JUN 20,2016 - JUN 20,2016 (1 DAYS)
Main Attractions: High Street, Winchester Cathedral, Kingsgate, Winchester College, Wolvesey Palace, St. Cross Hospital, The Great Hall (Winchester Castle), The Gurkha Museum, Peninsula Square, The Westgate, The Guildhall, Abbey Gardens, Statue of Alfred the Great.
Distance: 15 km. Duration: One BUSY day. Weather: Avoid rainy days. There is a section of 2 km. along the Itchen river water meadows.
Introduction: I chose to base at Southampton. Winchester is approximately 100km (62 miles) south west of London, 30.6km (19 miles) south-west of Basingstoke and 22.5km (14 miles) north of Southampton, its closest city. It is an easy, convenient 20-30 minutes ride with the train from Southampton Central station. The city’s location makes it a popular commuter destination, close to the M3 motorway and just one hour from London by train. At the heart of central Hampshire sits the medieval city of Winchester, England’s Ancient Capital. The city has a rich royal heritage and was once home to King Alfred the Great. His heritage is covered in this blog. Winchester is also famous for the legendary Arthurian Round Table. A striking sight, the table has been housed for over 700 years in The Great Hall - the only remaining part of Winchester Castle, once the centre of court and government life. At the centre of the city sits the impressive Winchester Cathedral, which has the longest nave of any Cathedral in Europe. It is here that author Jane Austen was laid to rest and next to her grave is a permanent exhibition dedicated to her memory. Winchester has a popular café culture which is evident around every corner. Food is a popular theme in the city and it hosts the country’s largest farmers’ market. Winchester is a pleasant, easy town to live in. even at night. In the evening visitors can discover the city’s nightlife. The streets come alive once the sun goes down.
1 day in Wincester itinerary:
We exit the Winchester Railway Station through the tunnel with our face eastward to the City Road. After 75 m. we turn RIGHT (south) to the Jewry Street. Walk 320 m. and turn LEFT (east) to the pedestrianized High Street. The city’s medieval roots can be seen along the High Street and the pretty narrow, cobbled streets and historic buildings which adorn the busy High Street. Winchester’s pedestrian High Street is the hub of the city. It stretches from King Alfred’s statue (east end of High Street) up towards the Westgate. Almost immediately, as you enter the H/S, you see the famous clock (the junction with St. Thomas Street, a few steps further on your right) :
The next road to the right (south) is Little Minster St. Here stands the Winchester Buttercross. This is also known as the City Cross. It is a type of market cross associated with English market towns and dating from medieval times. Its name originates from the fact that the Buttercrosses were located at the middle of the past market sites. The fresh produce was laid out and displayed on the circular stepped bases of the cross. The people from neighboring villages would gather to buy locally produced butter, milk and eggs around these monuments. You can find Buttercrosses in all the Cathedral cities in South England. Their design varies from place to place, but they are often covered by some type of roof to offer shelter, although the roofs were mostly added at a much later date than the original cross they cover. The City Cross (Butter Cross) dates back to the 15th century and is now a scheduled ancient monument. The four figures on the Cross are believed to be William of Wykeham, King Alfred, St John the Evangelist, and former mayor, Lawrence de Annehester:
Once the Romans' east to west route through the city, the pedestrianized Winchester High Street is home to a wealth of buildings and shops, many of them with delightful Regency and Elizabethan bow-fronted facades and windows. You can find here many well-known coffee shops and market stalls selling local produce and accompanied with live music. The High Street provides a lively thoroughfare - always been the commercial heart of the town.
Immediately to the right of the Buttercross is an archway and narrow passage leading to Great Minster Street and the famous Winchester Cathedral precincts. Winchester's major landmark is Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the distinction of having the longest nave and overall length of all Gothic cathedrals in Europe. Once the most prominent royal church in Anglo-Saxon England, the Normans asserted themselves in their newly conquered Kingdom to rebuild it in their own style (the vaults of the Crypt are all that remains) before it underwent several changes to become the cathedral you see today. There are 300,000 visitors annually, including pilgrims, tourists, families and school groups.
The cathedral was founded in 642 and the building became known as the Old Minster. It became part of a monastic settlement in 971. Saint Swithun was buried nearby, and, later, in it, before being moved to the new Norman cathedral. THe mortuary chests, inside, said to contain the remains of Saxon kings such as King Eadwig of England, first buried in the Old Minster, and his wife Elfgifu, are in the present cathedral. The Old Minster was demolished in 1093, immediately after the consecration of its successor. The legend of St Swithun (a rather obscure Bishop of Winchester / Saint who performed but one recorded miracle in his lifetime during the 800's) originates in Winchester - according to the legend, the saint's remains were moved against his dying wishes from their final resting place in the grounds of the cathedral to the inner sanctum, whereupon it proceeded to rain for 40 days as a sign of his displeasure. Now, if it rains on the saint's day (15th July), it is said to herald another 39 days of rain !
Important events which took place at Winchester Cathedral include: Funeral of King Harthacanute (1042),
Funeral of King William II of England (1100),
Coronation of Henry the Young King and his queen, Marguerite (1172),
Second coronation of Richard I of England (1194),
Marriage of King Henry IV of England and Joanna of Navarre (1403),
Marriage of Queen Mary I of England and King Philip II of Spain (1554).
Visiting the vast Winchester Cathedral is like stepping back through fifteen centuries of ecclesiastical English history. A place of worship for over 900 years, Winchester's world-famous cathedral is as remarkable for its hidden treasures as it is for its spectacular architecture. Here, in the longest medieval nave in Europe, you will find outstanding works of art alongside the tombs of Jane Austen, Izaak Walton and the early English kings. The Winchester Bible is widely recognized as the finest of all the great 12th century bibles due to its size and illumination, while the equally impressive Sound II statue by Antony Gormley stands in the crypt.
Cathedral Guides offer tours of the Cathedral each hour from 10.00 – 15.00 and tours of the crypt at 10.30, 12.30 and 14.30 from Monday to Saturday. Evensong held at 17.30 Monday – Saturday and 15.30 Sunday. Occasionally the Cathedral may need to close for special services and events. All temporary closures are listed in the Cathedral website. Prices: Adult £7.95, Concession £5.95, Student £4.45, Free entry for children visiting with family. An admission fee has been charged for visitors to enter the cathedral since March 2006. Visitors may request an annual pass for the same price as a single admission. The Cathedral restaurant is an elegant place, beyond the Cathedral Shop and behind an ancient flint wall opposite the Cathedral. It has large terrace with partial Cathedral views and pretty walled garden. Open: APR – DEC: everyday 9.30 – 17.00, JAN – MAR: everyday 9.3 – 16.30. Not cheap.
Exterior: This cathedral is impressively large, the longest not only in England but in Europe as a whole. The exterior, apart from the modified windows, gives the impression of a massive Norman building and indeed, it is the longest medieval church in the world. However, the west front is now Perpendicular, with its huge window filled with fragments of medieval glass.
Northern facade. The brick paths trace the foundations of Old Minster built-in 634 and demolished in 1093:
Western facade. The Gothic window which was destroyed during the English Civil War was rebuilt in 1660 using the shattered glass from around the Cathedral:
The flying buttresses of the Cathedral are a Gothic characteristic of the building. Flying buttresses keep the walls of the nave from bowing outwards:
Interior: Immediately, as you step in towards the main nave - you see the Jane Austen tomb. The novelist Jane Austen died in Winchester on 18 July 1817 and is buried in the cathedral. Her gravestone can be seen on the flooring of the north side of the nave:
Also buried in Winchester Cathedral are the bones of many Saxon kings: King Eadwig of England, first buried in the Old Minster, and his wife Elfgifu, the remains of the Viking conqueror Canute and his wife, Emma, and the remains of William Rufus (William II), son of William the Conqueror. The Kings originally had their own tombs, but in the 1650s Cromwell's men, world class destroyers of churches, smashed them up and threw away the bony contents. Much later, in the late 1520s, bone fragments and other stuff collected by loyal citizens, were distributed amongst six mortuary chests, of which four originals remain (the other two are later replacements):
Mortuary chest on wall, labelled with Canute's name:
Tomb of Cardinal Beaufort:
Mortuary Chests in Lady Chapel:
The soaring Perpendicular Gothic nave of Winchester Cathedral, the longest in England, is the highlight of the building:
The font – the "most famous" of the Tournai fonts (type of baptismal font made from blue black limestone during the 12th and early 13th centuries in and around the town of Tournai in Belgium by local masons) in England is the only font in the cathedral, and you can find it on the north side of the nave. It illustrates scenes from the life of St Nicholas of Myra on two faces, with three roundels of birds on the third and a roundel of a quadreped with birds on either side on the fourth:
Winchester Cathedral is famous for its chantry chapels. A total of seven, all in different styles, were added between the 14th and 16th centuries. This is more than any other English cathedral, reflecting Winchester Cathedral's great power, wealth and royal connections. The two earliest are in the nave. That of William of Edington, Bishop of Winchester 1346-66. Edington served as both Treasurer and Chancellor of England, and was Bishop during the period when the Black Death ravaged England. Edington initiated the remodeling of the nave into its current Perpendicular form, and the triple porch that still fronts the building. His alabaster effigy is one of our finest medieval sculptures:
William of Wykeham's soaring monument was built at the same time as his reconstructed nave:
The remaining four chantry chapels stand in the retrochoir. Cardinal Henry Beaufort (1404-47) chose a site next to the final shrine of St Swithun:
A statue of Joan of Arc was erected when she was canonized as a saint by the Pope in 1923. The statue stands outside the Lady Chapel and faces the Chancery Chapel of Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, who condemned her to death by burning at the stake in Rouen in 1431:
On a corresponding position on the north side is the chantry chapel of William Waynflete (1447-86), who was founder of Magdalen College, Oxford:
The chapel of Richard Fox (1501-28) was built during his lifetime, on the south side of the platform behind the high altar. The aged, blind bishop is said to have spent much time here in prayer and meditation. His chapel is a marvelous example of the stone-carver's art. The small statues are modern; the original figures of saints were destroyed at the Reformation. The Bishop's 'cadaver' effigy facing the south aisle reminds the passer-by of the transient nature of life:
On the north side of the platform, Bishop Gardiner's Chantry Chapel is an amazing hybrid of English late Gothic and Continental Renaissance style deriving ultimately from Fontanebleau. Stephen Gardiner (1531-55) was the last important Roman Catholic bishop of Winchester, during the reign of Mary Tudor (Queen Mary I). He officiated at her marriage to Philip of Spain, which took place in Winchester Cathedral. Other, smaller memorials tell their own fascinating story.
Beneath the tower-arch of the north transept of Winchester Cathedral, sits the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher. It dates from the 12th century:
The recently refurbished 'Fishermen's Chapel' in the south transept is the burial place of Izaak Walton, who died in 1683, and was the author of The "Compleat Angler":
Sir George Gilbert Scott's imposing 19th-century monument to Bishop Wilberforce (son of the social reformer) stands in the south transept:
the choir still has its fourteenth-century wooden choir stalls, with some delightful medieval carving in the paneling. Many of the choir stall seats are misericords - mercy seats - designed to offer support to monks who had to stand through long services. The Winchester collection of misericords is one of the largest in England. The open-work choir screen dates from 1875 and is by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Although Scott based his designs on earlier ones, his work here was criticized at the end of the period:
In the retrochoir, at the far end of the Cathedral, is a beautifully carved female figure known as Ecclesia. This large statue was unearthed in the cathedral grounds and despite the fact that it's head has been lost, it is considered one of the best 13th century carvings in the UK:
The main Victorian work in the cathedral was the restoration of the Great Screen, an ornately carved stone screen behind the high altar. It is a collaborative effort involving such big names as G. F. Bodley, who designed the crucifix; Thomas Nicholls (William Burges's trusted sculptor), who sculpted eight of the central statues, including the Virgin Mary; and the London firm of Farmer & Brindley, which executed the crucifix. Amongst the grand total of fifty-six statues is one of Queen Victoria herself. The Great Screen was finally dedicated in March 1899. Don't miss the choir stalls featuring flowers and plants, owls and monkeys, dragons, knights and green men:
The pious Swithun, Bishop of Winchester in the mid 9th century was originally buried (862) in a humble grave in the open between the tower of St. Martin and the Cathedral Church of the Old Minster in Winchester. This original grave, along with the minster itself, was excavated by Martin Biddle in the 1960s. Today, a modern shrine stands in the usual spot reserved for a saint's relics behind the High Altar: sandwiched between the chantry chapels of Bishops Waynflete and (Cardinal) Beaufort. This was certainly the site of St. Swithun's Shrine at the time of its demolition in 1538:
Tower tour is possible only in very specific times: JAN - MAY, OCT - NOV: WED 14.15, SAT 11.30 and 14.15, JUN - SEP: MON, WED, FRI 14.15, SAT 11.30, 14.15. Duration: 1.5 hours Price: £6. Tickets available from the Entrance Desk. You climb 215 steps to the top of the tower to experience magnificent views across Winchester and the county around. You may access the nave roof with its huge wood beams and see the bell ringing room and the great Cathedral bells. The tour ending on the roof, with magnificent views of the town and surrounding countryside:
The Cathedral's crypt, was and, still is, frequently flooded., It houses a statue by Antony Gormley, called "Sound II", installed in 1986, and a modern shrine to Saint Swithun. The mysterious statue contemplates the water held in cupped hands. Guided tours: MON – SAT at 10.30, 12.30 and 14.30. Duration: 20 minutes Price: Included in admission. Tickets available from the Entrance Desk. During the wet winter months the crypt can flood and, frequently, guided tours are canceled:
The crypt of Winchester Cathedral:
In 1905 a team of about 150 workmen set out to deal with the problematic Cathedral foundations once and for all. The current wooden foundations were rotting away beneath the Cathedral and part of the building was beginning to subside. William Walker, a deep-sea diver, toiled in darkness below the walls of the Cathedral for nearly six years in order to replace the foundations. Near the entrance to the crypt - there is also a bust of William Walker, the deep-sea diver who worked underwater in the crypt between 1906 and 1911 (King George V era), and was, actually saving the whole cathedral, underpinning the nave and shoring up the walls:
The Winchester Cathedral Bible is on show as part of a temporary exhibition in the north transept. It is not possible to see all four volumes of The Winchester Bible. Just one volume is presented to the public. The Winchester Bible is the largest and finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles. A single scribe wrote out its text in Latin, while In contrast, the illuminations reflect the work of at least six different hands. Although many of the illuminations remain unfinished, the text itself is complete.
As we exit the Cathedral - we head to our next destination: the Pilgrims' School, 3 The Close, Winchester. From the western edge of the Cathedral complex there is an asphalted path - the Dome Alley which leads, for 180 m. south-west to the school, or, ask locals about the best path to. The school hall contains England's oldest surviving wood double hammer-beamed roof, which used to accommodate the pilgrims traveling to the cathedral. Its official date of establishment is unknown but historical records indicate that choristers of Winchester Cathedral's renowned choir have been educated in the Winchester Cathedral's Close as early the 7th century. The school moved to its present site in 1931. The main building, redesigned by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th Century, is on the site of a former Roman villa, and includes a medieval hall and barn. The Pilgrims' School also educates young choristers of the Winchester College Chapel Choir:
The Pilgrim's School is surrounded by pretty wooden houses. DO NOT MISS them:
From the formal (and closed) entrance to the Pilgrims' School - head west toward Dome Alley, 35 m. Turn left, still along, Dome Alley, 65 m. Continue onto St Swithun St and the Kingsgate is on the left. Kingsgate is one of two surviving medieval gates to the city of Winchester, England (the other is the Westgate - see below). The name was first recorded in 1148. The gate is on, or near, the site of one of the Roman gates to the city, and was the entrance to the royal palace before the Cathedral Close was enclosed in the 10th century. The present gate is probably 14th century, with 18th-century pedestrian walkways. This delightful area of Kingsgate is rich in heritage and charm and is one of the city's best kept secrets. Part of the fabric of the old city walls, the historic streets of this quiet corner of Winchester are best wandered lazily, giving time to browse the old book and print shops and much loved gift shop. We recommend to stop at the Wykeham Arms, an 18th Century coaching inn offering excellent food, log fires and local ales. It is immediately behind the gate, on your left (south):
St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate is a very small church atop the arch of Kingsgate. The interior is very plain, with whitewashed walls and an unadorned wooden ceiling:
Walking around the Cathedral, in the small alleys - residing south-west to south-east from the mighty building is a pure delight:
Opposite Wykeham Arms starts the College Street (from west to east). We take this road and walk along it with our face to the east. In College Street # 8 - Jane Austen died:
College Street, with its views of the medieval wall encircling the cathedral precincts, leads to Wolvesey Palace (see below). From there, tourists can see the remains of a bishop's palace (rebuilt by Wren), pass the ruins of the castle and enjoy the attractive Abbey Gardens, relics of a 9th century abbey founded by King Alfred's wife. It also leads to the King Alfred memorial in Broadway, and to the bridge over the River Itchen:
Continuing walking along this pleasant road and you see, on your right, the complex of Winchester College buildings. Regularly, the college is closed to the public. But, guided tours can be arranged in very specific times, depending on the period of your visit through the year. Please look at their web site: http://www.winchestercollege.org/guided-tours or Tel : +44(0) 1962 621209 or Email : Enterprises@wincoll.ac.uk. The guided tours are quite limited in their scope but include brilliant explanations on a magnificent buildings and grounds. The College is the oldest in the country still on it's original site. Winchester College was founded in 1382 and has a close association with New College in Oxford. Opened in 1394, two of the college's original houses, Flint Court and Chamber Court, have been perfectly preserved, as has Seventh Chamber, the oldest schoolroom in the country. The guided tour includes the chapel (!), dining room & a common room used by the boarders. A new museum was opened in Sept 2016. Do your best to reserve a guided tour and do not miss the college's chapel:
In the end of College street there is a wide pitch with Pilgrim's School children playing there:
In the end of the street we turn left (north), on the further entrance. A tarmac path is leading to the ruins of Wolvesey Palace - the home of Bishop Henry. Wolvesey Castle (Old Bishops' Palace) is an English Heritage property that includes the ruins of what was once a fortified palace and the chief residence of the Bishops of Winchester. In 1554 Queen Mary and Philip II of Spain held their wedding breakfast in the East Hall:
With our BACK to the ruined palace we cross the College Street, continue walk along College Walk, turn right and immediately left and continue walking SOUTHWARD (direct) along the east side of water meadows and river Itchen. It is a 2 km. pleasant walk to St. Cross Hospital. There are signs pointing to the hospital. On our way we cross a road and follow a path leading to Clarendon Way. From this point of St. Cross and St. Faith Meadows (there is a sign) - we have still 800 m. more to the ancient hospital. On your left is the Catharine Hill with its 3rd century fortress overlooking the Winchester town:
Quite probably that you'll feel unsafe in this solitary path. But it is definitely safe. The path along the river is recommended by locals and is the best way to connect the northern parts of Winchester, for pedestrians, with the southern ones. Good chance that you'll meet cyclists or young walkers on your way along the water meadows. At the end of the path there are kissing gates. Turn left to the the ancient St. Cross Hospital.
St. Cross Church (Chapel) (its back side) from the water meadows path:
Formally, called: Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty and situated 2 km. south of Winchester's city center, England's oldest almshouse was founded in 1132 by Henry of Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror, for 13 "poor and pious men". It is the oldest charitable institution in the UK. It is described as "England's oldest and most perfect almshouse. It is also the largest medieval almshouse in Britain. Now, it is a living community of 25 brothers. Brothers must be single, widowed or divorced, and over 60 years of age. Preference is given to those in most need. They belong to either of two charitable foundations: those belonging to the Foundation of the Hospital of St Cross (founded in about 1132) wear black robes with a silver cross and square academic caps; those belonging to the Order of Noble Poverty (founded in 1445) wear red/magenta robes and trencher hats. They are sometimes called the "Black Brothers" and the "Red Brothers". Their homes are grouped around an inner courtyard, entered through a gatehouse. The 15th century Hall of the Brothers and the kitchen, dating from a later period, should be visited, as should the chapel. Upon exiting, visitors can request the traditional Wayfarers' Dole (knocking at the door of the Porters Lodge, and requesting the Dole): this is a horn of beer and a morsel of bread given to any visitor who requests it. You could consider this site a retirement home, perhaps, more than a hospital in the modern sense. In the outer quad there is a Tea Room in the Hundred Men’s Hall. In medieval times up to a hundred poor men from the surrounding area were given food here each day. In fine weather visitors can also take tea and coffee at tables on the lawn. In the spirit of the charity, the tea room is staffed by volunteers, continuing a long tradition of local good will towards the Hospital. Prices: adult - £4.50, concessions - £4:
The site of St Cross Hospital consists of multiple buildings centered around a smaller, outer quadrangle and a larger, inner quadrangle. You enter through the outer gate (which is from the 16th century) and enter the smaller quadrangle. On the south side you’ll see the 100 Man Brewhouse (14th century); to the north is the kitchen and guest wing (15th century). Directly ahead you’ll see the Beaufort Tower, which stands 3-storeys and dates from 1450; the Beaufort Tower used to the quarters for the master of the almshouse. Once you pass under the Beaufort Tower, you have to pay your entrance fee at the Porter’s Lodge. This is also where the Wayfarer’s Dole is given out. Entering the inner quadrangle, you’ll first see the door to the beautiful gardens on your immediate left:
St. Cross Chapel/Church:
Along the north side of the square are the private residences of the brothers in residence. That area is closed off for privacy. The flats for the brethren are quite orderly, and are recognizable by their tall chimneys:
Looking back at the Beaufort Tower and entrance. The door to the kitchens is just to the left of the main portal:
Opposite the private area, and running between the courtyard and gardens, is a timber-frame long gallery. It was only for use by the almhouse master, and is raised on a cloister that was, in the past, open to the courtyard:
The Brethren’s Hall is a decent sized hall with a high ceiling and a wooden beamed roof. It looks like it had for centuries:
The Norman Chapel was started in the 1160´s. It is an amazing example of Norman architecture as it dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. It retains much of its late Norman purity, despite being somewhat altered in the 14th and early 15th centuries:
The cloister, built in the 16th century lead through to some lovely gardens:
St. Cross Almhouse Gardens:
Exiting the St.Cross premises - we head back to Winchester centre. We turn right (north) to St Cross Rd. Immediately, on our left, stands the Bell Inn Pub. A very good solution for our lunch. BUT, it closes at 14.00. No hot meals behind this hour ! Continue to follow St Cross Rd for 2.2 km. and turn right onto High St. This long section of our daily route can be easily replaced with a bus ride. It is boring, noisy and may be walkable only by addicted walkers. Most of the 2.2. km walk is shady. Otherwise - take bus #69 or Bluestar #1 or #1from the Bell Inn to the High Street.Most of the buses stop at the St. Thomas Church (St. Cross Road) and from there it is a 10 minutes walk to the Great Hall.
At the High Street turn LEFT (north) and at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Romsey Rd. Turn left onto Queens Ct and, again, left (opposite Westgate Pub) onto Peninsula Square. The Great Hall (actually, at Castle Avenue) will be on your left. Winchester Castle is a medieval building which was founded in 1067. Henry III (who was born at Winchester Castle) added the Great Hall between 1222–1235. In 1873 the roof of the Great Hall was completely replaced. Since 1889 Winchester Castle has been the seat of Hampshire County Council whose offices neighbor the Great Hall. Nearby, the excavated remains of the round tower in the medieval city wall can also be seen:
Only the Great Hall had been remained from this castle. It houses a museum of the history of Winchester. The Arthurian Round Table hangs in the Great Hall. The table was originally constructed in the 13th century, and repainted in its present form for Henry VIII. King Henry is depicted as King Arthur and the Tudor rose in the center. Around the edge of the table are the names of King Arthur's knights. According to legend, this is the table around which King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table met, and it has been famous for centuries as a legend. The Great Hall is one of the largest in England, and is certainly the finest of that period to have survived today. Its many features include stained-glass windows, a judges’ gallery and wrought steel gates that were installed in 1983 to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
Normal opening hours are 10.00 to 17.00. FREE. The Great hall is frequently closed due to municipal or other formal events.
Bronze statue of Queen Victoria sculpted by Alfred Gilbert to commemorate queen's jubilee in 1887:
Winchester Castle Museum - King Arthur picture:
Winchester Castle Museum - King William I picture:
Do not miss the Queen Eleanor Gardens - a recreation of 13th century garden:
Rear of the Great Hall and Queen Eleanor's Garden:
At the edge of the garden there are stairs leading to the exit of the castle. You Head west on Peninsula Square toward Queens Ct and you face the Military Museums area. THe most interesting museum is the Gurkha Museum. Astonishing museum. The Gurkha Museum at Winchester tells the unique story of Gurkha service to the British Crown for 200 years. Gurkha soldiers died in nearly every country in which Britain has fought – silent testament to Gurkha loyalty and courage. This museum is a wonderful tribute to the bravest, the toughest, the most generous, fascinating and kind people on earth. I admire the Nepalese people. It is once-in-life experience. Open: MON - SAT: 10:00 - 17.00. Prices: Adults - £4.00, Concessions - £2.50. Allow, at least - one hour:
The Gurkha Museum and the other military museums are spread around the Peninsula Square. A breathtaking square. The fine buildings surrounding Peninsula Square are now mainly used as residential accommodation, but were military barracks until 1994. The present day gardens were then the parade ground:
You can visit another (FREE) museum like the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum. Open: 10.00 - 17.00. June, July, August & first two weeks in September: 7 days a week. April, May & first two weeks in June:
MON-SAT. January, February & March: TUE -SAT:
Walking along Romsey Road from west to east - we arrive, again, to the High Street and face another section of Winchester walls. The Westgate is one of two surviving fortified gateways in Winchester (the other is Kingsgate - see above). The gate was rebuilt in the 12th century and modified in the 13th and late 14th centuries. The gate was in use until 1959 when the High Street was routed around it. It was a debtors' prison for 150 years. You can still see the prisoners' graffiti on the walls. There is also a Tudor painted ceiling. There are great views of the city from the Westgate roof. Open: APR - OCT: SAT 10.00 - 17.00, SUN 12.00 - 17.00.
February half term - MAR: SAT 10.00 - 16.00, SUN 12.00 - 16.00. Closed November to February half term:
Our last section of the Winchester day is walking 800 m. along High Street from west to east till The Broadway. The Most eastern end of High Street is the Brooks Shopping Centre:
The High Street continues east as The Broadway. On our right (south) are the Guildhall and the Tourist Information office (closed on Sundays !). The magnificent Victorian building of Winchester Guildhall is one of the largest in Hampshire. Note the imposing double flight of stairs at the front. The building houses the Tourist Information Office, a cafe and meeting/conference rooms for the council and other organizations. There's an up-market pub on its corner.
DO NOT miss the charming Abbey Gardens behind the Guildhall (its back side, more to the south). The Abbey Gardens and Mill are part of the site of St Mary’s Abbey, once one of the largest religious houses in England. In November 1539 the Abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries and most of the monastic buildings were demolished. The site was subsequently gifted to the City by Queen Mary Tudor to celebrate her marriage to Philip of Spain in the Cathedral in July 1554. The land was later divided into two, the eastern part was occupied by a fine town house and formal gardens that survive today as the Mayor of Winchester official residence and public gardens. The western part of the site was cleared for the City's Guildhall in 1873. Remains of St Mary’s Abbey can be seen at the back of the Guildhall. Now, you can find here Now has formal flower beds, a rose garden, a scented garden and an enclosed children's play area:
Look out from the Abbey Gardens for the bronze statue of Alfred the Great, the most famous King of Wessex, standing proudly in the centre of Winchester, which he had made his capital during his reign:
Return to High St. Walk back 480 m. to the west and turn right onto Jewry St., 320 m. Turn left onto City Rd, 160 m. Slight left and continue onto Station Hill to face the Winchester Railway Station.