A day's hike in Winchester, Hampshire
Winchester is a beautiful historic town that used to be England former capital, so has so much history as well as some wonderful eateries and a brilliant Sunday Market. My friend and I are doing a charity walk so wanted to go for a long walk and treat ourselves afterwards.
We initially followed the Keats walk - where Keats wrote and Ode to Autumn, which is fitting as we are in Autumn.
We started at King Alfred's Statue then walked up to Winchester Cathedral. Winchester Cathedral is a cathedral of the Church of England and is one of the biggest cathedrals in Europe. After the cathedral you walk left through the stone arches and through to the inner close. This takes you to the 14th Century building Cheyne Court, which was formerly the Bishops courthouse.
You then go through Kings Gate and onto College Street. This area is dominated by Winchester College, which is the oldest running public school in England. You then pass the present day Bishop's Palace, Wolvesey Castle.
At the end of College street you turn right onto the Water Meadows. Here you walk alongside the River Itchen and ahead is the impressive St Catherines Hill.
After half a mile you reach the hospital of St Cross, this is where the Keats walk ends and you can loop back to the City. However we needed to get the miles in so we continued up to St Catherines Hill. Before going up this hill fort, we decided to cross the M3 (an unfortunate intersection of the South Downs that caused quite a stir in the 90s) to head over to Hockley, where there is a wonderful golf course for those that like to play.
We then retraced our steps as we realised we were actually on a mountain biking trail and decided to climb St Catherines Hill to get the wonderful views of the South Downs and Winchester City. After the hill fort we went the opposing direction to which we came and walked down the Itchen Navigation path, that then lead to the Pilgrims Trail, still alongside the River Itchen taking us back to the city, where we took the time to wander around the Sunday market.
Winchester has lots of nice places to treat yourself after a hearty walk, here are a few of my favourites:
Fine Dining: The Black Rat
If you would also like to follow in Keats footsteps in Autumn, download here
You can also visit the Great Hall where King Arthurs Round table is, but I wanted to wait to take my son there another time.