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The Hospital of St Cross

Back Street Winchester SO23 9SD

This 12th-century church and almshouse, the oldest in the country, is worth visiting as much for the tranquil walk to get there – through the same water meadows that inspired Keats to pen his ‘Ode to Autumn’ – as for the medieval buildings themselves. The Hospital has provided food and shelter for nearly 900 years and still houses the Brothers of St Cross and the Order of Noble Poverty – OAPs that can be seen wandering the grounds attired in black or claret gowns with silver badges. On arrival you’ll be rewarded with the Wayfarer’s Dole, a portion of bread and a tiny goblet of beer traditionally handed out to passers-by.

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