Winchester School of Art is proud to call Winchester home. I have created a little city guide for any prospective students or simply anyone wanting to know a bit more about the city and what it has to offer...
After learning that Winchester was in fact Britain's ex capital of England, I was hugely attracted to the city with its history. Home to Winchester Cathedral; dating back to fifteen centuries ago, Wolvesey Castle; built between 1130 and 1140, and plenty more historic sites; Winchester makes for a beautiful and very aesthetically-pleasing place to study.
Set in the heart of Hampshire, with the New Forest on its doorstep, the lively city of Southampton is only a 15-minute train ride away and London Waterloo can be reached by rail within an hour. This puts Winchester in between all of these fantastic places... Luckily its not too distracting! The school is in fact 145-years-old this year, although the University of Southampton only acquired the school in 1996. The school has had several locations around the city; starting in a location near Wolvesey Castle, followed by the Guildhall (see if you can still spot the art school sign above one of the archways), then to the old reference library on North Walls before making its way to Park Avenue in the 1960s.
The Park Avenue campus isn't too big and scary, which eliminates the factor of getting lost between lectures, and the parallel nature reserve and river becomes a truly refreshing surrounding. With just a 5 minute walk to the city centre, it's pretty ideal.
What to see / do
- Take a look around Winchester Cathedral and its grounds (its free on Sundays). Jane Austen was buried here in 1817 - her last house can be seen just around the corner (however, not open to the public).
- Take a walk up St. Catherine's Hill, pack a picnic and watch the sunset over Winchester's skyline.
- Visit Wolvesey Castle at the bottom of College Street, its typically closed from November - March and admission is free.
- Re-visit the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table at one of the finest surviving medieval halls at Winchester Castle.
- Visit the Black Boy Pub tucked away on Wharf Hill (just off Chesil Street) for a uniquely special traditional pub experience. Famous for its interesting and quirky choice of furnishings, antique tables and chairs, eclectic mix of art, clutter and taxidermy.
- Winchester College - an independent school for boys, founded in 1382 and believed to be the oldest continuously running school in the country. Tours run almost daily and concentrate on the medieval heart of the College.
- Watch a new film at the boutique cinema Everyman on Southgate Street.
- Stay at the Wykeham Arms on Kingsgate Street - a historic 1755 coaching inn (and voted best town pub in the UK by the Good Pub Guide in 2013).
- At Christmas time, do not miss the Winchester Christmas Market. One of the most-loved Christmas markets in the country - the Cathedral grounds transform into a winter wonderland boasting wooden lodges selling crafts, gifts and delicious food and even an ice rink!
Where to eat / drink
- Brunch at Black White Red on Jewry Street
- Tea and Cake at The Corner House on North Walls
- Burger and Shake at Ruby Reds on Jewry Street
- Pub Lunch at The Black Boy on Wharf Hill
- Dinner at the Wykeham Arms on Kingsgate Street
- Pizza and Cider at The Stable on The Square
- Seafood at Rick Stein on the High Street
- Drinks at Alfie's at the bottom of the High Street
Where to browse / shop
- The Hambledon on The Square - for a unique selection of seasonal home accessories, gifts and beauty, menswear and womenswear. Visit for a truly individual in-store experience and innovative visual merchandising displays.
- The Consortium on Jewry Street - for up-cycled antiques, interesting homewares, gifts and room accessories, now also stocking clothing and accessories from selective brands.
- The High Street and The Square - for your typical low-to-mid-end stores mixed with independent boutiques and restaurants.
- Natalie (www.maisieivy.com)