The site of the last opposed invasion of England in 1667 and the first land battle of the Royal Marines. The current fort was built in the 18th century, and modified in the 19th century with substantial additional 19th/20th-century outside batteries.
Guided tours and audio tours of the fort are supplemented by a DVD presentation of the site’s history, and by guided tours of the outside batteries. A new guidebook tells the fascinating history of the Fort.
The nearby submarine mining building houses Felixstowe Museum‘s Collections of local interest. (EH)
Landguard Fort is on the extreme point of Suffolk on the S.E. although (historically) it was considered to be in Essex. The neck of land on which this fort was built is now joined to Walton in Suffolk, but, according to common tradition, the rivers Stour and Orwell, which unite at Harwich, and now flow thence southward into the sea, originally preserved a straight course eastward to the N. of this spit of land, which was then reversed and belonged to Essex on the S. Doubtless great changes have taken place at the outfall of these rivers, both from the large deposits brought down by them, and by the stress of the sea acting on their efflux. An extensive tract of land once existed in this parish of Walton that is now entirely washed away ; upon it was once a castle of the Bigods, which has long been swallowed up. The fort is so surrounded by the sea at high-water as to become an island, almost a mile from the shore.
It was built in the time of James I. for the defence of Harwich harbour, to which port it is immediately opposite ; and the cost of its construction was very great owing to the difficulties of the foundations. In recent times the fort has been remodelled and adapted to the requirements of modern warfare, both as to its armaments and in the nature of its works.
In 1667, the Dutch landed here with a force of 3000 men and attacked the fort, but were beaten off and forced to re-embark. (Castles Of England, Sir James D. Mackenzie, 1896)