Hidden away within the winding streets at the heart of London, discover the ruins of an ancient palace that housed some of the most important figures in medieval Britain.
Winchester Palace was built in the 12th century as a place where bishops could reside in comfort while staying in London, often on visits to speak with the royal family.
A palace for priests
There’s not much left of Winchester Palace to gaze upon anymore, but its unassuming location within the busy urban streets combined with its deceptively ramshackle appearance makes this incredible building a little-known secret.
Yet back in medieval times, this place was far from obscure.
The bishop of Winchester himself stayed here, entertaining many other bishops from across Britain - and royalty too.
In the 15th century, James I had his wedding feast here when he married Joan Beaufort.
The palace continued to be used until the . Tragically, a fire destroyed most of the magnificent building two centuries later, but thankfully a piece of it still remains today.
The wall of the great hall
The main bit of Winchester Palace that remains is the gable wall of the great hall.
You can still see the remains of the beautiful rose window at the top which would have shone down light onto the guests who feasted here.
While you examine this place, try and imagine what it must have looked like before it fell into ruin.
It would have been abuzz with servants, frantically running around putting delicious food and fine drink in the laps of priests, bishops and even kings.
Around the palace, there were also other buildings like a butcher, a brewery and a prison: in fact, Sir Thomas Ogle was one of the prisoners who was kept in the palace, and it’s said that he tried to draw other prisoners into his royalist plots while he was here.
Now that you’re in the know about this fascinating and secretive place, be sure to take a trip to Winchester Palace and see it for yourself.