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Other stuff around Portsmouth: Portchester Castle

Our stay in Hampshire was drawing to a close and the day before we left we had arranged a couple of catch-ups with some of dad’s cousins.

One was picnic lunch at Portchester Castle. I still wasn’t bored with castles, ruins and so forth (unlike a certain male member of my family) so I was keen.

The castle is a landmark you can see for miles, situated out of Portsmouth but at the head of Portsmouth Harbour, and within the walls of a former Roman fort.

It’s a large space, with the castle in one corner, a church in the opposite corner, and loads of green space in between. Entry into the complex is free though the castle is managed by English Heritage and has an entry fee.

There was time to race through the castle/bailey before the others arrived and I excused myself a little later to continue.

The fort probably dates to the 3rd century and the castle came long in the 11th century. It was a royal residence and fortress for a few centuries and later served as a prison during several wars

The moat originally encircled the castle both inside and outside the Roman walls.

Part of the moat was remodelled in the 18th century as a swimming pool for prisoners, before being changed to its current statue in the 1920s

The inner bailey or courtyard of the castle

The tower, or keep, with ruins of another building in front

Remains of wall murals in a room inside the castle used as a theatre

Narrow winding staircase within the castle – not a big fan of confined spaces so I didn’t exactly love this

View from the top, this angle takes in the parish church of St Mary. I don’t do heights easily so I crept around the edge, juggling my firm grip on the barrier with my camera and making sure my skirt didn’t shoot up to the heavens courtesy of the strong winds

Originally there was a gate in the middle of each of the walls of the Roman fort. Shown here along the west wall, heading inland, is the appropriately named Landgate. On the opposite wall, nearest the water, is the Watergate. Simplicity eh?

That would be my father, acting up for the camera

Picnic lunch with dad’s cousins

In the grounds of St Mary’s, the church in the corner of the castle grounds

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