About Winchester Castle
Winchester Castle is a medieval building in Winchester, Hampshire. The Great Hall, “one of the finest surviving aisled halls of the 13th century”, contains the greatest symbol of medieval mythology, King Arthur’s Round Table, and is all that now remains of Winchester Castle.
Winchester Castle history
Winchester Castle dates back to 1067. Only a year after the Norman invasion of England in 1066, the site was chosen by William the Conqueror to be the location of one of the first Norman castles in England. For over one hundred years it was the seat of Government of the Norman Kings.
The castle was extended and rebuilt under Henry III, who added the Great Hall and built a stone keep to house the royal treasury and the Domesday Book. In 1302 Edward and his second wife, Margaret of France, narrowly escaped death when the royal apartments of the castle were destroyed by fire.
The castle remained an important residencefor the monarchy until the ascension of Elizabeth I to the throne in 1558. During her reign, the castle ceased to be a royal residence and was handed over to Winchester’s city authorities.
The castle was held by royalist forces during the English Civil War, and when the fortress finally fell to Parliamentary troops in 1646, Oliver Cromwell ordered its destruction. This oday, only the Great Hall of Henry III survives, offering a glimpse of what the original castle must have looked like.
Winchester Castle today
Winchester Castle’s three main features, The Great Hall, The Round Table and Queen Eleanor’s Garden are all open to the public.
Most visitors come to see the iconic Round Table from the Arthurian legend, around which the famous knights congregated representing chivalric order in the medieval period.
Visitors can also relax in Queen Eleanor’s Garden abundant with 13th century plants and scents or try on amazing costumes and take selfies with their head on the executioners block!
Getting to Winchester Castle
Winchester Castle is located at the top of Winchester High Street, to the left of the Westgate. Tower Street car park is a 5 minute walk from the Great Hall.
If travelling via train, the Castle is but a 10 minute walk away from Winchester Station, which has a direct line to and from London Waterloo.
There are also two Coach set-down points at either end of the city.