24 hours in Winchester
You may know that London is the capital of England, but did you know that over 100 years ago, the Capital city was in fact Winchester? With such a prestigious former title, there are some fantastic sights to see and things to do in this ancient city.
We understand that if you are busy studying and learning English, you don’t have that much time, so we have written a quick 24-hour guide for you to enjoy as much of this city as you can.
Step 1: Westgate Museum
As come out of the train station, turn right and head to the Court of justice and the Westgate Museum.
This building is a beautifully refurbished listed monument, the last of the main medieval gates into the city. You can visit the upstairs which is now a museum. Entrance is free. This displays Winchester’s rich history, particularly in the medieval period. There is armour and weapons which you can try on! 😉
In addition, there is a fascinating collection of old weights and measures. If you climb the stairs, you can also have a beautiful view of the high street.
Step 2: The Great Hall
Then, as you come out of the museum, you go straight ahead to the Great Hall.
Have you ever heard the legend of Lancelot, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? Well, if so, you will be happy to hear that the Round Table can actually be seen in the Great Hall!
The Great Hall is one of the last examples of a 13th century aisled hall from the original Winchester Castle built by William the Conqueror. Discover the history and uncover the battles, secrets and trials for terrorism and treason held here. The cost is around £3 and there is also a great gift shop!
Optional visit to the Military Museum.
Do you enjoy finding out about the first and second World Wars? You are sure to find Winchester’s Military Museums very interesting. This is a grouping of six military museums situated close to each other on a historic site close to the city centre of Winchester and next to to the Great Hall. The prices of each museum vary.
Moving on with our tour of Winchester, let’s head to the High Street and see the Buttercross.
Step 3: High street and Buttercross
When you walk down the High-street, you will come across a monument in the shape of a cross. Built in the 15th century, this shows where Winchester’s old market used to be. You can often find Buskers performing at the weekend.
Also, if shopping is something you enjoy, then Winchester High Street is for you. With shops ranging in price, you are sure to find something you like, whether it is a diamond necklace or a postcard for your family back home, Winchester high street is the place to go.
When you finish your shopping spree, you can grab a quick lunch from a market stall and go have a picnic on the grass in front of the Cathedral and admire this towering building.
Step 4: The Cathedral
Dating back over 1000 years, the cathedral is one of the largest in Europe. We recommend that you go early in the day to avoid the crowds of people who flock to see this incredible place. Another reason to see this magnificent building is the fact the great British author, Jane Austen is buried here. What’s more, with your student card you receive a discount and on a Sunday it is completely free.
Step 5: River Itchen and Weirs Walk
Why not have walk along the River Itchen. You can go across the City bridge which used to be the crossing place to enter the city. You can see lots of beautiful flowers and watch the wildlife. On your way down the river, you might want to stop at the Wolvesey Castle. It is open daily 10am-5pm from April until November. You can visit this ruin for free and learn more about the Bishop’s life and imagine how this palace would have looked like in the 12th century.
You are now at the bottom of town.
In front of you, stands King Alfred’s statue.
Two options arise. You can either go and enjoy a pint in one of Winchester’s Pubs (The BlackBoy, Bishop on the Bridge, Alfie’s, etc..) or visit the Old Winchester Mill.
On the way back to the top of town through the High Street, you will see the major’s house and park, the Guildhall and tourist information on your left.
Step 6: Theatre Royal Winchester
In the evening, why not visit this Edwardian-style, 400-seat theatre. You can watch a range of shows from a Shakespeare play to a modern ballet show. Click here to see if there is a play or Pantomime that might interest you!
However long you are here, Winchester is well worth a visit and we hope our advice will inspire you to visit for 24 hours.
Looking for something different in Winchester in the summer? If so, check out Winchester’s Hat Fair. You can find out information about this fantastic festival in our previous blog post.