Penshurst Place | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Penshurst Place

Tonbridge, England, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

19 May 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place in Kent, England, is a medieval fortified manor house which remains one of the best preserved of its kind in the UK.

Penshurst Place history

Originally built in 1341 for Sir John de Pulteney, Lord Mayor of London, Penshurst Place saw much development over the following years under each of its various inhabitants, with much of what survives today hailing from the early-medieval and Tudor period.

As a prominent estate within reach of London, Penshurst Place has been the home of a number of significant figures, including Henry IV’s third son John, Duke of Bedford and Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham.

When the latter was executed in 1521 his estates were turned over to Henry VIII, who then appointed Thomas Boleyn as Keeper of Penshurst Place, his ancestral home of Hever Castle being only a few miles away. In later years Penshurst thus provided a convenient place for Henry to stay as he began courting Anne Boleyn, with the family’s ties to the place likely instilling it as a familiar setting for the couple.

Penshurst Place has also played host to a number of other royal guests, including Edward VI, Elizabeth I, and James I, while the eminent Elizabethan poet Philip Sidney was born and grew up there after his family were granted the house in 1552.

Penshurst Place today

Today, Penshurst Place is still owned by the Sidney family and is open to the public for part of the year. It features an array of fascinating attractions, particularly the medieval State Rooms which include the 14th century Baron’s Hall – one of the oldest, largest, and best preserved medieval halls in the country!

Visitors can view a host of a paintings, tapestries, arms & armour, and furniture collected by the family over the centuries as well as the vaulted crypt.

Other attractions on offer at Penshurst include a Toy Museum, maize maze and an adventure playground, alongside its magnificent estate which includes eleven acres of walled gardens and 2,500 acres of estate, ancient parkland and woodland.

Getting to Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place is located in Penshurst near Tonbridge in Kent, and can be reached via the M25, M20, and M26 motorways. From the M25 Junction 5 follow A21 to Tonbridge, leaving at Hildenborough exit; then follow brown tourist signs. From the M20/M26 Junction 2a follow A25 (Sevenoaks), A21 for Hildenborough, then follow brown tourist signs. Parking at the site is free.

The nearest train station is Penshurst, a 35-minute walk away, while the 231 and 233 bus services also run from Edenbridge Town station into Penshurst, following which it is a 10-minute walk to the site.

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