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
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.
Opening Times: The castle is open daily from 10am to 6pm from April to September, daily from 10am to 4pm during October and at weekends from 10am to 4pm from November to March. View details.
Access: Parts of the site are uneven and can become muddy.
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.