Penshurst Place - History and Facts | History Hit

Penshurst Place

Tonbridge, England, United Kingdom

One of the best examples of a medieval fortified manor house in the UK, Penshurst is a well preserved medieval historic house which has strong royal connections.

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.

Featured In

Anne Boleyn Sites

Discover 10 fascinating historic sites associated with Anne Boleyn, one of the most intriguing figures of the Tudor era. From her time at the French châteaus of the Loire Valley to her untimely end at the Tower of London, each site provides a piece of the story that has captivated audiences for over 500 years.

Elizabeth I sites

Follow in the footsteps of the famous Queen Elizabeth I, from Bath Abbey to Ashridge and more.

Henry VIII Sites

Follow in the footsteps of King Henry VIII, view the places where Henry left his mark on history and find fantastic historic sites to visit on your travels, includes interactive map.