For all things military, unlock the fortress at Eastbourne’s premier historical attraction. The Redoubt combines an impressive fortress, made of five million bricks, and a thriving museum housing the largest military collection in the south.
In the early 19th century, as Napoleon was preparing to invade Britain, three fortresses were built along the coast to defend from any unwanted and unexpected attacks. Along with 74 Martello Towers, Redoubt Fortress was one of the imposing structures, designed to deter Napoleon’s advances. Although the course of history meant that Britain was never invaded (ensured by Nelson’s victory in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar), the fortress remains standing today as a remarkable construction from the past. The building is now home to the Military Museum of Sussex, the largest and most comprehensive collection of artefacts and relics from the three military branches. Once inside the fortress, visitors can learn about the history of the building, the conditions faced by the 200 men living inside the walls, and the different uses of the fortress over the past 200 years. For those with an interest in British and European military, there are a number of collections and exhibitions displaying fascinating pieces from the most influential periods of history.
Ever wanted to see a Second World War German staff car? Or a Gulf War camp? The displays in the Military Museum make it possible to discover and learn about different weapons, battles and more. The three collections within its walls are the Royal Sussex Regimental Collection, the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars Regimental Collection, and the Sussex Combined Services Collection. So whether you’re riveted by the local regiment, or captivated by the cavalry, there’s a display to interest every visitor. Alongside these permanent collections are temporary exhibitions that investigate different aspects of life in the armed forces. Currently on display is Stitch for Victory, exploring how knitting and needlework was used during the Second World War to provide comfort and promote well- being amongst soldiers. Previous exhibitions have included War Stories, a selection of images and quotes from surviving soldiers; and Children at War, artwork from local artist Clare Hackney, that looks at the effects of war on children around the globe.
Still standing strong on Eastbourne’s coast, the fortress is ready to defend Britain for many years to come. And with so many fascinating artefacts to discover inside this striking structure, the Redoubt Fortress and Military Museum remains a great place to explore.