The Capper Nomads Europe Adventure travel blog

The house from the front

The vegetable garden

In the vegetable garden

Looking across at the church

The battlefield site

Within the church

The alter

Looking up at the house

The long walk

View back on the Long walk

The house from the side

Beautiful Magnolia

Across the vegetable garden to the church

The keep

Ruin walls

Looking up at the walls

Part of the palace

Within Aston's Tower

Entrance to Richard II palace

Inside Richard II palace

Wall painting

Beams used to suspend floors for prisioners

Portsmouth Harbour

12th Century Priory

Looking across

Looking down on the castle

The fortifications


The Western Bastions

Final view of the Keep

Today was an absolutly beautiful day for March and as Kevin and Linda were going to the Southampton football match we decided it was a tourist day. With our National Trust and English Heritage passes in hand we went first to visit Hinton Ampner near Alresford, a house and gardens mainly created by Ralph Dutton, 8th and last Lord Sherborne.

The elegant country house which was built in 1790 was remodelled by Ralph Dutton in 1960 after a devastating fire and contained his collection of Georgian and Regency furniture, Italian pictures and objets d'art. In addition Ralph Dutton also redesigned the gardens and are now considered a masterpiece of 20th-century design.

Before we explored the gardens and house we stopped at the cafe- very civilised!. Although it was early in the season the gardens were a joy to explore and the house had magnificent views of the Hampshire countryside. We also discovered that the site was the setting of the Battle of Cheriton in 1644 during the English Civil War.

After another cup of tea we headed to Portchester to visit Portchester Castle.

The castle was originally built in the late 3rd century and is an impressive and one of the best- preserved of the Roman 'Saxon Shore' forts. The castle sits on the northern shore of Portsmouth Harbour.The site was originally a simple Roman fortification constructed for defense purposes. The castle was added to during the Saxon and Medieval periods particularly the impressive keep seen today. As well as a fortification the castle has been a Royal palace for Richard II and a prison during the early 17th century.

To explore the castle we had a very interesting audio tour which not only provided the history of the castle but also told some interesting stories about the continuous battles between the English and the French after the centuries. No wonder there is no love lost between us English and the French.

We were able to explore the impressive Keep The Keep was originally constructed c.1130AD and now stands at over 100 feet tall, having been constructed in three separate phases ending in the late 14th century. As we climbed up the Keep we saw some original wall painting and learnt how they modified the Keep to accommodate prisoners during the early 17th century, which involved the construction of makeshift platforms on each floor so that they could fit in more prisioners.

The most impressive sight was from the very top of the Keep which had panoramic views across Portsmouth Harbour although the narrow winding stairs were interesting to climb. We were also able to look down on the castle and fortifications. An excellent birds-eye view.

An excellent day.

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