The Winchester student bucket list

15 Sep 2021
Food and a mug of tea on a table next to a laptop

From countless independent coffee shops to St Catherine’s Hill, creative writing graduate, Andrea, shares her seven must-see spots around our city. How many will you check off?

St. Giles Viewpoint

Viewing platform looking over the city at dusk

A short walk from the Broadway, up some stone steps hidden from view by ivy and tall trees, you’ll find St. Giles Viewpoint. From here, you can see the Highstreet curve like a river through the town centre, and you get an overview of the city, from the King Alfred statue and all the way up to the university. This is also a great location for stargazing on a clear night.

The cathedral and cathedral grounds

Winchester Cathedral with people walking on the Green in front on a sunny day

As soon as the sun comes out in Spring, the park in front of the grand cathedral comes to life. Situated in the city centre, this is a great meeting spot for students, somewhere to relax and just enjoy the sun on your face and the view of the stained glass windows.

Lots of independent cafes

Fruit muffin and cup of tea on a table next to a laptop

Whether you want a quick coffee on the go or a quiet spot to catch up with your friends, Winchester has it all. From Forte Kitchen to Rawberry to Cafe Winchester, there is always a little independent cafe waiting for you, serving everything from a traditional cream or afternoon tea to vegan milkshakes and halloumi bagels.

Winchester Antique Books

A sign reading 'BOOKS' on a door pointing right

The stairs never end! Here you’ll find books you never knew existed, everything from 1940s manuals on how to put together small aeroplane models to Swedish-French dictionaries. It’s also the perfect place to search for hidden gems, like cheap fiction and beautiful, old children’s books. Winchester has a lot of great second-hand book shops.

Walk along the River Itchen 

Old brick wall with a river and path

This walk is beautiful no matter the season, but it’s quite something in the spring. Follow the river, walk under the tall trees, and you might get a glimpse of the local wildlife, with its grey herons, swans and squirrels. There are plenty of benches along the way for a quick breather, and it’s a lovely place to enjoy a hot chocolate and a chat while listening to the river Itchen as it runs along.

St. Catherine’s Hill

Grass fields on top of a hill with view of a castle in the distance

You can’t really live in Winchester without trekking up St.Catherine’s Hill at some point. It used to hold a fort in the Iron Age and a chapel in the 12th century, but today St.Catherine’s Hill towers above the rest of the city, a place for peace and contemplation. From here you can see all of Winchester, both the city and the countryside around it. The walk up is beautiful, and as you make your way up the grassy hills surrounded by trees and greenery, it’s easy to forget that you’re only twenty minutes away from the bustling city centre. 

St. Cross Gardens 

Inside of a courtyard for an old stoney building, cafe tables setup with umbrellas

One of England’s oldest, continuing Almshouses can be found tucked away by the Winchester Water Meadows. St.Cross Hospital is open to visitors and can offer a Norman church, a Tudor cloister, plus medieval halls and gardens. This is truly a place to feel the history in the walls, the decades under your fingers. There is nothing calmer on a sunny day than sitting on a bench in front of the ponds in the gardens, to smell the flowers and the trees in bloom while looking up at St. Catherine’s Hill.

About the author 

Andrea Johansen – Creative Writing graduate 2018

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