Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day trip to Winchester

Winchester was picked by my finger on the first try. The choice was made on Friday night and we were off to the train station at 9am the next morning. Talking about 'spur of the moment'.

A leisurely 90min train ride from Waterloo station costs 23.40 pounds per person. With a pasty in one hand and The Guardian in another, we were off.

Winchester, a former English capital in the 10th and 11th century, houses the second largest cathedral in Europe. It doesn't take much to guess where we headed to once we alight at the train station.

Navigating towards the cathedral, which is the main draw of the town of 40,000, was abit difficult due to the lack of signposts. We basically followed where all the rest were going. Believe it or not, it worked.

The admission to the cathedral is around 5 quid per person but it's worth every penny of it. It's the second cathedral, which architecture awed me. The other one is Canterbury Cathedral. The picture really didn't do it justice.

We came across a small chapel, one of the four within the building, as we walked towards the end of the Cathedral. There are some murals on the walls, which depicts the miracles performed by Virgin Mary.

There was nothing written about the murals. You would have look around for a laminated piece of A4 paper lying around the vicinity.

As we walked down the nave, we noticed the difference in the tiles used on the floor. According to this sign, the tiles date back to the 13th century. I wouldn't bat an eyelid if I see them on the floor today. Talking about going retro.

Like most cathedrals, this one allows worshippers to light a candle for a small donation, typically in the region of 20 pence.

If you were to drop by, take a look at this particular chapel. It has a small garden setup within the confinement. Took a photo of it but it didn't turn out well due to insufficient light.



We nearly missed out going into the crypt. It houses the statue Sound II by Antony Gormley.

Kind of spooky really. Doesn't help the the winds were howling through the crypt when we were there. I believe that was the intended effect by the artist.


The baptism stone, massive as it is, is now on display along the northern hall of the cathedral.

Some interesting murals carved in stone by the side. It's a pity that there's no more information on that piece.

Time was running out and we had to be back in the train station by 6pm. We had out lunch at one of the pub along the High Street. It's rather cosy and priced reasonably. Can't remember the name though but it's opposite the City Mill and right next to the river that runs through the town.

Off we went to the Great Hall, which features a 600 year old forgery of King Arthur's Round Table. To think that a forgery would become a tourist attraction! Heck, it's older than most of the authentic museum pieces anyway.

It has never been used as a table, of course. Now it forms the backdrop of the Great Hall, which is the only surviving structure of the once mighty Winchester Castle.

A small door by the side of the Great Hall leads to a reconstructed medieval garden, which is based on drawings of that era.

Interesting to know that the gardens of that era were meant for both food and medicine purposes.

Finally, the statue that dominates the High Street. King Alfred (or Alfred the Great) ruled the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex from 871 to 899.

A prominant landmark and a useful location to orientate your map.

Winchester makes a pleasant day trip from London. As trains departs from the capital rather frequently, it makes a great 'spur of the moment' trip.

Next, we have Colchester. Similar sounding name but of a totally different era. Interested in reading more? Why not subscribe this feed via email? Just click on the link found at the top of the centre column of this page.

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5 comments:

A. said...

If you find yourself there again, do visit Winchester College, or take the riverside walk to St Cross Hospital. Great places.

LadyBanana said...

I love to do things spur of the moment like that, but usually my partner doesn't, which is a shame..

C K said...

@a.
We did try to get into Winchester College but it was closed when we were there. A shame really...

@ladybanana
Well, it's the other way round for me. My Wife is really keen on keeping her weekends occupied... but I'm not complaining... :)

Fëanor said...

hiya! spur-of-the-moment is good, but spur-with-a-brief-preparation is slightly better, no? :-) four months behind you, i went to winchester. wanted to do three different walks, but only accomplished one. please take a look here, if you like.

C K said...

@Fëanor
The photos that you took look great! Thanks for stopping by. Cheers!