What is Winchester famous for?

Winchester is a city of many faces and is famous for its fine food, great gin and splendid array of shops. It’s no wonder that the locals don’t want to leave and that tourists flock here in their droves.

Winchester is famous for its history, people (past and present) and its plethora of indoor and outdoor attractions. Add to this Winchesters many famous markets and events and you’ll soon understand why this this small cathedral city is so renowned.

Winchester – famous for its history

Today’s visitors exploring the wonderful city of Winchester will find it easy to get swept up in the charm and allure as they wander through the ancient cobbled streets. But few will really know the remarkable stories of those who have walk before them.

A step back in time

Around 150BC, Winchester became the exclusive home of the Celtic Belgae tribe and for over two hundred years they settled, traded and built a hill fort here. But, shortly after the Romans landed, they captured all Iron Age hill forts and imposed Roman rules upon the locals.

The Romans, having set about making it their home too, built streets, accommodation, shops and public baths before things came to an abrupt end in AD407.  With the Empire crumbling, the Roman legions were forced to withdraw from Britain and Winchester was abandoned.

Things did not improve much during the 4th and 5th centuries either, which later became well-known as the Dark Ages. And from AD430, for a good hundred years, a host of Germanic migrants arrived in England, and the invading kings and their armies set about establishing their kingdoms.

History in the making

Fast forward to the 7th century and with Christian Faith in full force the first church, the Old Minster, was built within the Roman walls of Winchester.

In 871, at the infantile age of 21, Alfred was crowned King of Wessex and established Winchester as his capital and the city was transformed once more.

In 1066 following the Battle of Hastings, King Harold’s widow (who was staying at Winchester), surrendered the town to the invading Normans. Shortly after this William the Conqueror ordered the rebuilding of the Saxon royal palace and the construction of a new castle. This castle was later destroyed by Oliver Cromwell who wanted to prevent it ever falling into royalist hands again.

The Normans were also responsible for demolishing the Old Minster Cathedral in 1079 and starting the construction of today’s impressive Winchester cathedral, which proudly sits on the same site.

Pest Control in Winchester

Winchester of course, has its fair share of pest control problems. Rodents such as rats and mice are still in great numbers. Thankfully, there is a reliable company that you can call for pest control services in Winchester, that’s Malum Integrated Pest Control Specialists. They have been operating in Winchester for several years and have a team of experienced technicians working for them.

Winchester – famous people

Winchester is associated with many famous people, from literary greats to sporting heroes and present day celebrities.

Jane Austen is probably one of Hampshire’s most celebrated residents as most her short life was spent here. Having travelled to Winchester to seek medical care, Jane and her sister took up lodging in College Street next to the Cathedral. Alas, just two months later she died, and her body was buried in Winchester Cathedral.

The English Romantic poet, John Keats, also stayed in Winchester but in the summer and autumn of 1819, where he enjoyed a peaceful and reflective visit despite leading quite a troubled life. Each day he would stroll around the city taking in the sights of Cathedral Close, along the water meadows and on to the Hospital of St Cross – which today is thought to be one of the oldest almshouses in England.

So enamoured by Winchester was Kates, that he penned his famous ‘Ode to Autumn’ in honour of the city. It was the last poem he composed and tragically he died the following year in Rome, without ever returning to Winchester. A self-guided walk, named after Keats, is well signposted throughout the city and will take you past his most memorable places.

Look between the crowds and you might spot a celebrity face. Actor Colin Firth spent his early life living and studying in Winchester, Jack Dee resides here and many celebrity chefs including Rick Stein, Raymond Blanc and Hugh Fernley Whitingstall, all have restaurants located on or just off the high street.

Winchester – famous for its attractions and events

Winchester combines the best of city life with the great outdoors thanks to its location situated close to stunning countryside. From Winchester Cathedral to the South Downs National Park, Great Hall and Science Museum, come day or night, there is always something to do and places to explore. Find out more on our top 10 best places to visit in Winchester.

Throughout the year the city prepares for a number of local events, including Farmer’s markets, and a Christmas Wonderland, but its most renowned has to be the Winchester Hat Fair. The UK’s longest running festival of outdoor arts, this colourful event takes over the centre of Winchester with street theatre, entertainment, dance and acrobatics.

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