Winchester is a great place to live and work. Not only is the area around Winchester, Hampshire full of natural beauty and countryside, but the town itself has some great attractions.
Whether you are religious or not, Winchester Cathedral is one of the country’s architectural gems of Norman construction. The cathedral dates back to 1079, with its construction started by one of William the Conqueror’s relatives, Bishop Walkelin, the first Norman Bishop of Winchester. As common with classic cathedrals, building work continued for centuries. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the longest nave and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe.
Having such a precious gem in our community also allows us to experience other cultural events such as the Winchester Cathedral Light Exhibition.
Of particular interest was the illuminating light piece at the side of the nave. David Batchelor used a string of electric lights to illuminate household objects. The overall effect of the electrically lit plastic pieces in many ways gives a similar effect as natural light through a stained glass window. When the sun is shining through the nearby Victorian glass window, pools of light form on the floor giving a similar effect as the more modern wiring.
Jane Austen’s House
Only a short walk from the Cathderal is College Street, where you can see Jane Austen’s house. It is marked by a plaque. Her tomb inscription in the cathedral mentions "the extraordinary endowments of her mind”, but does not actually mention any of her books, as they were considered not discreet enough for a female author of that era.
Running through around the Cathedral and centre of town is the River Itchen, The poet John Keats lived for a while in Winchester and, legend has it, was inspired to write Ode to Autumn while walking through the water meadows of the River Itchen. And if you are near College Street, you can follow the river and glimpse the cobbled courtyards of England's oldest public school, Winchester College.
The river water levels vary widely throughout the year, and during the recent winters do get scarily high. It has burst its banks on several occasions, and residents and businesses in Winchester have worked together with Hampshire Fire Service to protect the city from further flooding.