Hadleigh was begun in about 1215 by Hubert de Burgh, but extensively refortified by Edward III during the Hundred Years War, becoming a favourite residence of the ageing king.
The barbican and two striking drum towers – one later used by Georgian revenue men looking out for smugglers – are part of Edward's substantial building works during the 1360s.
Today the romantic ruins of this royal castle look out over the Essex marshes.
Read more about the history of the castle.
Before You Go
Parking: There is no car park at the castle but the closest on-street parking is available just to its north in Castle Lane, about 200 metres from the castle entrance.
Access: Access from the north side of the castle is via a 200-metre long earth footpath which is entered from Castle Lane. The castle is at the top of a steep slope and the grounds are undulating. The paths are earth or grass and can get very muddy in wet weather.
Facilities: There are no facilities at the castle but it is close to Hadleigh Farm and Rare Breed Centre, and there are other facilities available at nearby Hadleigh Country Park and in Hadleigh town centre.
Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome.
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Plan a Great Day Out
The impressive Tilbury Fort is less than 18 miles away from Hadleigh Castle. This unique and extremely well-preserved stronghold has protected London’s seaward approach since the 16th century, and is where Elizabeth I famously rallied her troops to face the threat of the Spanish Armada