A visit to Winchester, Hampshire’s county town, is a must because this used to be one of the strongest settlements in England.
Its highlight is by far its impressive Cathedral.
Winchester Cathedral is one of the most remarkable and historic cathedrals in the country.
It contains the tomb of Jane Austen, some of England’s earliest kings and spectacular stained-glass windows.
More then 1000 years of history becomes apparent once you step inside the Cathedral.
- The tomb of Jane Austen
One of England’s greatest novelists was buried in the Cathedral in 1817 at the age of 41. You will find the tomb close to the north wall a short way in from the entrance.
- The Winchester Bible
This precious 800-year-old manuscript is the largest and perhaps the finest of all 12th century English Bibles.
- Tournai marble font
The ancient, polished dark stone font, with its carvings of the miracles of St Nicholas, is one of the Cathedral’s greatest treasures.
- The Morley Library
This beautiful 17th-century library houses a collection of rare books bequeathed by Winchester’s Bishop Morley.
- The Crypt
Step down into the crypt where you will find Antony Gormley’s famous sculpture Sound II, a mysterious life-size statue of a man contemplating the water held in his cupped hands.
Winchester City Mill
With a history of over 1000 years, Winchester City Mill is probably the oldest working watermill in the UK.
The City Mill was restored back to full working order in 2004 by the National Trust and it is also the official gateway to the South Downs National Park.
Here you will find a wide selection of information about local walks and attractions found within the South Downs.
There are many nice walks in and around Winchester. We recommend starting with a city walk along all the highlights.
You can extend this walk and follow the daily route John Keats took during his stay in Winchester.
Starting at Winchester Tourist Information Centre, walk in Keats’s footsteps from the city to St Cross, passing through the landscape which inspired his famous ode ‘To Autumn’.
Another pleasant 4-mile circular explores the feature that helped Winchester become a city in the first place – the River Itchen.
The Itchen is a ‘chalk stream’. And that is pretty special because there are only around 210 chalk streams in the world and 160 of them are in England.
South Downs National Park
Just east of Winchester, the South Downs National Park embraces the Itchen Valley.
The South Downs National Park is one of England’s newest National Parks and offers peaceful countryside with rolling hills and panoramic views. It has 3,300km of footpaths, bridleways and byways.
Here you will find walks to the top of rolling hills, through valleys and into pretty villages.
The South Downs most famous walk is the 100-mile South Downs Way. Stretching from Winchester right across to Eastbourne in East Sussex.
The Pilgrims’ Way from Winchester to Canterbury – 153 miles – is perhaps the most well-known of British pilgrimages.
Pilgrims first started making this famous journey from AD1172 from Winchester Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral, where Thomas Becket was buried after his martyrdom two years before.