Winchester is renowned for its ancient history, its cathedral and high quality of life.
Winchester offers an array of unique, independent shops and boutiques as well as traditional and nationally-known stores. The high-street offers a bustling atmosphere with street performers and markets while other more unusual shops are nestled along the cobbled streets that surround the cathedral and tucked away along intriguing backstreets.
There is a strong cafe and restaurant culture in Winchester. Raymond Blanc has a restaurant and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is opening a River Cottage Canteen and Deli later this year. There is also an array of award-winning bars and pubs which offer a traditional pint or mojito cocktail. Winchester has also held the Purple Flag award, which recognisies cities that are safe, enjoyable places for a night out. Winchester has held the award since 2010.
Arts and Culture
Winchester and its surrounding district have inspired literary classics by Jane Austen and John Keats. This has made the city the ideal setting for literary events and writers festivals. There are several theatres in Winchester and the Guildhall - which hosts various gigs and comedy nights. There is also a cinema, once a military chapel that offers mainstream releases alongside independant and foreign language films.
Winchester is steeped in history and packed with historic buildings and monuments. Winchester was chosen by King Alfred as the seat of power for his kingdom of Wessex. William the Conqueror commissioned the monks of Winchester to write his notorious Domesday Book which was housed in the King's Castle. Now only the Castle's Great Hall remains and in it is the legendary 'Round Table of King Arthur' which has been exhibited there for over 700 years. The famous Winchester Cathedral has been a place of worship for over 900 years. It has the longest medieval nave in Europe and is the resting place for Jane Austen, Izzak Walton and the early English Kings.
Winchester has excellent transport links including a direct train service to London Waterloo which runs every 20 minutes during peak times. The station is also well-served by trains running to and from Southampton, Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Brighton, the New Forest and the north of England.
The University of Winchester is located close to the M3 which provides easy road access to the M25 and M27. Travelling to and from Heathrow and Gatwick airports is easy by both road and train and Southampton Airport is located 15 minutes away by train and offers services within the UK, the Channel Islands and mainland Europe.
The National Express coach service picks up from Winchester and serves various destinations across the UK. Ferry services from Portsmouth link to various ports in France, Spain and the Netherlands.