The medieval Bishops of Winchester were rich and powerful men, the relations and advisers of kings. Wolvesey, standing a stone's throw from Winchester Cathedral, was their main residence throughout the Middle Ages. The extensive remains date largely from the great 12th century palace of Bishop Henry of Blois, brother of King Stephen.
Though ruinous, the buildings still evoke an impression of their former grandeur. The last great occasion here was on 25th July 1554, when the East Hall was transformed with silk and gold hangings for Queen Mary and Philip of Spain's wedding banquet.
Read more about Wolvesey's history.
Before You Go
Access: Parts of the site are uneven and can become muddy.
Opening Times: The castle is open daily 10am-5pm from April until October. The castle is closed from November to March. View details.
Parking: There are a number of public car parks in Winchester, not managed by English Heritage. The closest one is Colebrook Street, a five minute walk from the site.
Dogs: Dogs on leads are welcome.
Plan a Great Day Out
Continue your tour of the Bishop's Palaces by visiting Farnham Castle Keep and Bishop's Waltham Palace. You could also head to the coast and visit Portchester Castle, about a 45 minute drive from Winchester. Enjoy a picnic in the castle grounds, or on the Solent shore, and find that special reminder of your day in the gift shop.
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.
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