The romantic ruins of a ‘proper’ royal castle, Hadleigh’s mighty defences were built around 1215 and became one of Edward III’s favourite residences during the Hundred Years War. A combination of subsidence and 16th Century builders carting off the stone for construction elsewhere has, sadly, left the castle in ruins, but even what remains acts as a glimpse back into a magical Medieval world. Now, Hadleigh Castle is left alone on its high top as a stark and stunning landmark overlooking the scenic views across South Essex and the Thames Estuary
The History of Hadleigh Castle
Hadleigh Castle has been around for quite a while, being first built all the way back in 1215. It has seen its fair share of Kings and Queens through the centuries come and go and even grow to call it home. Most notably of which was King Edward III, who if not for him having the castle significantly restored and renovated for residential purposes in the late 14th century, would have seen the castle’s demise far sooner.
After the ageing king passed away in 1377, his successors took very little interest in the castle as a residence. Hadleigh Castle then became a leased property for tenants for nearly 200 years, until ultimately the castle was purchased by Lord Riche in 1551. He too had little interest in moving in and unfortunately sold it off as building materials, leaving the demolished shadow of its former glory we now see today.
What to see and do at Hadleigh Castle
Atop the hilly green open lands of Hadleigh and its neighbouring park is where you’ll find the idyllic backdrop of the Essex marshes. Hadleigh Castle is not only a superb visit for anyone with an interest in England’s history, but for one and all who fancy seeing the grand ruins of a castle once glorious. Its scenic fields overlooking the Thames Estuary make for a perfect picnic spot to sit and take in the fresh open air.
Hadleigh Castle is an ideal place to visit for friends and families, couples and kids, where you’re welcomed to walk the lands and discover its rich history. The area is also dog friendly providing they are on their leads, giving you a much more exciting than normal route for your walks. Make a day out of it and explore nearby Leigh-on-Sea or Hadleigh Park.
How to get to Hadleigh Castle
Hadleigh Castle is a scenic 1.5 mile walk from Leigh-on-Sea Station, which is easily findable and sign posted along the route.
Take the train from London Fenchurch Street which will go direct through to Leigh-on-Sea Station, and continue to Shoeburyness. The journey time from London is approximately 44 minutes, depending on which train you use. There are approximately 6 trains per hour on a weekday, depending on peak or off-peak travel time and train tickets bought more than three days in advance are £10.95 for an off-peak day return.
Whether you’re travelling in a group or have the kids with you, explore our great value ticket offers to make sure to get the best deal for you.