The dream land of Winchester

winchester-cathedral Winchester Cathedral in the UK

During a summer vacation, my mother and I visited United Kingdom to meet my aunt and explore the country. Since I fancy history and historic places, this place was on top of my travel list. We stayed there for 22 days. My aunt lived in the north of London in Cambridge County. We visited Cambridge, London, Birmingham and Leicester and enjoyed the tourist attractions of London including tower of London, Big Ben, London eye, Buckingham palace and Baker Street.

We also dropped by at Bath district which is in the south of London to view the magnificent Roman baths. We also visited the Stonehenge which was on the way.

We wanted to explore more of south London so we thought of visiting Hampshire County on the southern coast of England. Hampshire is the most populous ceremonial county in the United Kingdom excluding the metropolitan counties with almost half of the county's population living within the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth.

Notable for housing the birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force, the county is also famed as home of writers Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

After spending a day at Brockwood, a countryside with sprawling meadows and enigmatic scenery, we visited Winchester. Winchester, the former capital city of England, is the county town of Hampshire. Winchester's major landmark is Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the distinction of having the longest nave and overall length of all Gothic cathedrals in Europe. The city is home to the University of Winchester and Winchester College, the oldest public school in the United Kingdom.

Winchester Cathedral was originally built in 1079 and remains the longest Gothic cathedral in Europe. It contains fine architecture and is the place of interment of numerous Bishops of Winchester, Anglo-Saxon monarchs and later monarchs such as King Canute and William Rufus, as well as Jane Austen. It was once an important pilgrimage centre and housed the shrine of Saint Swithun. The ancient Pilgrims' Way to Canterbury begins at Winchester. The plan of the earlier Old Minster is laid out in the grass adjoining the cathedral. The New Minster (original burial place of Alfred the Great and Edward the Elder once stood beside it. It has a girls choir and a boys choir, which sing on a regular basis at the cathedral.

I was fortunate to hear the evening mass and it was really a first time experience for me. It was so amazing and as I moved across the cathedral viewing the Roman glasses I could feel a different aura around me. It was as if the harmony was spreading through the cathedral and through me. As I roamed around, I saw tombs of many people. It felt like I was in a different world surrounded by all of these great people. I paid my tributes at the tomb of my favourite author Jane Austen, a brave woman who wrote wondrous tales during a time when women were treated as second class citizens.

winchester-hall King Arthur's round table on the wall of the Great Hall

Winchester is well known for the Great Hall of its castle, which was built in the 12th century. It is famous for King Arthur's Round Table, which has hung in the hall from at least 1463. The table actually dates from the 13th century, and as such is not contemporary to Arthur. Despite this it is still of considerable historical interest due to King Arthur’s legendary story. The table was originally unpainted, but was painted for King Henry VIII in 1522. The names of the legendary Knights of the Round Table are written around the edge of the table.

If you are planning to visit United Kingdom, then you should definitely visit Winchester.