Portchester Castle opens up for ‘virtual’ tours

Picture: Habibur Rahman

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ONE of Hampshire’s most historic castles has been bought to life in an online form for the first time.

Portchester Castle is among 29 of the country’s most famous sites which are now available to view in digital form thanks to a new partnership between English Heritage and Google Arts & Culture.

Picture: English Heritage/Google

Picture: English Heritage/Google

Using Street View and gigapixel cameras, people will be able to enjoy a virtual tour of the castle including 360 degree views.

The tour, including previously hard-to-see areas of the castle, is aimed at an international audience who might not be able to visit in person.

Matt Thompson, head of collections at English Heritage, said: ‘In our new role as a charity, English Heritage is looking for innovative ways to open our sites to the public and share their fascinating stories with them.

‘Now thanks to Google Arts & Culture’s technology, we’ve been able to bring people closer to our historic masterpieces than ever before, open up our storehouses to a global audience, and showcase hitherto unseen artefacts.’

Picture: English Heritage/Google

Picture: English Heritage/Google

The virtual tour includes still images and 360 views of Portchester Castle, allowing people to use the mouse cursor to explore more of the historic site.

It tells the story of how the castle was built by the Romans in the late 3rd century AD, and how in the 17th century the site was used as an prisoner-of-war depot until the end of the Napoleonic wars.

The castle was taken into state guardianship in the 1920s.

Amit Sood, director of Google Arts & Culture, said: ‘England has such a rich, diverse, and interesting heritage - spanning literally centuries.

Picture: English Heritage/Google

Picture: English Heritage/Google

‘English Heritage has done such an amazing job in preserving iconic art and sites, allowing us a glimpse into what life was like in a different time.

‘Google Arts & Culture are proud to partner with English Heritage and use the power of technology to share these wonders and stories with a global audience.’

Among the other sites covered are Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, where King Arthur is believed to have been conceived, amnd the 17th century ‘Elysium’ ceiling at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire.

The partnership is the first time Google Arts & Culture has worked with a heritage organisation, and the first time it has worked with an institution covering multiple sites.

Picture: English Heritage/Google

Picture: English Heritage/Google

To see the virtual tours click here.