This peaceful town embraces its enthralling history with museums full of ancient relics and streets lined with medieval architecture.
Be surrounded by Winchester’s past as you stroll down the city’s narrow streets, where the stories of Roman rulers and Saxon kings are interwoven with today’s family-run pubs and elegant Tudor houses. Admire grand cathedrals and mysterious ruins or discover the legend of King Arthur.
In the center of town, Winchester Cathedral provides the perfect first glimpse of this old city. The vast central vault and tall towers are a striking sight, while inside the long nave you will find exquisite carved-oak choir stalls. Venture deeper to view magnificent artwork and one of the few 12th-century bibles left in England.
If the cathedral’s amazing past has got your mind racing, head to the City Museum nearby. Three exhibition spaces guide you from Roman settlement all the way to World War II. Don’t miss the exhibition of ancient coins and the reconstructed Victorian street.
The lively hub of High Street lies to the north of the museum and provides a good chance to stop for some refreshment. Try a local beer or enjoy a roast dinner at one of the friendly pubs.
Visit the Westgate Museum, making sure to step through the only remaining city gate in Winchester, then continue onward to the Great Hall. Formerly part of a superb 11th-century castle, the hall now holds the round table, one of the region’s most important treasures. According to the famous legend, King Arthur would sit here with his 12 knights and discuss battle plans.
Take a short stroll south to view Wolvesey Castle, an impressive landmark that has not stood the test of time so well. Walk through the courtyard and imagine the broken arches and lengths of stone as the grand halls and turrets that once stood here.
Winchester is a 2-hour drive southwest of London. Stay at a luxurious hotel or one of the elegant guesthouses. At the beginning of July the Winchester Hat Fair turns the city into a festival of street theater and music.