Cool Places - The best places to stay in the UK

The Best Places to Stay in the UK

Winchester

Handsome and historic, friendly yet refined, Winchester packs a potent punch of ancient monuments and contemporary culture – a place where grand old buildings mingle with 21st-century sculpture and where medieval taverns turn out some of the region’s best Modern British cuisine. Castle, college and cathedral might be the first stops on any itinerary, but there’s just as much to enjoy in browsing backstreet bookshops, trying out a traditional boozer (or two) and wandering through the water meadows – just a taster of the rich rolling countryside that surrounds the city on all sides.

History

Winchester was founded by the Romans in 70 AD, who named it Venta Belgarum (Capital of the Belgares, after the Celtic tribe who had already settled there) and created the present-day grid of streets, surrounding them with stone walls. Romans gave way to Saxons in the 6th century, and it’s from their settlement –Venta Caester – that modern-day “Winchester” derives its name. In the late 9th century, Alfred the Great proclaimed Winchester the capital of his Wessex kingdom, but it was under the Normans that the city truly flourished: Winchester and Wolvesey castles were built (the former served as the seat of government for over a hundred years) and work began on the city’s famous cathedral. Winchester steadily declined in significance from the 13th century, and bar its ransacking at the hands of Oliver Cromwell in 1645, has been left in peace to prosper. And prosper it has, thanks to its attractive setting, good schools (Winchester College was established in 1342) and easy access from London.

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Winchester

A cultural overload, crammed with backstreet bookshops, trad boozers and arty hangouts.
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