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Live and breathe the story of England at royal castles, historic gardens, forts & defences, world-famous prehistoric sites and many others.
Carisbrooke Castle is now open for you to visit. You now need to book your timed tickets in advance. We have introduced limits on visitor numbers to help keep everyone safe, and you won’t be able to visit without your booking confirmation. If you’re a Member, your ticket will be free, but you still need to book in advance. There are other new steps in place to ensure everyone’s safety, so your visit will be a little different.
We have introduced limits on visitor numbers to help keep everyone safe, and you won’t be able to visit without your booking confirmation. If you’re a Member, your ticket will be free, but you still need to book in advance. To book your visit, click here.
Although things might be a little different when you visit, you’ll still be able to enjoy exploring the places where history really happened. And you’ll still be given a warm and safe welcome by our friendly – if socially distant – staff and volunteers.
The hilltop site becomes the site of a rectangular fortification, probably built as a refuge from Viking raids.
William FitzOsbern is granted the Isle of Wight. He probably builds the first castle to secure the Isle of Wight for the Normans.
Find out more about the history of Carisbrooke Castle
Henry I seizes Carisbrooke and grants it to Richard de Redvers, who builds the motte-and-bailey castle.
Richard's son Baldwin is forced to surrender Carisbrooke to King Stephen having supported Henry I's daughter, Matilda, in her claim to the throne.
The last of Baldwin's descendants, Isabella de Fortibus, one of the greatest landowners of the day, inherits the castle. She sells it to Edward I on her deathbed.
New defences are built to counter French raids on the island.
Elizabeth I makes her cousin Sir George Carey captain of the Isle of Wight. He builds a 13-room mansion to reflect his status.
To counter Spanish threats Carey turns Carisbrooke into an artillery fort. Italian engineer Federigo Gianibelli designs new defences, including five bastions.
During the Civil War Charles I is imprisoned here and unsuccessfully attempts to escape twice before his execution. His daughter Elizabeth dies at Carisbrooke, aged 14.
Isle of Wight governors Lord Cutts and Lord Cadogan spend large amounts on repairs. Viscount Lymington demolishes St Nicholas's Chapel and rebuilds it in Georgian style.
Carisbrooke ceases to be the residence of the island's governor and becomes the base of the Isle of Wight Militia as well as a tourist attraction.
The Office of Works takes over maintenance for the increasingly ruinous castle, carrying out restoration work under Philip Hardwick.
Princess Beatrice, Victoria's youngest child, becomes Isle of Wight governor and employs Percy Stone to restore Carisbrooke.
Beatrice modernises the castle and makes Carisbrooke the governor's residence again.
After Beatrice's death, the hall and Constable's Lodging become the Carisbrooke Castle Museum. The castle remains a centre for island ceremonies.
Learn more about the history of Carisbrooke Castle