The Life of a Fort

We have three great new exhibitions where you can discover the story of Newhaven Fort, from its design and construction to combat invasion, to its present-day, where it stands as a reminder of the past, offering a unique visitor experience.


The theatre is a fantastic place to begin your journey around the Fort. Watch a short film in our bright and open theatre, boasting a 6-metre screen that sets the perfect scene for discovery of our heritage structure. The film reveals the thousand-year defensive history of the Castle Hill site, on which the Fort is built, leading you to explore the finer details as you make your way through the exhibitions.

Discover how and why the Fort was built, the construction details that have made the Fort unique in its time and learn how the Fort and the town of Newhaven played an active role in two World Wars.

The History of the Fort

Built in the 19th Century, Newhaven Fort is the largest work of defence ever built in Sussex and is the last of a long series of coastal defences built on the cliffs overlooking Seaford Bay, dating back to the Iron Age.

Your journey throughout the Fort will take you on a path of discovery, learning from each exhibition about the impact of the Fort from past to present.

Discover how the Fort became part of a wider scheme of defences that included Motor Torpedo Boats, minesweepers and even a seaplane base hunting German submarines!

Cloaked in mystery and protected by impressive ramparts, Newhaven Fort has been keeping its secrets safely hidden for 150 years.

Now run by Wave Leisure Trust Ltd, Newhaven Fort welcomes you across the drawbridge to explore the story from within the grounds of this historic building.

Learn more about the History of the Fort, here. 

Life in the Fort

When the Fort was opened in the 19th century, it not only housed soldiers, but their families too!

This interactive exhibition takes you back in time, with a recreation of barracks to set the scene. The forge remains a prominent piece of the puzzle in this room adding character to this life-like discovery of life in the fort.

Learn about everything from a Victorian soldier’s daily routine, to ‘barrack rats’ as well as finding out which regiments were based here and what equipment they used.

Haven’t booked your visit yet? Book now. 


All of our standard entry tickets are valid for 12 months and allow free return visits during seasonal opening hours.