Complete 1066 Open Guided Tour
5 - 6 hours - open for anyone to join (max 8 adults)
This tour is an open guided tour of the main sites in Pevensey and Battle relating to the Norman Conquest. It begins at the entrance to Pevensey Castle and ends at Pevensey and Westham station. The tour includes return travel to Battle by public transport (40 mins each way). The tour is available for anyone to join (max 8 adults)
I will begin our tour at the entrance to Pevensey Castle (above) by explaining the geography of the area in 1066 and looking at the reasons why William chose this spot to land his army. I will then explain the background to the 1066 conflict and the reasons why William chose to invade.
Pevensey Castle was built on the order of William of Normandy inside the walls of an existing Roman Fort. We will pause just inside the Roman Walls for an explanation of the events of 1066 leading up to the Norman landing before highlighting the differences between what the Normans expected to find in Pevensey and what actually happened. We will then go inside Pevensey Castle and there will be some free time to explore the castle ruins.
We will then leave the castle and exit the site through the Roman walls. I will explain why William chose to leave Pevensey and make Hastings his base instead. We will see the old village green and will continue to St Mary's Church which dates from 1080.
After a short visit to the church, we will make our way to Pevensey and Westham station where we will take the train to Battle. The journey takes about 40 minutes and we have to change trains at St Leonards. You may wish to bring a packed lunch to eat on the journey.
Once in Battle we will exit the station on the road that the Norman soldiers marched to fight the Saxons. We will walk up a gentle hill to the site that the latest research indicates may be the actual Battle of Hastings battlefield site.
Here we can see Caldbec Hill which is acknowledged as the muster point for Harold's Saxon army and also thought by some to be the Battle of Hastings site. I will explain why the location of the battlefield site is disputed and we will consider the pros and cons for each site being the Battlefield.
The outer walls of Battle Abbey will be visible as we walk towards the entrance to the site. Battle Abbey was built on the order of William I at the top of Senlac Hill, traditionally believed to be the site of the Battle of Hastings.
Once inside the abbey we will walk to the position where Harold set his shield wall. We will then walk the perimeter of the battlefield. Using maps and diagrams I will explain the events of the battle from when it began at 9am on 14th October 1066 to the point where Harold was killed and William claimed victory late in the afternoon.
Leaving the battlefield we will walk to the spot where it is believed that Harold fell. Here I will explain what William did immediately after the Battle of Hastings and how he managed to secure the backing of the Ealdormen for his coronation on 25th December 1066.
If time allows there will be free time to look at the abbey ruins before returning to Battle station to take the train back to Pevensey and Westham.
Adults - £99
Children 5 - 16 years - £30
Children under 5 years - free
Family - 2 adults and up to 3 children - £195
includes entrance to Pevensey Castle and Battle Abbey
includes return transport from Pevensey & Westham to Battle
children must be accompanied by an adult