This is part of the same site as the 1066 battlefield and the admission price of £5:30 for adults covers both. The Abbey was built after the Norman Conquest by Duc William of Normandy aka William the Conqueror, supposedly in thanks for his victory. the altar was to be placed where King Harald of the saxons had been killed. A religious site continued here until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII who was having a major falling out with the Church at the time!
The site was archaeologically excavated relatively recently, and forms a very interesting site in conjunction with the battlefield.
The audio "wand" that you have used to go around the battlefield also gives information about the Abbey, and at the end there is a small Museum in the entranvce building. The entrance building itself is architecturally pleasing, having been a Courthouse in the 16th century.
The photos show some of the things you may see here. Sorry if some of the photos appear a bit "arty farty" but I was having a play around with the camera!
Update August 2013.
I wish to stress that this tip was originally written in 2005 and I am only re-visiting it now in order to amend an out of date website link and add some up to date technical information like prices etc. Hopefully, other Virtual Tourist members will have added much more recent and relevant information since I wrote this all those years ago. This is, I am afraid, a persistent problem when writing for a travel website. Everything is out of date as soon as you write it. I make no apology for leaving this tip here as it is a reflection of a wonderful trip I made. Perhaps some things have changed slightly and I would urge the reader to check on more recent submissions here.
The visitor experience may have changed but the battle site has been here for over 1000 years so I don't think that is going anywhere soon.
Should you want to visit, here are the details as of now.
Member (Join now) Free
Child (5-15 yrs) £4.70
Concession are you eligible? £7.00
Family (2 adults 3 children) £20.30
Overseas Visitor Pass Available
Full opening times are available on the appended website.
When I walked through the Medieval Gates to see Battle Abbey, I didn't realize the beautiful building and garden's in front of me, were OFF LIMIT'S!
You see, this is the Battle Abbey School, an independent co-educational day and boarding school, and it was the senior school located in the ruined abbey complex.
The Abbot's House, is the main school building of the Senior School. Luckily, when most of the Abbey building's were destroyed under instruction's from King Henry VIII, the 13th century Abbot's House survived. The school took over the property in 1922.
After we had finished with the Museum's, it was time to do the walk around the Battlefield's.
An audio guide is given with your admission ticket, and without this, I think looking at the Battle field would be really boring! To me, it was the least exciting part of our visit here. The walk is easy to follow, and sights are sign-posted and detailed.
I really didn't enjoy this part much at all as there really isn't much to see....
It is a green grassed Battlefield!
ADMISSION IN 2011....
EH Member Cost: Free
Family Ticket: £19.00
This towering Medeival Gatehouse would be about the most magnificent I have seen, and I do believe it is lit at night, now that would be a picture!
This is how we entered the "Abbey Battle site." It's stated the Gatehouse is one of the best! I had to agree with that and also that it looks like a miniature Castle, it is amazing!
There are four round towers with cross-shaped arrow slits. The heads King Harold and King William [not real!] decorate the exterior and the passageway.
We were able to enter the gatehouse to see the Museum of Abbey life and exhibitions illustrating the lives of the monks at Battle Abbey.
The 16th century east wing has the ticket desk and gift shop, and to the right of the gatehouse, is a modern cafe and an exhibition on the Battle of Hastings.
After you buy you ticket, TURN RIGHT. Do not go straight ahead, as it's into a private school
We had the British Heritage Pass, which meant admission for us was free, otherwise it is
EH Member Cost: Free
Family Ticket: £19.00
Opening times are on the website. Please check as they vary during the year.
Battle Abbey was founded to commemorate the Battle of Hasting's. It was dedicated in 1095.
How did this come about?
Long, long ago, in 1066, a Norman duke known as William the Conqueror, defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Now, this victory meant the end of the Saxon period, and the beginning of Norman rule in England.
William went on to conquer many more places in England, including important cities like London and York. This was not enough! The Pope wanted more, so he founded the Benedictine Abbey to atone for the thousands of death's dealt out by him & his Army.
The Foundation was dedicated to St. Martin, but it has been known almost ever since as Battle Abbey.
So, what can we see of the Abbey now....Well, not that much, but there are some beautiful ruins.
Even though this great and first Norman church built in England is entirely gone, I could still view the floor plan of it and the Cloister marked in the grass. It is thought to be the first church with radiating chapels to be built in England and some of these radiating chapels of the 13th-century crypt still stand - although not entire.
The high altar of the Abbey church, was thought to be the spot where King Harold died.
Now, a modern plaque marks the site of Harold's death...........
"THE TRADITIONAL SITE OF THE HIGH ALTAR OF BATTLE ABBEY FOUNDED TO COMMEMORATE THE VICTORY OF DUKE WILLIAM ON 14 OCTOBER 1066. THE HIGH ALTAR WAS PLACED TO MARK THE SPOT WHERE KING HAROLD DIED."
The Monks' dormitory and Latrine's, built in the 12th century by the 1st Abbot have survived.
This is where the Monk's would have slept. Underneath the dormitory I was able to walk and see the rib-vaulted area thought to be a novice's & common room. It has a hooded fireplace still intact.
Lancet windows gave me an idea of the appearance of what would have been, a magnificent Church!
OPEN.....Apr-Sep: daily 10am-6pm........ Oct-Mar: daily 10am-4pm....
Closed Dec 24-26 and Jan 1
Want to be here went the Festival is on? This is a re-enactment of the Battle
October 14 (or closest weekend)
ADMISSION IN 2011....
£7.30 adults; £4.40 children; £6.60 concession
Audio tour included in admission price.
Guided tours available: must book 2 weeks ahead (01424 773 721)
FREE PARKING is available 75 metres from the entrance
ADMISSION IS FREE WITH THE ENGLISH HERITAGE PASS
Lots of event's are held throughout the year, check out the website for details.
battle is a small, compact and lively city that can be explored in a day trip. take a nice walk along the historical trail of the city. including pay a visit to st valery sur somme church and its small nice cemetery. then small paths which will lead you to the flower shops and small church st francis. otherwise, take the trekking to pevensey and rye country walks of 1066 to commemorate battle of hastings.
half ruins of an abbey that not be used anymore in the reign of king henry viii. here still can be found the novice monks chamber, the main building that facing to the 1066 battle field, surrounded by oak trees and several private school which remains us to ... harry potter's hogwart :)
Getting to Battle from London is really easy. Trains run from London to Hastings, stopping in Battle, every hour or so. Its not much of a walk from the train station to the battlefield (I'm assuming thats why you would consider going to Battle). I'm a huge history nut, so I had to make my way there. The battlefield is well presented with lots of information, a good museum (although small), and a nice walking audioguide. I posted photos and a narrative on my travel blog at:
The Battle Abbey was built by William the Conqueror after his success in the Battle of Hastings. Construction ran from 1070 and 1094.
It is unique in that it is located right in the middle of the actual battlefield. In fact you can "stand on the very spot where King Harold was slain". Creepy! You can also visit the ruins of the Abbey.
I am disappointed that I did not have the time to take an audio tour around the Abbey and battlefield, and will endeavour to return again to Battle in the future (and update this tip of course!)
I really enjoyed the audioguide as I strolled around the historic field on a beautiful July day. I appreciated that you could listen to opinions of the battle from the viewpoint of a Norman, a Saxon and Harold's mistress. The audioguide painted a great picture of how the battle unfolded.
As I neared the end of the tour, a group of young school-children descended the hill in paper hats and carrying cardboard shields and weapons. They re-enacted the battle just as it had been described on the audioguide. Priceless!
Like I already described in my tip about the battlefield, you can't spereated the abbey from the battlefield. That means that the ticket you buy gives you access to the abbey and the battlefield. The abbey was ordered to be built by William the conqueror after his victory over Harold Godwinson. It is said the the main altar was built on the same spot where Harold was killed. Consecration of the abbey took place in 1076, but construction and expansion continued during the following centuries. Being the "king's favourite abbey", it enjoyed several privileges at first. But during the reign of Henry VIII it was demolished like many other clerical buildings. Since 1976 is is maintained by the English Heritage.
In the gate house, right to the entrance, you will find a small museum. It shows how the everyday life of the monks was in the abbey. The abbot's great hall, one of the few buildings to survive, is a school since 1918 and not open for visitors. After that, visitors normally start the tour around the battlefield which ends in the ruins of the abbey. This includes the abbey church,. the novices room, the "Harold Stone", the crypt and a couple of other places. The audioguide for this tour, which you will get for free with your admission ticket, also has information about the abbey ruins, but it focuses on the battle and the battlefield.
I spent three hours on the whole tour (abbey and battlefield), but you can reduce that depending on your interests and the way you take through the battlefield. For information about the battlefield, please check out my tip about the battlefield.
Together with the abbey, the battlefield is Battle's most famous attraction. As these two places are historically linked with each other, they are also linked with each other for the visitors. That means: You can't visit one of these places only. That is a good thing as they are both surely worth a visit.
At the entrance, located next to the gate house, you will get an audioguide which looks like club and which you have to carry for some time with you. You will start the battlefield part of the tour in a small building, a short walk away from the entrance to the right side. There, all the events leading to the battle are explained. It is done in a very interesting way, pointing out the different sources, the norman and the saxon one - something I missed in Hastings as well as in Normandy. At the end, you can watch a short video about the battle itself. Then, you will start the audiotour around the battlefield. You can chose between a short walk (along the abbey ruins on Senlac hill where the saxon lines stood) and a long walk (deep into the battlefield). The idea of distinguishing between the norman point of view and the saxon one is kept here too. Panels along your path will not only give you the number to press on the audioguide, but also provide you with some written facts in Europe's three most important languages: English, French and - DUTCH! If you visit the battlefield on a nice summer day like I did, you can lay down on the field while listening to the audioguide. At the end of this tour, you will return to the abbey ruins where you can see the place where Harold Godwinson is said to have died. I spent three hours (battlefield and abbey) there, reading and listening to everything, doing the long walk and enjoying the sun. If you take the short tour, you can reduce your visit to a little less than an hour.
If you want some information about the abbey itself, check out my tip about the abbey.
Many people think the Battle of Hastings took place in Hastings but it actually happened here in Battle on October 14th 1066. William the Conqueror had this place built and it was founded in 1070. You can actually stand on the spot where King Harold died (supposedly) The battlefields are now part of the rolling Sussex countryside and the ruins of the abbey have certainly stood the test of time. There are many features to this place that need to be explored and explained. This can be achieved by the free audio tour that you can get from the pay desk at the entrance. An excellent place to visit. It is now owned by English Heritage.
Of course most people come to Battle to visit the beautiful abbey - built by William the Conquerer (Duke of Normandy) to commemorate his victory over the Saxon King Harold in 1066. You can also walk the battle fields on pleasant days where some weekends re-enactments are staged (you know the kind of thing... bank managers dressed as Norman soldiers and having play fights with big wooden sticks while their wives are baking rock-hard "bread" and make soup out of dandelion leaves in a tent somewhere nearby)
The Abbey is run by English Heritage - much more history about the Battle of Hastings and the Abbey as well as all the info re opening times and entry prices can be found on their website.
With the major attractions of the 1066 battlefield and Battle Abbey, it is easy to overlook this little gem. As the name suggests, it is a local history museum, which is staffed by volunteers and funded by donations. Given it's relatively small size there is a very interesting selection of exhibits here ranging from iron-age tools right through to modern artefacts.
On the day I visited, the lady was very proudly showing me two battle-axe (no pun intended) heads she had just taken possession of.
Definitely worth the small admission fee.