Wolvesey Castle, Winchester

Just a five minute walk off Winchester High Street will have you at the ruins of Wolvesey Castle.

This English Heritage attraction is free to enter and worth exploring when the weather is fair.

Wolvesey Castle ruins in Winchester, Hampshire, England, UK

Winchester & Wolvesey Castle History

I’ll give you a brief whistle stop history lesson but, heads up I’m by no means a historian. In fact I barely passed history at school and I really just liked colouring in castles in class. But, I have cobbled together this brief overview because I think it’s really interesting to know the context. I’m always amazing at just how much history you’re walking through when you visit Winchester.

If you’re not into history, don’t worry, I’ve made it brief!

Wolvesey Castle ruins in Winchester, Hampshire, England, UK

The rich history of Winchester can be traced back to the Iron Age when the first settlers arrived. It then went on to Roman and then Anglo-Saxon occupation.

After The Battle of Hastings in 1066 the town was surrendered to the Normans. They were an industrious people who started the construction of the Winchester Cathedral that we see today.

During the Norman era Wolvesey Castle was built for the bishops of Winchester. These powerful and wealthy religious men have an intricate history. One that sees them deeply entwined with royalty and at the centre of civil war. Wolvesey Castle turned out to become one of the most important Norman palaces and medieval buildings in England.

If you’re really into your history, and want to know about the bishops, read English Heritage’s guide to Wolvesey Castle’s history.

Information about Bishop Henry at Wolvesey Castle ruins in Winchester, Hampshire, England, UK

The Ruins

Wolvesey Castle is a well preserved set of ruins and you can see the strong stone structures remaining. There’s full walls, doorways and an aerial view of the exposed Norman plumbing system.

Wolvesey Castle ruins in Winchester, Hampshire, England, UK

Dotted around at key places are information boards with little stories and facts about the palace and its history. For people who aren’t likely to research the castle themselves, the boards offer just enough information to teach you a little of the history.

Information boards at Wolvesey Castle ruins in Winchester, Hampshire, England, UK

The whole setting is stunning, it would be really easy to have spent a lot of time in Winchester and have walked past this not realising it’s there.

It’s clearly a favourite spot with locals, and one family had taken a picnic to have on the green in the middle of the ruins. Just remember to take your rubbish home or to one of the bins back on the high street.

Wolvesey Castle ruins in Winchester, Hampshire, England, UK

The ruins aren’t too tricky to find but, they are tucked away so keep your eyes peeled for the signs. You could easily walk past it and not notice it’s there. It is worth seeking out though because it’s a lovely place to look around. The old walls are really impressive as well as very beautiful.

Wolvesey Castle

Wolvesey Castle ruins is another excellent discovery to make in Winchester. Despite living nearby my whole life it’s only recently that I’ve found the more hidden parts of the city. These are the things that make it unique and a real fun place to travel to and explore.

Early Medieval Plumbing at Wolvesey Castle ruins in Winchester, Hampshire, England, UK

Wolvesey Castle ruins is another excellent discovery to make in Winchester. Despite living nearby my whole life it’s only recently that I’ve found the more hidden parts of the city. These are the things that make it unique and a real fun place to travel to and explore.

If you do visit it’s worth while noting there is no cafe, toilet or seating. But, it’s not the kind of place you’ll really be at for that long. Perhaps an hour at best? Plus, it’s so near to the high street, that a five minute walk will have you back near amenities.

Also, if you or your group has accessibility requirements it’s worth noting the tracks are uneven. Some areas only accessible by steps or climbing over big stones.

Everything is outside, so make sure you’ve got appropriate rain wear with you too. Dogs on leads are welcome which was useful as I had a dog with me on my visit.

I’ll definitely be taking friends and family to see this wonderful hidden part of Winchester. Let me know if you do too!

Visit the ruins of Wolvesey Castle and English Heritage site.

If you liked this, take a look at these other great places to visit in Winchester…

Want to remember this post later? You can save these images to Pinterest or use one of the buttons below to share it.

Leave a Reply