East Sussex TN36 4EA
Tourists wishing to find a hidden gem within easy reach of London should visit Winchelsea in south-east England. Winchelsea was established in 1294 and sits atop a low hill on the edge of Romney Marsh in East Sussex.
Although it is now three miles (4.8 km) from the sea, Winchelsea was an important member of the medieval Confederation of Cinque Ports.
Long before England had its own Royal Navy, seven towns on the Kent and Sussex coast provided ships and men to protect the King and the country from foreign attack. These towns were known as the Cinque Ports.
Winchelsea’s importance was such that, when Old Winchelsea was destroyed by the sea, King Edward I personally provided its present site on the hill of Iham.
The village retains much of its medieval architecture and evidence of its time as a Head Port. It is built on a grid pattern and is very easy to explore. Information Boards are strategically placed at the historical spots and viewpoints.
Winchelsea is famous for its wide streets, red brick pavements and grass verges. Many of the houses in this beautiful village are faced with red tiles or weatherboarding recalling the town’s ancient shipbuilding skills.
Another unique feature of Winchelsea is its numerous large medieval wine cellars, some of which can be visited on special Winchelsea Archeological Society Guided Tours. Houses with these great underground vaulted cellars can be easily identified as you walk around the village by the wide flight of steps at street level leading down to the entrance below the house.
Accommodation - Search & Book through here:     External Link
The village still retains its medieval gate towers and some of the defensive walls. Winchelsea’s long and impressive history is displayed in the medieval Court Hall Museum along with the Mayor’s ceremonial silver maces.
Grave of Commedian & Author Spike Milligan
The Church of St Thomas the Martyr is 13th century and has not been changed through the Victorians penchant for restoration.
Among the ancient tombstones in the churchyard is the grave of comedian and author Spike Milligan. It is marked with a Celtic cross inscribed in Gaelic. The translation reads "I told you I was ill”.
Haunt of Artists, Writers & Poets during Victorian Era
During the Victorian era Winchelsea was a favourite haunt of artists, writers and poets. The Pre-Raphaelite painters, Rosetti, Millais and Holman Hunt lived here and visitors who know Millais’ work will recognise several locations used as backgrounds to his paintings.
A self guided walk includes the houses where these painters and authors such as Beatrix Potter, Joseph Conrad and William Makepeace Thackeray lived and stayed. 
As well as the village to explore there are lovely countryside walks along the River Brede, beside the Military Canal and across Romney Marsh.
The shingle and muddy expanse of Winchelsea Beach is a haven for wildlife and birds.
If you can spare the time, make Winchelsea your base for a couple of days and explore the nearby attractions of Rye, Hastings and Battle Village, the lovely orchards and oast houses of the High Weald, and the small seaside resorts and Napoleonic forts along the south-east coast. Battle
Restored Heritage Railways
There are three delightful restored railways within easy reach – The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, the Kent & East Sussex Railway at Tenterden and the Bluebell Railway at Lewes.
There is plenty of accommodation available, pubs and places to eat.
The local community runs an excellent and informative website with links. To download PDF documents detailing self guided walks and other information visit: Web:  The Ancient Town of Winchelsea    External Link
Getting There
- By Rail
From London there are very frequent fast train services from St Pancras Domestic station to Ashford International station - journey time of 38 minutes. Ticket bookings are essential. Whilst the travel time is short there are limited rail services to Winchelsea Station from Ashford International station.
We suggest that the visitor check with the National Rail web site for details and ticketing Web: National Rail Enquiries    External Link
- By Road
From London M25 Ring Road, take Junctions 3 or 5 joining the M26 to Ashford. From Ashford exit at Junction 10 onto A2070 west towards A259 and then to Winchelsea
- Parking in Winchelsea
Please respect the cultural heritage of Winchelsea and use the designated parking areas. Please do not park on the red brick pavements or grass verges.
Google Maps - Winchelsea Village

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