- No fly
- Short breaks
- All breakfasts and more
Discover the many historic sights in the beautiful city of Winchester
The historic city of Winchester awaits on this three-night break that's perfect for those who enjoy exploring independently. Find out more about King Alfred the Great, who made it his capital, and discover its appeal to Jane Austen who is buried in the magnificent medieval cathedral just a short walk from your hotel. Stroll by the River Itchen or take in a show at the Edwardian-style theatre. A little further afield you can walk or cycle in the South Downs National Park or explore the beautiful New Forest.
- All breakfasts and dinner on your first night
- Guided walking tour
- Porterage at your hotel
- Cancellation rights
Winchester Royal Hotel, St Peter’s Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8BS, Tel: 01962 840840.
The 4-star Winchester Royal Hotel is set in and around a 400-year-old building, once a bishop's palace then a convent and for the last 150-years plus, an hotel. Although in the centre of historic Winchester it has a country-house feel which is enhanced by its peaceful, landscaped walled garden.
Your hotel provides the perfect base from which to explore the city and admire the historic buildings here, and for walks on the South Downs or in the New Forest.
Please note: there is no lift at the hotel, and limited car parking is available (at extra charge).
The hotel has 85 comfortable bedrooms, all with:
Tea coffee making facilities
Iron with Ironboard
24-hour room service
Food and Drink
Your stay here includes all breakfasts and dinner on the first night so head to the conservatory-style restaurant to enjoy delicious food and views over the terrace and walled garden. Perhaps treat yourself to afternoon tea in the lounge during your stay too.
This hotel is the perfect base for those who like to explore independently. It has a fabulous location in the heart of the city so it’s just a short walk to some of the most important sights, shops and restaurants, yet it’s also within easy reach of the South Downs and the New Forest for those who like to walk or cycle. The nearest railway station – Winchester – is half-a-mile away and the bus station is also within easy walking distance.
Out and About
Explore more than 1000 years of history in Europe’s longest medieval Cathedral. Discover the exquisitely illuminated Winchester Bible, the finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles. It’s thought to have been commissioned in 1160, probably by Henry of Blois, William the Conqueror’s grandson who was to be Bishop of Winchester for more than 40 years.
Jane Austen was born in 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire and although she moved with her family to Bath aged 25, she returned with her mother and sister to Hampshire. Their cottage in the village of Chawton is now a museum to her work. The novelist is buried in the cathedral, and has three memorials dedicated to her. Her simple gravestone marks her burial place beneath the north aisle of the nave in 1817, but makes no mention of her writing. As her work became better appreciated her nephew Edward wrote a memorial which in 1870 funded the brass wall plaque beside her grave. By 1900, she was so celebrated an author that a public subscription paid for the memorial window above the plaque.
The ruins of the 12th-century Wolvesey Castle next to the Cathedral are the remains of the residence of the wealthy and powerful Bishops of Winchester.
Don’t miss the 13th-century Great Hall, the last surviving part of Winchester Castle, which was built on the orders of William the Conqueror. During the English Civil War it was largely destroyed by Oliver Cromwell, but the hall was saved to serve as a legal centre. Hanging on the wall inside is the ‘Round Table’ used, according to legend by King Arthur and his Knights. Originally the English oak table, which is 18 feet across, stood on 12 outer legs and a central pillar. Carbon dating has since shown that it dates from around 1290, suggesting it was created probably at the command of King Edward III. In 1552, early on in King Henry VIII’s reign, the Tudor Rose was painted in the centre – along with a portrait of Henry posing as King Arthur on his throne, surrounded by 24 places for his Knights. Possibly it was designed to impress the visiting Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Outside the Great Hall there is a pretty reconstruction of the medieval enclosed garden which was used by Queen Eleanor.
Perhaps visit the Winchester City Mill within the heart of the city built on, and powered by, the fast-running River Itchen. Rebuilt in 1743 on a medieval site, the flour mill remained in use until the early 20th Century. After restoration by the National Trust, the mill has been grinding flour again since March 2004 – drop in to discover more.
You might also like to take a 20-minute stroll alongside the River Itchen to the Hospital of St Cross, a church and hospital buildings founded in 1136 by Henry of Blois. You can see the Grade I-listed ‘Almshouse of Noble Poverty’ dating from 1132 where 24 ‘Brothers’ are currently resident, and admire the Norman church.
Keen walkers or cyclists can head to the nearby South Downs National Park where there are lots of trails of varying lengths to follow. Alternatively, the New Forest is a 20-mile drive away. Designated a National Park in 2005, the New Forest has enjoyed protection for more than 900 years, since William the Conqueror made it a royal hunting area. The forests and heaths are maintained by the ponies, deer and cattle that roam the area – without their constant grazing the countryside would become overgrown with gorse and brambles and look very different to the landscape you can explore today.
Guided walking tour
On Day 2, at 10am, join an included walk through the city with your local guide who will point out sights of interest.
Included on 3 nights itinerary