Towns & Villages
Winchester, Hampshire's historic cathedral city, is one of the oldest settlements in Britain and the ancient capital of the Kingdom of England. Today, Winchester is a fascinating mix of legend, myth, history, and heritage.
As for ancient constructions, the city is dominated by the imposing spire of Winchester Cathedral. Dating back to 1070, it's one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with a stunning nave that seems to stretch on forever. In the north aisle of the nave you'll find the grave of Jane Austen, one of the most enduringly popular literary figures in British history.
King Arthur (whose statue stands in central Winchester) is another of the city's most iconic figures. A 13th Century version of the King's legendary Round Table can be found in Winchester Castle. The castle, built by William the Conqueror in 1067, was all but destroyed through the centuries. However, Henry VIII's impressive Great Hall addition still stands today.
While there's plenty to do in Winchester aside from heritage attractions, the city's careful preservation policy means that even shopping in Winchester means popping in to historic buildings. It makes it a wonderful place to go bargain hunting – whether you're thinking antique or boutique!
Things to see and do in Winchester...
- Marwell Wildlife is one of the best places in the UK to see exotic birds and animals (from tigers and giraffes to meerkats and penguins) in spacious enclosures.
- Two of the most unusual and moving war museums in the UK are found in Winchester. The Gurkha Museum is a fascinating look at the history of the brave Nepalese soldiers, while the King's Royal Hussars' Museum offers an insight into this renowned cavalry regiment.
- Visit the Great Hall – the last remaining structure of Winchester Castle. Here you'll find some exhibitions about the city and castle life, as well as the mock Round Table.
- Go to the Winchester Discovery Centre for a year round programme of exhibitions and events to suit all tastes.
For more information, visit the official tourism website for Winchester.
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A jewel inspired by the chapel of French kings
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