44 1604 735464 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org