I had a lovely day out to Winchester, which is about an hour away from Chawton by public transport. The city if filled to the brim with history and there is so much that I missed, that I would have loved to have seen! But, we did start the day with a visit to “King Arthur’s Round Table” at The Great Hall. I had thought this was built by King Henry VIII but it turns out was built earlier than his reign and most likely dates from the 13th century when a Round Table Tournament was held. Edward I was also a King Arthur enthusiast and attended at least 4 other Round Table tournaments. None-the-less, this epic table, which is hung on the wall in The Great Hall is enormous in size and quite a feet of craftsmanship for the period it was built – it just wasn’t built by King Arthur!
A highlight was the medieval garden called ‘Queen Eleanor’s Garden, just outside The Great Hall. It isn’t particularly big but the representation of a medieval garden was really intriguing to see. Apart from these two aspects (and the hall itself) there isn’t a lot to see inside, but then again, entrance fee is by donation so I don’t think they are expecting you to spend the whole day there. I would have liked to see reenactors or some special events though, particularly as it is Easter Weekend.
After a spot of lunch, off we went to Winchester Cathedral aka the final resting place of Miss Jane Austen. This is a set fee to get in, but there are tours every 15 minutes around the cathedral, or you are allowed to go a explore yourself. The place is huge, and I could have quite easily gotten lost inside for hours (and almost did as my poor companions were waiting for me outside after I wandered away from them in the cathedral). I listened in on the tour around Jane’s tomb and was pleased to hear the story of why she is in Winchester. If you want to hear this though – you will need to wait for my coming vlog which will be posted here: https://www.youtube.com/user/saphirelutin. If you haven’t already, I do encourage you to subscribe to my channel as I am able to show so much more about the sights and sounds of my trips and research through the wonderful medium of film!
Finally, we went to see the ruins of Wolvesey Castle, which was once the home of several wealthy bishops of Winchester. Though they are ruins, they are amazingly intact and you can even see the original water tunnels (that still have some water flowing through them), which were once a medieval piping system! Also, this castle is completely free to visit! If you have no other reason to attend, go for the view. This castle has several raised plinths that give you amazing views of Winchester including the cathedral. All in all, it is a great day out and there is still plenty that I haven’t mentioned to see and do.