Winchester is a city in Hampshire located 109km (65 miles) South-West of London. It was not a place on our radar but when we found out that a couple of our friends were heading down there over the weekend, we decided to tag along and we were glad we did!
We hired a car and drove around 1.5 hours out of London. There is option to take the train from Waterloo Station in London however it worked out cheaper to rent a car for the four of us.
The first thing we did was head into the Main Street and wander down the market stalls that were selling a variety of odds and ends as well as food. We then continued walking down the street until we hit the Great Hall, which is a 13th century hall that is known for having an imitation Arthurian Round Table.
The next stop was Winchester Cathedral. We bought tickets and explored the cathedral by ourselves; however, there were also free tours that you could join. One thing that I was surprised to learn was that Jane Austen was buried in Winchester Cathedral in 1817 and has three memorials in the Cathedral dedicated to her.
We heard that there was a nice lookout point from Catherine’s Hill so we headed there, but we accidentally went the wrong way and walked up a muddy, slightly rocky path. That wouldn’t have been a problem except it started pouring with rain! It was extremely windy as well, and we all ended up trying to shield ourselves from the wind and rain using a tree. It didn’t work (no surprises there!) so we quickly made our way down as soon as we reached the top. Of course, when we reached the bottom the rain stopped – typical. We ended up walking around the base of Catherine’s Hill which was still lovely.
The Hospital of St Cross
The Hospital of St Cross was the next place on our list. I know what you’re thinking… you’re recommending a hospital as a sight to see?! I thought the same thing when I heard it was one of the top places to visit in Winchester however, it was actually one of the most picturesque places that we went to and it is not actually a hospital. It is a medical almshouse founded by Henry of Blois between 1132-1136 and currently houses “The Brothers”.
We arrived in Winchester just in time for lunch. Andrew and I ate souvlakis from a small stall in the middle of the Main Street. I’m not too sure what the name of the place was but it was the only souvlaki stall on the street. They were amazing and a quick and affordable eat.
To get our caffeine fix we went to two different places. Tom’s Coffee was a little coffee cart slightly off the Main Street. It’s very unassuming however, the coffee was great. Coffee Lab was the second place that we went to. They have two locations around the corner from each other and we ended up at the Little Minster Street and Kings Head Yard location which is not the original store, but is bigger with a lot more seating. If you’re after a coffee stop while exploring Winchester, this is a great option.
For breakfast, my recommendation would be to head to Josie’s. Our friend discovered them on Instagram so we headed there mainly to try their pancakes! We got there soon after they opened and got a table straight away. I was initially going to get the sweet pancakes however, I tend to regret them a couple of hours later so I ended up getting the savoury pancakes.
For dinner we went to Pan Asia. Andrew and I shared a curry and pad Thai – standard. Both were so delicious. As you can see from the photo above, our friends ordered the same thing. We are so original haha. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend this restaurant if you’re after a place to eat!
THE TRAVEL TIPS
- Check the farmers market dates – would have loved to go but it wasn’t on during the weekend we were there
- Hire a car and drive to give you the freedom to move around and check out the surrounding areas
- If you plan to go to Josie’s go early! There was a huge line by 10:30am when we left!
Have you been to Winchester? Where should we travel to next within the UK?