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Bishop's Waltham Palace

Visited  August 2012

Location Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire
Entrance Fee No
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes
Facilities None
Map  

 

Situated in the heart of the town of Bishop's Waltham, this fortified palace has free entry and plenty of green space suitable for young explorers.

 


 

 


Review

 

Like Wolvesey Castle and Taunton Castle it was built by the Bishops of Winchester , who as the richest Bishops in England would have needed such grand properties for entertaining, recreation and sometimes refuge. The palace as it is today was built by Bishop William Wykeham, Bishop from 1367, although an earlier palace had been started by Bishop Henry de Blois in 1135.

 

Mary Tudor stayed at the palace prior to her marriage to Philip of Spain in Winchester Cathedral, this was probably during its heyday, as it then began to gradually fall into ruin. It was fortified during the civil war, but was slighted afterwards by the parliamentarians.

 

 

 


 

 


 

The site is unmanned and there are no facilities such as toilets or a cafe, but there are public toilets and many eating places in the town. The ruins are reasonably intact, with many of the walls still standing to their original height, but there are no towers to climb! There are information boards dotted around the site, which is helpful as there is no shop to buy a guide book. 

 


 

 


 

Also in the grounds of the palace is the Bishop's Waltham Town Museum. This is situated in the old farmhouse next to the ruins. It is manned by volunteers who I can honestly say were some of the friendliest people I have ever met- they seemed genuinely delighted to have young children in the museum and positively encouraged them to look around. There was a children's trail available, although it was under quite a pile of leaflets on the front desk so was not immediately obvious until my eagle-eyed child spotted it and asked for it. The children agreed it was a good trail nonetheless, so it would be worth asking for if you do visit.

 

The museum, like the palace, has free entry. Although the palace is open every day, the museum is only open Saturdays & Sundays between 2-5pm. Please check the website for exact opening times.

 


 

More info: English Heritage Bishops's Waltham Palace

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