We took the train from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Winchester, England, changing trains in Birmingham. We stayed at the 4-star Mercure Winchester Wessex Hotel, located adjacent to the famous Winchester Cathedral. From our room, we had amazing views. I could have sat in our room all day.
In 1828, Winchester was the capital of England, so there is a lot of history. It is easy to get to and from the train station by taxi. From our hotel, everything seemed to be within walking distance. You can definitely spend a couple of days roaming the area.
From the hotel, it is a leisurely stroll to the cathedral, the pedestrian walk, or go a little further up the street to the Great Hall. The Great Hall is all that is left of the castle that was there at one time. It was saved from being demolished because it was being used as a courthouse. Thankfully it was saved. Inside the hall is what is believed to be King Arther’s Knights of the Round Table hanging on the wall. Legend or fact is still in debate.
The table is quite large and has many great stories. The only way the table could have gotten into the hall is in pieces, then constructed inside. They offer free docent tours, a great way to learn a lot about the history of the table and the hall. Well worth the walk.
The pedestrian mall has many places to grab something to eat, coffee, tea, or a pint of ale. You will find an old clock tower and a statue that kids like to climb on, or where street musicians like to set up.
The cathedral, of course, is a don’t miss. We were lucky to hear the choir and the pipe organ. There is so much history here that it is hard even to begin to share more than a tiny bit. There has been a church on this site since 650.
In 1600, the stained glass was destroyed during the civil war. If you look at the vast stained glass wall near the exit, you will see they took the piece of glass they found and did a random reconstruction. Still beautiful to look at. So no stories or images of saints on that wall, but there are other stained glass artwork throughout the cathedral.
You will also find the 12th Century Winchester Bible, and across the nave, you can visit the oldest part of the church, where the crypt is.
We completely missed going to the cafe, which is in a building just outside when you exit the cathedral. Unfortunately, it had started to rain, so we headed back to the hotel. Next time we will need to stop in.
The day we were leaving, I discovered that what looked like a chest of drawers was actually a refrigerator. It was well-hidden smile. I would have never guessed that was what it was.
The hotel has several lounge areas that are comfortable to relax in. You can enjoy the view with a pot of tea or partake in the well-stocked bar.
Breakfast was not included, but we went ahead and had breakfast there both mornings. It was 10 pounds per person per day. There was a lot to choose from, and it was well stocked.
They do offer to hold your luggage if you arrive early or need to leave after checkout. That was an excellent convenience. They also have a phone at the front desk area that is a direct line to the local taxi service. That was handy when we were ready to return to the train station.
We are so glad to have included Winchester on our recent trip. Feeling lucky to have had a chance to hear the organ and the choir; they are amazing. If you are looking for more history, a large Cathedral, and an easy to get around place, Winchester is a great destination.
Mercure Winchester Wessex Hotel
Paternoster Row, Winchester SO23 9LQ, United Kingdom
Note: We paid for our room nights and breakfast; there was no exchange for including them in this blog.