In a commanding position above the bay of Sandown and harbour of Bembridge below, this unrestored Victorian fort is open just one day a week for volunteer- run guided tours only.

It is one of the many Palmerston Forts built during the period of the Second French Empire, as a safeguard against a perceived threat of French invasion by Napoleon III, however no threat ever came so the fort began to be used for other purposes.

During the First and Second World Wars it was occupied by all three armed forces, but afterwards this was not continued and was left abandoned.

Part of the fort was purchased by the National Trust, so is now being cleaned up by a team of volunteers to provide guided tours, which means you can experience the history of this fantastic building yourself.

Tours cost £4.50 per adult and £2.25 per child aged 10-16 years (National Trust members free), and must be booked in advance by 01983 741020 or email isleofwight@nationaltrust.org.uk. They last approximately 1½ hours and are held every Tuesday at 2pm from April to October.

Bembridge Fort and Downs

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