Take an hour train ride from London Waterloo station and you can be in this historic town in the south of England. The Romans established a town here around AD 40 and when they left four centuries later, Winchester became the capital city for the Angelo Saxons.
Winchester was home to King Alfred the Great and contains an actual Round Table—a table made in medieval times that imitates King Arthur’s legendary table. Winchester has a fascinating history, plus all the modern trappings.
My family lives not far from Winchester and it had been a few years since I played tourist there. So, I spent a morning exploring the city (which is steeped in history) – wandering down the little side streets, walking around the Cathedral, visiting the museums and art galleries, and doing a little retail therapy. Don’t forget to give yourself time to sit and grab a coffee and pastry in one of the many coffee shops… locally baked cakes – delicious!
After your cuppa, you can explore the secret gardens at the Great Hall and the Cathedral. Then head out to visit the City Mill or walk down the path along the River Itchen. The countryside around Winchester is inviting and a great place to breathe in the countryside air and admire the English countryside.
Not to be missed:
- Winchester Cathedral – a huge, stunning Gothic cathedral which honours Saint Swithun, the Cathedral’s patron saint, and other noteworthy figures. Jane Austen in buried here. In the Cathedral crypt, you’ll the statue of a man contemplating the water held in his cupped hands which was created by British sculptor Antony Gormley. The queue for tickets can take some time, so be prepared to wait.
(For some of you, the name of the cathedral may conjure up an odd, bouncy melody in your head. That’s because the song “Winchester Cathedral” was a Top-Ten hit in the U.K. and #1 song in the U.S. in 1966. And I imagine it’s now an earworm for you…)
- The Great Hall – houses the ancient Round Table that mimics Arthurian legend
- Statue of King Alfred the Great
- Winchester City Mill
- Walk along the River Itchen
- Gilbert White’s House – just outside Selbourne, a 30-minute drive from Winchester
- Jane Austen House Museum – in Chawton, a 20-minute drive from Winchester
Places to eat:
- Loch Fyne
- Kyoto Kitchen
- River Cottage Kitchen
- The Ivy Winchester Brasserie
- Chococo Chocolate House