Winchester home of castles and cathedrals

There was a song that was a hit way back in by the New Vaudeville Band called Winchester Cathedral, it was such a catchy tune that it even went on to win a Grammy for Best Contemporary Song of the year, which was ironic as the song was sung in 1920s style, which was part of its charm.

Anyway, Winchester Cathedral was such a catchy song that I thought that any cathedral that had such a good song written about it must be a pretty good place.  What I didn’t realise then is that the real Winchester Cathedral is indeed a marvellous building, and should be put onto anyone’s must-visit list of things to do in England.

Winchester Cathedral is indeed imposing.  It is the longest gothic cathedral in Europe, and one of the largest cathedrals in Europe.  Work on the cathedral began in 1079, and construction didn’t really end until the 16th century, so it was a long while in the making.  Many prominent people are buried within the cathedral, including the author Jane Austen.

However, visiting the cathedral is not the only reason for visiting this historic town. Winchester is an ancient place that is located not far from the south coast in the heart of Hampshire. During the 10th and 11th centuries, Winchester was the capital city of England and was home to several monarchs, including King Alfred the Great.  At the top of the modern city you will find the Great Hall, which is one of only two surviving buildings of Winchester Castle.    

Winchester was built on the banks of the River Itchen, and today there are many pleasant walks along the riverbank.  Take the walk an you will come across City Mill, a water mill which, after a recent restoration, is now back in action grinding corn into flour. It is not known exactly when the mill was originally built, although it is at least 900 years old as it features in the Domesday Book of 1086.

The city of Winchester does have quite a beguiling charm; it is a place that can be admired for its charming beauty, and one that will give the visitor an insight into England’s colourful history.  From its early days as an iron age settlement to earning its place as a modern town, there is much to enjoy in Winchester.

Today, Winchester has a population of around 40,000 and has retained much of its historical charm. Benefiting from its colourful and ever-present past, it boasts a wealth of attractions and at just one hour by train from London, it makes for a great day out.

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