In 1667, it successfully repelled an invasion of Dutch soldiers, who came ashore near the Fludyer Arms Hotel. Today, it still stands proudly overlooking the mile-wide Harwich Harbour, at the mouth of the Rivers Orwell and Stour.
In the time of Henry VIII, Landguard was home to simple defences. The first true fort on the site of today’s structure was constructed until 1626.
The Victorians enclosed and bolstered the bastions in 1875, though the 18th century walls are visible still, with added batteries and improved barracks. After the main guns were removed, for most of the 20th century the fort was used as barrack accommodation. In 1951, two of the old gun casemates were converted into a control room for Cold War use. After the victory against the Dutch, and service through two World Wars, Landguard Fort’s role as a military base came to an end in 1957 when the last soldiers left. The fort lay unloved until the 1980s when local interest was aroused.
Since 1997 it has been maintained and opened to the public on their behalf by the Landguard Fort Trust. Now it houses informative tours and art exhibitions. The fort also makes a striking, if spooky, venue for evening events and parties.