It’s officially tourist season in Winchester. There are school groups from France with maps and workbooks and retired people from North America wearing socks with sandals and their khaki bucket hats. It was a nice enough day and although I’ve been here for three years, I’ve got less than a month left so I figured, why not join them?
I walked up the street with the house where Jane Austen died (the yellow one with the bay window and plaque) and looked into the old bookshop there, too. Around the corner was the arch leading to the cathedral (the pic is from a different day, but same thing anyway). I’ve been through the cathedral multiple times so I didn’t go in today although it is an option for any visitors.
The City Museum is nearby in the town square. I visited already so I didn’t bother going there today either, but if you’re ever in town, it’s free.
Down the road was the tourist stop where they had a giant bust of King Alfred, and if you press a button, you’d get a sassy monologue from the man himself (or at least a very good voice actor). I think that particular display is only temporary, which is too bad because it made me laugh. The actual King Alfred Statue was nearby and across from it was the little castle where the Mayor of Winchester lives and a nice park.
Once you reach the river, there’s a bridge and the City Mill. I’ve never been to the mill before today and took advantage of the student discount while I’m still technically a student. It was kind of cool to get up close with the moving parts and to look at how flour was made and try to make some myself. There was the whole history of the mill, going back farther than Canada’s entire existence, and even footage of otters that stop by under the mill frequently, though usually at night. They even had a private back garden and everything, though it was a bit awkward to see someone’s underwear hanging on a clothesline across the river…
On the way back, I went the long way so I didn’t go by the Great Hall, though it’s free and often open. I have visited in the past though, and it’s cool to look at. It was used for filming something with Benedict Cumberbatch last year so it’s kind of famous, too!
While it may be a bit of a sleepy town, there are plenty of daytime activities to do in Winchester. It’s steeped in history and also really pretty to walk around in.