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Travelers in search of the quintessential English country town need look no further than Winchester, the one-time capital of England. This postcard pretty city rose to prominence under the Saxon king Alfred, who unified the English and fought off waves of Viking marauders in the 9th century. A century later, William the Conquerer swept into town, founding Winchester’s famous cathedral, which still radiates medieval grandeur, despite a thousand years of remodeling and renovations. Rumors persist that Winchester was the true location of Camelot, though the city’s famous "Round Table" was exposed as a 13th-century fake. As well as the history, ...

Travelers in search of the quintessential English country town need look no further than Winchester, the one-time capital of England. This postcard pretty city rose to prominence under the Saxon king Alfred, who unified the English and fought off waves of Viking marauders in the 9th century. A century later, William the Conquerer swept into town, founding Winchester’s famous cathedral, which still radiates medieval grandeur, despite a thousand years of remodeling and renovations. Rumors persist that Winchester was the true location of Camelot, though the city’s famous "Round Table" was exposed as a 13th-century fake. As well as the history, visitors are drawn to Winchester by the rolling hills of the South Downs. This classic English landscape has been protected by the brand new South Downs National Park since 2010, and the South Downs Way offers 160km of peaceful hiking from Winchester all the way to Eastbourne. The countryside around Winchester also offers ample opportunities for fishing - the sport of fly-fishing was allegedly invented here in the 1870s.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April to October. However, according to local legend, if it rains on St. Swithun’s Day (15th July) it will rain for the next 40 days.