England’s Ancient Capital

Every time I visit Winchester I am in awe of its beauty. It’s a city to mooch around at leisure and admire the 12th century Cathedral, the Castle ruins and the Tudor Houses in the back streets.

Winchester city walls
Wolvesey Castle (Bishop’s Palace) largely 12th century ruins

The Roman settlement of Venta Belgarum was established around AD70. A significant Iron Age tribal settlement of the Belgae, it later became Winchester. Located on the edge of the stunning South Downs in Hampshire, this Ancient Capital of England is famous for the Medieval Winchester Cathedral, home to the 12th century Winchester Bible (the largest surviving English bible in existence, the four volumes have recently been conserved) and a Norman crypt. Close by are the ruins of Wolvesey Castle and the Winchester City Mill, a working 18th-century corn mill. The Great Hall of Winchester Castle houses the medieval round table linked to King Arthur.

Sunlight through the trees, Winchester city
Houses on the River Itchen

There is much to enjoy in Winchester such as the high end shops and restaurants (including Rick Stein, River Cottage Winchester and the new The Ivy Winchester Brassiere) but the most pleasure to be had on a sunny spring afternoon is walking the streets and along the riverside to admire the architecture and the wildlife, like this incredible crane I spotted fishing in the river.

Spotted, a crane fishing on the River Itchen at Winchester

Winchester is just 90 minutes from London by road. Close by is Southampton airport and the cross-Channel ferries at Portsmouth.

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