Winchester

To be honest, we did not know much about Winchester. I friend of ours has been a student at the School of Art in the past. She visited Winchester last month and we saw some nice pics on Facebook. So on a beautiful Sunday in October we decided to visit the city too. It is about 1 hour by train from London Paddington but with a change at Reading it took a bit longer. It is a very nice old city. A lot of shops, different kinds of restaurants and cafes. The city has a university, musea, a cathedral and many old historic buildings.

We visited the Winchester old mill that is still working today where we bought some flour. Not sure what to do with it but I will keep you informed on this blog.

Winchester

After climbing to the St Giles hill for a panoramic views over the city and the hills and taking some pictures we descended to visit the Wolvesey Palace. The Palace was build in the 12th century by Bishop Henry of Blois. For centuries, the palace was an important residence of the powerful Winchester Bishops and hosted many royal visitors. The surviving ruin, next to the Cathedral, are free to visit.

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After checking out the Cathedral from the outside we decided not to go in but have a drink. The Cathedral is very famous and a lot of visits come to see it. I am told that it should be one of the most beautiful Cathedrals. Next time we go in but the weather was still so very nice that we decided to have cup of tea on a terrace at a small square.

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At the end of the afternoon we were looking at a city plan to see if there was anything we had missed and discovered that there was The Great Hall and Round Table. Round Table? The one of King Arthur?? Lets check it out. To our surprise we were looking at the Round Table of King Arthur and his knights. The wood had been checked and it appears to be from that period. I can image that not many households in those days had a table that big and heavy, so it would be very logical that this is the real thing. It has been repainted in a later phase and has been housed for over 700 years in the Great Hall.

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Winchester is really a great city to visit for a day. Or stay a few days and explore the suroundings.

There are within the town centre several musea and buildings to visit. The medieval Westgate served as a debtors’ prison for over 150 years. You can even read some of the prisoners ‘graffiti’. The city had many royal visitors. A statue can be seen of the significant royal visitor, King Alfred the Great.

There is a zoo and many opportunities for country walks.

The city and its surrounded district have inspired a wealth of literary classics. In the 18th century, Winchester was the leading medical centre outside London and this was one of the reasons Austen moved to the city in 1817. She lived her final days at 8 College Street before she was laid to rest in the cathedral. John Keats’ ode ‘To Autumn’ was written during his stay in Winchester in September 1819.

Winchester is a very popular tourist attraction. Especially from 20 November to 21 December. During that periode the Christmas Market runs daily (from 10:00 to 18:00). It is inspired by traditional German markets and the exhibitors are selected for their unique, high quality and interesting products. It is a great place to buy unique British gifts. And their will be enough choices of food stalls too. Plus, their is a Christmas ice rink next to the Cathedral.

It will be very busy during the weekends so if you can, I would suggest to go on a weekday.

For more information go to visit Winchester.

 

 

 

 

 

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