Cover: River Itchen flowing beneath the City Mill in Winchester, Hampshire, England
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull
Winchester, England is a charming city in the county of Hampshire about an hour southwest of London and was our first stop on our 45 Day U.K. and Ireland Roam About.
Winchester is a filled with gardens, parks, flowers, and rivers, and was one of the most beautiful cities we visited in England. A wonderful spot for spending a few days or longer, as we did, Winchester is highly-walkable, has a vibrant food scene, is home to many events, has a rich historical past and, of course, is the location of the magnificent Winchester Cathedral.
Dating back to 150BC, Winchester’s beginnings have been traced to an Iron Age settlement just outside the current city. Over the centuries, Winchester has been home to many historic figures including King Alfred the Great, who rebuilt the city after the Dark Ages and made it the capital, St Swithun, Bishop of Winchester and patron saint of Winchester Cathedral, and the world-famous novelist, Jane Austen, who is buried in Winchester Cathedral.
While one might think a historical city so closely tied to a cathedral might be a bit stuffy, but Winchester is not. The people are friendly, the festivals lively, and the city has an appreciation for life, beauty, and culture, in addition to treasuring its heritage.
Thomas Thetcher headstone found outside the Winchester Cathedral. According to its inscription, he died of a fever after drinking a small beer when hot. Winchester, England Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Top points of interest in Winchester, England
Wolvesey Castle ruins
Wolvesey Castle was the residence of the bishops of Winchester and today’s remains date back to the 12th-century palace of Bishop Henry of Blois, brother of King Stephen. The last grand gala held at the palace was Queen Mary and Philip of Spain’s wedding banquet.
The Great Hall and the legend of King Arthur’s roundtable
Dating back to the 13th century, the Great Hall is what remains of Winchester Castle and is home to the iconic symbol, King Arthur’s Round Table. The table is believed to have been built in the 13th century and painted as it currently appears for Henry VIII.
Winchester City Mill
Winchester City Mill is located along the River Itchen in the center of Winchester and is the oldest working water mill in England – the first recording of the site listed it as a corn mill in 1086. Visitors can experience the power of the River Itchen as it passes through Mill and participate in hands-on activities to gain an understanding of the milling process.
Founded in 1079 and consecrated in 1093, Winchester Cathedral has the longest nave and overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. An extraordinary cathedral, Winchester Cathedral is the pride of Winchester and a centerpiece for the charming city.
Throughout the fifteen centuries of its existence, Winchester Cathedral has been the site of numerous historical events including the funerals of King Harthacanute in 1042 and King William II of England in 1100, the coronation of Henry the Young King in 1172, and the marriages of King Henry IV of England and Joanna of Navarre in 1403 and Queen Mary I of England and King Philip II of Spain in 1554.
Today, Winchester Cathedral celebrates over 1,500 holy services, hosts over 130,000 visitors and has over 61,000 attend concerts, cultural events and festivals, and seasonal celebrations each year. During our week in Winchester, we were fortunate to attend a wonderful organ recital by Geoffrey Morgan, Organist at Christchurch Priory.
Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.