The best places to uncover history in the South Downs

Many places across south-east England are steeped in hundreds if not thousands of years of history, from Tudor palaces to battlefield sites and everything in between, making for fascinating and educational days out for the whole family.

And the South Downs is no different. With the ancient ruins of Wolvesey Castle in the west to the medieval Pevensey Castle just outside of Eastbourne, the area is packed with sites of famous battles, or where former Kings and Queens would have stood.

Step back in time with these fascinating historical adventures in the South Downs National Park.

Arundel Castle

The medieval castle which dominates the local skyline boasts nearly 1,000 years of history. The motte was constructed in 1068, while the castle itself was built in part by King Henry II. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed at the castle for a period in 1846 and even had bedroom and library furniture specially commissioned for their stay. The castle and grounds make for a wonderful day out in the South Downs.

Anne of Cleves House

Henry VIII’s fourth wife never actually lived in this 15-century house in Lewes. Instead, it formed part of her annulment settlement in 1541. The kitchen and bedroom have been restored to replicate how they would have looked in Queen Anne’s time, while the museum is also home to a number of artefacts of specific Sussex interest, making it an interesting day out for keen local historians.

The Great Hall

The Great Hall in Winchester, built by William the Conqueror, is the only part of Winchester Castle still standing. It’s now a museum, showcasing the bloody history of the castle, including battles and trials for treason and terrorism held within its walls. Not only that, but the 13th-century building also houses King Arthur’s Round Table.

Bignor Roman Villa

Located in Pulborough, Bignor Roman Villa was discovered in 1811, with the site fully excavated in the following years. Today, the Roman courtyard villa is best known for its stunning mosaic floors, which are some of the most complete and intricate to be found in the whole country. You can visit on weekends during September and October, before it closes until 2021, so get in quick.




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