If you’ve never visited this cathedral before, then it’s a must. Once you’ve encountered what is one of largest gothic cathedrals in Europe, it comes as no surprise that some 300,000 people visit each year. A wide range of events are held here throughout the year, from classical concerts and open-air theatre to themed lunches and children’s holiday activities, so it’s worth checking before you visit to see if something takes your fancy. Just be sure to visit the tranquil Dean Garnier Garden – this ‘secret garden’ is one of the cathedral’s hidden gems.
Jane Austen’s House Museum
Just outside the city centre, in the village of Chawton near Alton, is the Jane Austen’s House Museum – the house in which Jane spent the last eight years of her life (1809–1817). It was here that she wrote, revised and had published all her major works, including Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. Visitors can stand behind her modest writing table, picnic in the cottage garden, and view family portraits, original manuscripts and first editions.
Another worthwhile trip just outside of Winchester is Long Barn in Alresford. Set in two acres of lavender fields, Long Barn grows and distills lavender for use in their own range of skincare and bathing products. There’s a charming cafe offering a fresh, seasonal menu, and a shop where you can pick up a jar of pink grapefruit and lavender marmalade, made by ‘the local jam ladies’ Sue, Liz and Glenda. From Easter, the plant terrace sells a collection of garden plants including, of course, lavender.
Winchester Farmers’ Market
Time your visit to the city to fall on the second and final Sunday of each month, and discover Hampshire’s farmers and artisan producers at Winchester’s Farmers’ Market. Officially the largest in the UK, there are more than 80 stalls, so it’s a great opportunity to pick up a few local ingredients to take home.