Unearth the amazing stories of Basing House, the nationally important ruins and grounds of the largest private house in Tudor England, which suffered at the hands of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War.

Just a short walk along the river Loddon from our free car park, start your visit at the visitor centre where you can see the display introducing Basing House and its long and fascinating history. View the site and buildings from afar and see the original, brick-lined fishponds. Step inside the battle-scarred Great Barn, dating from 1535, then continue on past the meadow to the ruins of the main house in Old Basing.

The ruins are set in extensive grounds which are fantastic to explore, perfect for a picnic or a walk with your dog. Visit the Jacobean walled garden and the Basing House Museum to discover artefacts found on the site and the full story of the house.

Don’t miss the magnificent views of Basingstoke from our platform overlooking the ruins or the Basing Mouse activity trail for children. Basing House also runs a full programme of events, outdoor theatre, workshops and activity days during its open period. 

Things to do

  • Discover the Great Barn and spot the artillery damage still visible on its walls
  • Explore the ruins and imagine what the house would have looked like from the viewing platforms
  • Visit the walled garden and learn about Basing House’s fascinating history in the museum
  • Use the free app to experience every aspect of this remarkable site, from the ruins themselves to the gatehouse and LEGO model of the great house
  • Walk your dog or find a picnic spot and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the vast grounds
  • Have a coffee or ice cream in the visitor centre and pick up the Basing Mouse activity trail. Bring your own cup for 30p off your hot drink!

Basing House

Basing House today is a collection of banks and ditches, cellars and broken walls, with only the occasional surviving structure, such as the majestic Great Barn. The huge circular bank, or ringwork, and defensive ditches are all that remain of the castle built in the 1100s by the de Port family, who arrived with William the Conqueror in the Norman invasion of 1066. It was on top of these castle remains that Sir William Paulet, the first Marquess of Winchester and Lord Treasurer of England, chose to build his new house in 1535.

When first built, it was the largest private house in the country with around 360 rooms. In its heyday, it was frequently visited by the monarch of the time including Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Philip II of Spain and Queen Mary I who honeymooned there in 1554 after their marriage in nearby Winchester

A once great house

Sir William succeeded in creating a fabulous castellated residence using his vast fortune amassed from a long life of service to the crown. He poured much of this into the expansion and elaboration of the property, which was said to be “larger than most of the King’s Palaces”. Sadly, in later years, the Paulets were unable to maintain this extravagant lifestyle and were forced to abandon areas of the house.

The English Civil War

When the English Civil War broke out in 1642, England was divided between the Royalist and often Catholic supporters of King Charles I and those who favoured a more powerful Parliament, mainly Protestants. At this time, Basing House was owned by John Paulet, the fifth Marquess of Winchester. He lived up to his family motto Aymez Loyaulte (Love Loyalty) and supported the king. There followed three chaotic years of intermittent fighting. 

Under siege

Basing House was attacked by Parliamentary troops on three occasions. The final assault came in August 1645 when 800 men took up position around the walls. The garrison held out, despite further reinforcements to the attacking force, until Oliver Cromwell himself arrived with heavy artillery. By 13 October 1645, the walls of the house had been breached, Cromwell stormed the site and left it a burning ruin. Today, all that remains are the foundations of this once great property.

The Great Barn

Standing on the south side of the river Loddon was The Grange, a once bustling centre of food processing and storage for Basing House. The only visible surviving features are the Great Barn and fishponds. The Great Barn was built from over a million bricks and tiles and has a magnificent roof frame of quality oak.

Despite suffering artillery damage during the Civil War, the barn stands virtually intact, giving visitors a rare glimpse of Tudor England. It is one of the largest examples of its kind in England and is the only Tudor building at Basing House to have survived intact to the present day. This is all the more remarkable since it was the at the centre of a famous attack by the Parliamentary army in 1643, an event which gave the barn its local nickname of "The Bloody Barn".

Walled garden

No stately home would be complete without its formal gardens, a place for relaxation and entertainment and also a source of plants used in medicine.

The walled garden reflects the final phase of Basing House as a great residence in the Jacobean period, 1600-1625. Sadly, no contemporary illustration or description of the gardens survived, so a distinguished panel of garden historians has designed the gardens following the design principles of the day using the Paulet family's heraldic devices, including their motto Aymez Loyaulte (Love Loyalty). During your visit, see the renovated Lady of the House garden which can be found in the far corner of the walled garden.

Museum

Basing House museum is situated in the walled garden area of the Basing House grounds and covers all aspects of its history, from Saxon times to the present day. The museum focuses particularly on the archaeology of Basing House, life at the house in its Tudor and Elizabethan heyday, the Civil War and eventual downfall of this once great house.

Your visit

Admission

Pay once, visit all year! With your ticket, you can enjoy unlimited visits to Basing House and return as many times as you like for a whole year!

Ticket Price
Adult £9.00
Child (5-15 years) £6.00
Under 5s Free
Concessions £8.00
Family ticket (up to 5 people, max. 2 adults) £25.00

Prices applicable from 1 April 2019. Excludes some special events which may have an extra charge. Online discount applied at the checkout.

Find out more about our concession and discounted tickets.

Accessibility

Basing House is a large site in two parts with accessible parking on both parts as well as at our main car park. Most of the site is accessible to all, however, there are areas with limited access due to rough terrain or steep inclines. There are three accessible toilets around the site. Induction loops are fitted in the visitor centre, the Great Barn, the learning and community centre and the museum.

Copies of the guidebook are available free, on loan, for those with hearing loss. Guided tours are available for blind and visually impaired visitors when booked in advance. Braille copies of the Basing House guidebook are available on loan and assistance dogs are welcome anywhere on the site.

Café and picnics

Our Bothy Café is open at weekends for hot and cold drinks, snacks, ice cream and cakes. Snacks and refreshments are also available at the visitor centre. Picnics are welcome – there is plenty of space throughout the site to spread a rug and picnic benches are also available for you to use.

 

Bring your own cup

Get 30p off your next hot drink when you bring your own reusable cup! Simply present your cup to a member of staff to claim your discount.

Group and school visits

Basing House is the ideal site to learn about wildlife and habitats, local history, Tudor times, the Civil War and how one site of local historical significance has developed and changed over time.

Please scroll down this webpage for more information.

How to get here

By car: follow the brown signs to Basing House car park which is off Barton's Lane near the Millstone public house. Satnavs use postcode RG24 8AE. Please note there is no parking, except accessible parking, directly outside the visitor centre and we ask that our visitors do not park in the village.

By bus: take the No.10 bus from Basingstoke Bus Station to Park Lane/A30 junction, which takes approximately five minutes, then cross Basingstoke Common to Redbridge Lane. Go over the humpback bridge, turn left at the junction into Basing Road and right on to the footpath at the bridge over the River Loddon.

By rail: Basingstoke station is on the main network rail route to the south west, approximately 45 minutes from London Waterloo 

On foot: from Basingstoke railway station, follow the Basing Trail which passes through Eastrop Park. The route is on flat or nearly flat terrain and takes approximately 40 minutes at a steady pace. Information panels are located at intervals along the route. The first panel is opposite the main entrance to the station. 

Support us

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School visits at Basing House

Basing House is the ideal site to learn about wildlife and habitats, local history, Tudor times, the Civil War and how one site of local historical significance has developed and changed over time.

School bookings from January 2022

We are taking bookings as usual from January 2022 onwards, subject to government guidance in place at that time.

Please contact us with any queries: milestones.schools@hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk

Free downloadable lesson plans

Download these lesson plans for local history and Civil War, which include all resources for an introduction to Basing House:

How important was Basing House? (Upper KS2)

What happened at Basing House in the Civil War? (KS3)

School travel bursaries

Is your school located in Basingstoke & Deane, Rushmoor, Test Valley or Winchester? Are 10% or more pupils eligible for deprivation pupil premium? If the answer to both these questions is ‘yes’, you may be eligible for a £400 travel bursary to visit Basing House. Contact us for more information: milestones.schools@hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk 

Basing House can offer a rewarding cross-curricular experience that includes elements not only of history and science, but also geography, maths, archaeology, citizenship, drama and much more.

We offer five programmes for schools that use the resources of this unique outdoor site and link with the National Curriculum 2014. Our staff can also adapt sessions to focus on your particular learning objectives, whether it be an afternoon developing map-reading skills, or a morning talking to a Civil War soldier’s wife, there is something to suit every class.

KS1

Birds, Butterflies and Burrows is our exciting new Science programme for Key Stage 1, investigating the living things and habitats of Basing House. An inspiring and engaging STEM programme in which students work scientifically, observe closely and identify and classify the amazing variety of plants and animals that live in the diverse habitats which have grown around Basing House over centuries of change.

KS2

For Key Stage 2 there are three programmes which all support the Local History Study or a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066:

  • Tudor Life
  • Palace to Ruins: Tudor Life to Civil War in Hampshire
  • Survivor in the Landscape: Basing House through Time (Local History)*

* Survivor in the Landscape also supports KS2 Geography: Geographical skills and fieldwork, Human and physical geography and Location knowledge.

KS3

At Key Stage 3 we offer Civil War: History Makers which supports the Local History Study and the development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745.

Basing House has a museum with rooms dedicated to everyday life in the Tudor period and the Civil War as it happened here at the site.

For further information and to make bookings, please contact the Basing House learning team which is based at Milestones Museum on 01256 639550 or email milestones.schools@hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk

Download a hazard information sheet via the link below:

Download PDF

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