St Catherine's Oratory

A herd of cows at the bottom of St Catherine's Oratory.
An aerial view of St Catherine's Oratory

Free Entry

Open any reasonable time during daylight hours


Chale, Isle of Wight

Before You Go

This tall medieval octagonal tower is all that survives of an oratory built here in 1328 as penance by a local landowner, who had plundered church property – casks of white wine – from a ship wrecked nearby. Affectionately known as the Pepperpot, it seems to have been used as a lighthouse, and stands on one of the highest parts of the Isle of Wight. It is part of the Tennyson Heritage Coast, a series of linked cliff-top monuments. A later lighthouse can be seen nearby.

Read more about the history of St Catherine's Oratory.

Before You Go

Access: The oratory is located a ¼ mile across fields, parts of which may be uneven. Entry to the field from the car park is via a steep staircase.

Parking: There is a car park opposite the site, not managed by English Heritage.

Facilities: In the summer season refreshments can be purchased in the car park.

Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome.

Please be aware: Farm livestock may be present.

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Plan a Great Day Out

There are many things to do on the island.

Explore the lavish state rooms and intimate royal apartments of Osborne, the palatial seaside retreat of Queen Victoria, and the Swiss Cottage Quarter, where the royal children played.  Relax in the eateries or browse the well- stocked gift shop. 

Befriend the donkeys in the medieval fortress of Carisbrooke Castle and admire the Edwardian-style Princess Beatrice garden. 

Discover Yarmouth Castle built to protect strategic Yarmouth Harbour.  View atmospheric recreations of how the rooms were used in the 16th century and enjoy a picnic overlooking the Solent.

The sunrise through the conservatory at Witley Court.

Your support helps in so many ways

Your membership provides valuable support for our essential work, while you can enjoy free access to the beauty and inspiration of our magnificent historic places. 


About us

English Heritage cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and places - from world-famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to a Cold War bunker. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million people each year. The English Heritage Trust is a charity, no. 1140351, and a company, no. 0744722, registered in England.

How We Are Funded

Our target is to become completely self-funding by 2023. Our confidence in achieving this is based on our track record. During the past 10 years, our commercial income has doubled and we have raised nearly £60m in donated income.

  • 66% Self-generated income
  • 20% One off capital grant
  • 14% Government funding
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