Highcliffe Castle

Grade 1 listed castle and grounds.

Highcliffe Castle is arguably one of the most important surviving houses of the Romantic and Picturesque style of architecture. Its significance is recognised nationally by its Grade 1 status on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historical Interest.

There is an international importance, too. For a large amount of medieval French masonry, shipped across the Channel, was used in its construction. It is this Norman and Renaissance carved stone, along with the Castle’s Gothic revival features and ancient stained glass, that make it appear older than it is.

Built mainly between 1831 and 1836, the Castle is the realisation of one man’s fantasy. He was Lord Stuart de Rothesay, a distinguished diplomat who had known and loved the cliff-top site overlooking Christchurch Bay since he was a boy.

The magnificent building, once lavishly furnished in the 18th century French style remained a family home until the 1950s. In the late 1960s two fires rendered the building derelict and in 1977.

Heritage Centre
The former staterooms have lost their elaborate panelling and grand furnishings but now house the Heritage Centre you are visiting today. Within the rooms visitors can find information on the Castle’s intriguing history as well as an extensive programme of exhibitions.

We recommend that visits start in the Great Hall where there are information boards on the Castle’s history. Each room also has a black and white photograph taken by Country Life in 1942 showing what the room was like in its heyday, as well as a room information sheet. Additionally we have a dedicated team of volunteer stewards who will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Great tearooms and wonderful grounds down to the beach.


  • Rothesay Drive
  • Highcliffe
  • Dorset
  • BH23 4LE