Winding streets and beautiful architecture make Winchester one of the most appealing places in the South Downs. Whether you decide to base yourself here for a week or two or swing by for a weekend break you’ll find plenty to enjoy, and exploring the incredible history of what is arguably one of the most important cities in England’s past is a great place to start.
Iron Age hill forts to great halls from the Dark Ages
First on your list might be a stroll up St. Giles’ hill, where you’ll see the grand swoop of Winchester’s Medieval and Georgian architecture, all laid out to a Saxon street plan – it really gives a sense of the layers of history that have built this beautiful city.
Old Winchester Hill is one of the most impressive Iron Age hill forts in the country, and the perfect place to begin your discoveries. Whiz forward to 871 AD and you’ll discover the legend of King Arthur the Great and his round table in The Great Hall, one of the finest surviving halls of thirteenth-century England. You’ll learn about the magic of Arthur and how his legend has inspired writers throughout history, as well as being able to walk the long gallery, adorned with heroes and villains of the hall’s past, before relaxing amongst the herbs and flowers of Queen Eleanor’s Garden.
Winchester’s role in the history of England continues with Winchester Cathedral. Some of our most famous kings are buried here, including King Arthur himself and King Cnut. The cathedral is home to the longest medieval nave in England, and is home to a wealth of beautiful artefacts including an illuminated bible. There are a host of things to do to enhance your understanding of this magnificent building, including guided tours, tours specially designed for children and the excellent Kings and Scribes exhibition which charts the birth of modern England.
Whether you’re visiting Winchester as a starting point for walking the South Downs way, dropping in on your way to one of our lovely seaside towns like Brighton or Eastbourne or simply planning a relaxing break away, you’ll love spending time discovering the legends and magic of this stunning city.