South East England – Hampshire

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in south east england

3. Winchester and Winchester Cathedral

Top 10 ten places to visit in South East England – Winchester and Hampshire

Winchester and Winchester Cathedral

Although the presence of a Cathedral affords city status, Winchester is really a small but affluent market town, once capital of England, with a rich medieval and Georgian history. Today Winchester serves as a college town and link between the coastal areas of Southampton and Portsmouth and the busy hinterland.

Under the Romans, Winchester was called Venta Belgarum, and was the fifth most populous town in ancient Britain. After the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, the Saxon King Alfred the Great made Winchester the capital of his kingdom of Wessex in the ninth century.  Winchester then ranked with London in importance for the next two hundred years. After the Battle of Naseby (1665) during the English Civil War, the town began its decline into provinciality.

Winchester Cathedral is one of the main attractions for visitors, and despite its size has rather homely feel, settling gently over its lawns and graveyard. Work was begun in 1079, and finished 300 years later, a process which has produced a building comprising a number of different styles, from early Norman to Perpendicular. With its excellent shop and award-winning restaurant, the Cathedral Visitor Centre is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm every day.

Jane Austen, who lived not far away in Alton, died in Winchester, and is buried in the Cathedral. Her memorial records her simply as the daughter of a clergyman.

Not far behind and south of the Cathedral on College Street, is Winchester College, the oldest public school in England. (Foreign readers – for public school read private school). It was established to help “poor scholars,” by William of Wykenham in 1382, and offers an extremely high standard of education, now mostly to the sons and daughters of the wealthy and privileged.

North of the Cathedral, on Park Avenue, is Winchester School of Art, which has a good reputation as a progressive art college with a conceptual edge. It’s worth enquiring at reception to see if any of the exhibitions and degree shows held there coincides with your visit.

Pubs and restaurants vary, catering mostly either for the student market, or the more affluent residents of the town. If you’re thinking of eating out, it’s probably best to combine a walk round the town with a bit of reconnaissance, and choose a place that suits you and your budget.

Winchester Cathedral Address:
Contact – The Cathedral Office
1 The Close
SO23 9LS
England, UK

Winchester Cathedral Opening Times:
The Cathedral is open to visitors and pilgrims from 8:30am to 6pm every day except Sunday when it closes at 5.30 pm.
Cathedral Visitors’ Centre
October – Refectory Café open 9.30 – 5.00pm, Cathedral Shop open 9.30 -5 .30pm
November 1st – March 1st – Every day Refectory Café open 9:30 to 4.30pm,
Cathedral Shop open 9.30 – 5.00pm

Winchester Cathedral Admission:
Adults  £6.00
Senior Citizens (65 and over)  £4.80
Unbooked Groups (10+) £4.80
Booked groups receive a concession through the Visits Officer
Children under 16 in their families  Free
Unemployed and full-time students/language schools  £3.50

More places to visit and things to do in South East England

Winchester Cathedral location 
Winchester Tourism

Winchester Tourism provides a range of information for those visiting the city.

T  +44 (0)1962 840500

E  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

W  Winchester Tourism

Accommodation and eating out in Winchester

The Wykeham Arms, 75 Kingsgate Street

Forte Brasserie and Tea Rooms, 78 Parchment Street

The Old Vine, 8 Great Minster Street

Loch Fyne, 18 Jewry Street 

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