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The South Sights

The Great Hall

  • Castle Avenue Map It
  • Winchester
  • Historic District/Site
  • Fodor's Choice

Fodor's Review

A short walk west of the cathedral, this outstanding example of early English gothic architecture, and one of Britain's finest surviving 13th-century halls, is all that remains of the city's original Norman castle (razed by Oliver Cromwell). It's also the site of numerous historically significant events: the English Parliament is thought to have had one of its first meetings here in 1246; Sir Walter Raleigh was tried for conspiracy against King James I in 1603; and Dame Alice Lisle was sentenced to death by the brutal Judge Jeffreys for sheltering fugitives after Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685. Hanging on the west wall is the hall's greatest artifact, a huge oak table, which, legend has it, was King Arthur's original Round Table. In fact, it was probably created around 1290 at the beginning of the reign of Edward I for a tournament. It is not clear when the green and white stripes that divide the table into 24 places, each with the name of a knight of the mythical Round Table, were added, but it is certain that the Tudor Rose in the center surmounted by a portrait of King Arthur was commissioned by Henry VIII. Take time to wander through the garden—a re-creation of a medieval shady retreat, named for two queens: Eleanor of Provence and Eleanor of Castile.

Sight Information


Castle Avenue, Winchester, SO23 8UJ, England

Map It



Sight Details:

  • Free; suggested donation £3
  • Daily 10–5
  • May be closed for events—check website


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