This is the 1st time we have actually cycled to Portchester Castle (despite the fact that we only live a couple of miles away…)
And what a beautiful day we chose to do it! We headed off down the hill and took the road towards the water. We first visited Wicor Marine from where you can access the Salt Café, sitting directly on the shores of Fareham Creek and well worth a visit for a cuppa and a slice of cake (or perhaps even a glass of wine 🙂 ).
(There is actually a lovely walk around Fareham Creek that can be started from the café (or the castle itself), that takes you around the golf course at Cams Hall (covering much of the Fareham park run route). Click here for details.
Having stopped by Calv’s sister’s for a cuppa and some oil for Calv’s bike chain we took the path along the shoreline as far as Hospital Lane where we emerged into the heart of old Portchester. The path was good (although there is a bit with steep drops on either side, 1 down to the shingle beach, the other a grassy ditch, so if you’re not very confident on your bike you would probably get off and walk here!) The views are just lovely, particularly on a beautiful sunny day (which we are experiencing so many of at the moment 🙂 )
At the end of the path you can continue straight to the castle along the shore – although a short section is on the beach so it’s not really suitable for cycling. Therefore when you get to the end of the fence separating the shore from the lane down to Turret House, turn left to go up Hospital Lane, where you will found a couple of lovely old houses. The view of Castle Street when you get to the top is lovely 🙂 (I didn’t take a picture as on a sunny Sunday afternoon the cars have sort of taken over!)
From here it’s just a short hop to the castle (about 20 seconds on bikes, maybe 2 mins if you’re on foot.
Every time I visit I am instantly transported back to my teenage years when I spent so much time here hanging out with friends. We would either be inside the castle walls chilling, or outside mucking about in the moat (which is dry these days!) or actually in the water (swimming mostly, but also throwing mud at each other…. oh, happy days!!) Maybe I should write a song just like Ed Sheeran did?!
The keep is managed by English Heritage and isn’t free to visit (but it IS well worth a visit – you can go right to the top of the keep from where views are a bit special). The grounds and the church (still in constant use) are free. There was a cricket club located inside the grounds until very recently (see here for more information – and pictures!)
We cycled around the castle walls and back through the middle of the grounds, at which point we both looked at each other with the exact same thought – “Why on earth have we never thought about having our annual family picnic here??!!” A thought for the future perhaps – there were many families doing exactly that 🙂
We headed home via the local pub, The Cormorant, initially just for a cider, but we ended up eating as well! And very nice it was too. We noticed that they had a big screen outside (useful for the ongoing World Cup in Russia), but that they had positioned it in such a way that you would always be able to see it properly 🙂
We headed home (having cycled a total of 7 1/2 miles) wondering why on earth we haven’t taken this short trip before? As it is probably the most relevant to show under the heading ‘Right on our Doorstep’!
I have a few more to add under this heading, including a trip into Romsey, a quick jaunt out to the New Forest and a short break with my sister in Farnham. I also need to tell you about the last part of our main trip last year (Malham in the Dales). Hopefully this will all be soon as I have more time available again now (I’ve been working!!)