Still standing after taking a hit in World War II, this spectacular church tells its tumultuous and varied history through its impressive stained-glass windows.
The Royal Garrison Church is a 13th-century church that once served as a hospital and lodging for pilgrims. Having served many purposes, the religious hub has been partially damaged over the centuries and remains an important historical landmark in the Old Town quarter of Portsmouth. Visit the Royal Garrison Church to enjoy the absolute serenity in and around the building.
Marvel at the intriguing frame of the façade. The upper part has stood alone since the destruction of the church roof in the 1940s. A lower gabled roof covers the main body of the church. Stroll around the grassy area that lines the side of the building and revel in the tranquility. Pointing away from the church in the corner of the grounds is a lone black cannon.
Enter the historic structure to find yourself in its restored nave. Admire the 20th-century stained-glass windows that portray an array of religious figures as well as scenes from World War II. The chancel features a majestic vaulted roof and contains the choir and sanctuary. Notice how the oak stalls pay tribute to iconic military personnel.
Speak with the clergy about the long and complex history of the church, which was severely damaged by bombing in World War II. The building was previously used as a medieval hospital, an ammunitions store and as part of the city governor’s residence in the 16th century.
Find the Royal Garrison Church just south of the Portsmouth Cathedral in the heart of the Old Town district. Ride a bus to a nearby stop or walk south from Portsmouth Harbour Station for about 20 minutes to get here. The church is open to visitors in summer, Tuesday through Saturday from late morning until afternoon. It is free to enter.
While you’re in the vicinity, visit other nearby sights such as the Round Tower, the Horatio Nelson Statue and the Square Tower.