Behind the castle walls


Welcome to Bader International Study Centre and the Gardens & Grounds of Herstmonceux Castle

During spring and summer the Gardens and Grounds of Herstmonceux Castle is popular attraction for national and international tourists. Herstmonceux Castle operates as an International Study Centre for Queen’s University in Canada, we hosts international students every year who come to England to study within this tranquil setting, learn more about our country and explore Europe.

Throughout the year Herstmonceux Castle hosts students, tourists, conferences, events and weddings.

Learn more about what makes Herstmonceux Castle so unique.

The Bader International Study Centre is the international campus of Queen’s University, a leading university located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

The Centre offers both year and term-length programming for students at all levels of university study. Program offerings include Arts and Science, Law, Engineering Project Management, British Archaeology, Digital Humanities and Global Health and Disability. Students who study at the Centre are drawn from Queen’s University or from one of many partner institutions throughout Canada and the world.


The BISC is a vibrant learning community where students are encouraged to participate in co-curricular activity, faculty are deeply engaged in research that is at the cutting-edge of their discipline and several international academic conferences are held annually. The centre prides itself in its small class-sizes with close faculty-student interaction-providing students with the knowledge and skills to progress to further education or careers with confidence, intelligence and ambition.

Linking the community with the castle and the students of the Bader International Study Centre.

Originating from a time when the grounds were under threat from commercial redevelopment, the Friends quickly evolved to support the transition to BISC of Queens University, Ontario and to be a link between the local community and the students, all of whom were a long way from home and most unaccustomed to the life and environment of East Sussex.


Today many students join in local activity and are invited to local homes for an afternoon tea, whilst the Friends of the Castle benefit from invitations to student and castle events.

Annual Membership is £10 per adult. Membership plus a season ticket to the Gardens & Grounds of Herstmonceux Castle is £20.

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At this time there are no vacancies.

300 acres of woodland and formal themed gardens

The Bader International Study Centre (BISC) is the international campus of Queen’s University, Canada, which is a top Canadian university located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The Centre offers both year and term-length programming for students at all levels of university study. Program offerings include Arts and Science, Law, Engineering Project Management, British Archaeology, Digital Humanities and Global Health and Disability. Students who study at the Centre are drawn from Queen’s University or from one of many partner institutions throughout Canada and the world.

The BISC is a vibrant learning community where students are encouraged to participate in co-curricular activity, faculty are deeply engaged in research that is at the cutting-edge of their discipline and several international academic conferences are held annually. The centre prides itself in its small class-sizes with close faculty-student interaction-providing students with the knowledge and skills to progress to further education or careers with confidence, intelligence and ambition.

For more information visit…

300 acres of woodland with formal and themed gardens

Q. Can we go inside the castle?
A. The castle is not freely open to the public, however we do conduct regular tours. Please visit our Plan Your Visit page where you can find out more.

Q. Are your gardens easily accessible?
A. We aim to make our gardens as accessible as possible, however some areas do have steps or uneven ground. Poor weather can also affect how easily areas are accessed. If you are worried at all, please contact us directly and we will happily explain over the phone or via email, we want you to enjoy your visit and will help wherever we can.

Q. Do you allow dogs?
A. Yes we do. We politely ask owners to keep their dogs on a lead, however you are free to access all areas of the gardens and grounds with your dog, we even provide a dog bowl outside the tea rooms so your pet is kept hydrated.

Q. Do you offer special rates for returning visitors?
A. Our season tickets are very popular. An adult needs only visit 5 times or more in one season to save money using the season ticket. You can save even more if you live very local to the castle. Please visit xxx for further information.

Q. Are your gardens always full of flowers?
A. It entirely depends on the season. In spring you can expect early flowers such as snowdrops, bluebells and daffodils, then a little later we have tulips, roses, and many other trees and flowers that bloom.

Q. Do we allow picnics in the grounds?
A. We do allow picnics, there are a benches around the grounds but otherwise please feel free to bring your own table/chairs.  Please note that we do not allow BBQ’s.

Q. Do we have wheelchairs available and how to book?
A. We have 2 manual wheelchairs available on a first come first served basis. They can be requested on arrival from Castle Reception or can be reserved prior to your visit by calling 01323 833816.

Q. Can we take photographs in the castle during the guided tour?
A. Photography is permitted for personal and non-commercial use within the castle and grounds. We ask that you do not to take photographs of students or staff.

Q. Do we offer any discount for carers?
A. We ask that you pay the normal daily concession rate and admit the person in your care free of charge.

Q. Can we visit Chestnut tearooms without paying entry?
A. Chestnuts is located within the grounds so the daily admission rate would apply.

A Brief History of Herstmonceux Castle

Herstmonceux Castle sits at the mouth of a small valley facing south over the Pevensey Levels to the sea, presently about seven kilometres away. Before Roman times, however, the Levels themselves were marshlands. During the Roman period and as late as the Norman invasion, these marshes were in flood and an inlet of the sea came up almost to the present site of the castle. During the thirteenth century a series of great storms, recorded by many contemporary chroniclers, accelerated the gradual silting up of the area. This, combined with increased artificial draining of the marshes, began to form the landscape we can see today.

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