A visit to the Estate is an opportunity to combine countryside with heritage, and to enjoy a number of outdoor sports.
THE ESTATE HAS A FASCINATING HISTORY
Between 1143-53 the Augustinian monks from nearby Portchester founded Southwick Priory. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries Henry VIII sold the assets to John Whyte in 1539 and the estate has been in the continuous ownership of the descendants of John Whyte ever since. You can walk around the site of Southwick Priory where one wall and earthworks survive.
Southwick House was completed in 1813 and rebuilt after a fire in 1841. The house was requisitioned by the government during World War II and the house was subsequently Eisenhower’s SHAEF headquarters for the planning of Operation Overlord. In the build-up to D-Day the village was taken over by the Allied Command with Nissan huts erected to house the men with the unofficial Officer’s Mess in the Golden Lion pub. The original D-Day Map remains in the house and Southwick House which is still owned by the Ministry of Defence. Access to the Map Room is by appointment only through the Defence School of Policing and Guarding.
Portchester Castle dates back to the late 3rd century and is one of the most impressive and best-preserved of the Roman ‘Saxon Shore’ forts. The Castle, on the northern shore of Portsmouth Harbour, is under the stewardship of English Heritage but remains in the ownership of the Estate.
Southwick commemorates D-day with a Revival weekend most years, featuring tours, talks and wartime vehicles. All year round you can visit the lounge bar of the Golden Lion pub, reputedly the unofficial officers’ mess during the war.