Bishop's Waltham

From the impressive ruins of the medieval Bishop of Winchester’s Palace to the numerous listed buildings of the town centre, history is everywhere.

Bishop’s Waltham is a vibrant and historic market town set in the glorious Hampshire countryside.

With a foot in the South Downs National Park and located at the mid point of a long-established route between Winchester and Portsmouth, the town has long been appreciated as a place to stop and relax.

The medieval high street is remarkably well preserved but don’t be deceived - there’s a broad range of shops, cafés, restaurants and salons tempt the 21st century visitor.

Shopping and eating is complemented by miles of walking and cycling trails. Visitors can choose from wandering through nature reserves, meandering along riversides and discovering the former Meon Valley railway line.

Bishop's Waltham's most impressive cultural asset is the grand medieval Bishop's Palace, located near the heartof the town. Explore the extensive remains, inlcuding the ruins of the Great Hall and imagine powerful visitors who honoured the palace with a vist, from Henry II, Richard the Lionheart to Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I.

Delve into the archives of the town's history and uncover local information and artefacts fron days gone by at the Bishop's Waltham Museum.

Take a look at the Bishop's Waltham website to find out more. 

The earliest record of a settlement within the Bishop's Waltham area was of a church built in around 640 AD.

The name of the town is also Saxon, being derived from two words - 'wald' (forest) and 'ham' (settlement). It earned the name 'Bishop's Waltham' when, in 904 AD, King Alfred’s son, King Edward the Elder, granted the land to Denewulf, Bishop of Winchester, in exchange for land in Portchester. 

Despite being destroyed by the Danes in 1001 AD, the settlement grew steadily to become one of Hampshire's largest villages.

Due to the town's close proximity to the port of Portsmouth, Bishop's Waltham has fascinating connections with naval characters including Admiral Edward Vernon 'Old Grog', Admiral Villeneuve - one of the best known captured sailors during the Napoleonic Wars when Bishop's Waltham served as a 'parol town' and Admiral Lord Andrew Cunningham.

Bishop’s Waltham boasts a particularly beautiful rural setting with nearby countryside that is very accessible to visitors.

Rolling countryside trails, heritage trails and nature walksallow you to explore Bishop's Waltham's undulating landscapes, local nature reservas, meadows and woodlands.

Pick up a copy of Exploring Bishop's Waltham - which details several walking routes around the area from WInchester Tourist Information Centre, the Bishop's Waltham Post Office and other local shops, or download a copy from www.hants.gov.uk/walking-maps-and-leaflets

There's no shortage of great places to eat in Bishop’s Waltham.

Cafes and coffee shops serve breakfast, morning coffee (and cake!), lunch and afternoon tea. Why not pick something up to eat elsewhere, like in the beautiful Palace grounds? 

If you prefer more formal dining, there's a great choice of restaurants and pubs open lunch time and evening, with menus to suit all budgets. Enjoy some fantastic local, home-cooked food in friendly and welcoming surroundings

Bishop’s Waltham’s events calendar is bursting with markets, festivals, sports meets, cultural celebrations, shopping events and children’s activities.

For a comprehensive list of more than 35 events taking place in the town, pick up a copy of the Diary of Events, available in shops and cafes around Bishop’s Waltham or visit www.lovebishopswaltham.com.

Highlights include Egg hunts at Easter, treasure hunts in the summer, Halloween activities in October and the Christmas Fayre held on the first Thursday in December with carol singing, late night shopping and of course a chance to see Father Christmas.

On certain Sundays throughout the year, the High Street is closed to traffic and the hustle and bustle of a market comes to town. Pick up something unusual from the art, design, antiques and vintage stalls.

For local produce, home baking and crafts, head to the Country Market at the Jubilee Hall on any Friday from 9.15-11am (www.bwcountrymarket.co.uk). 

Bishop’s Waltham Festival is a series of cultural events held around town during the year. From concerts to theatre, band competitions to poetry, the festival attracts locals and visitors of all ages. 

The Carnival & Show in June is a real spectacular, with a procession of floats and entertainers winding their way through the town centre on their way to the show. 

Gardening is another theme for events, look out for the biannual Open Gardens event, an annual floral and hanging basket competition and the Garden Fair held just outside Bishop’s Waltham in May.

Only a 20 minute drive from Winchester

By bus: on bus route 69. For more information visit our local travel page. 

By car: leave Winchester down Southgate Street and at Bushfield roundabout follow the signs for Bishop’s Walton on the B3335. After Twyford keep left on the B3354 until Fisher’s Pond. At the Fisher’s Pond traffic lights turn left onto the B2177 to Bishop’s Waltham.

Click on the link below to download the pcoket guide (pdf will open in a new window):

PDF iconBishop's Waltham Pocket Guide 2014.pdf.

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