Winchester is a beautiful city. It is around a 1-hour drive from Guildford. Winchester Christmas market is considered one of the best in Europe. This year, I visited the market to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.
This Christmas market began in 2006 in Winchester with 40 stalls. Nowadays, there are around 112 stalls. The New York Post named it one of the top eight Christmas markets in Europe, with over 400,000 visitors each year.
The Christmas market is held on the grounds of Winchester Cathedral. It is free for visitors to enter. Visitors can shop at the lovely wooden chalets with colorful lighting. There are many high-quality exhibitors, including decorations, homeware, accessories, clothing, arts, crafts, toys, etc. Besides, there is an area for independent craft makers. You can find many handmade products, such as Christmas baubles, glass, and jewelry. Except for the products, you can enjoy the delicious food in the market as well. There are around 20 food stalls providing festival food and drink. You can enjoy different options such as mulled wine, hot chocolate, French raclette cheese, and British fish and chips.
After visiting the Christmas market, if you are still in the mood for more sightseeing, there are a lot of unique places you can explore in Winchester.
One of the must-sees is Winchester Cathedral which was built in 1079. It is recognized as one of the most beautiful and longest cathedrals in the UK. Visitors can follow the 1-hour free guild to understand more about the history. When you walk into the cathedral, you can find a stunning array of architectural styles.
On the top floor of the cathedral, there is a small museum. When I saw a special helmet exhibited, I knew a famous special diver called William Walker. In the 1900s, there was a likelihood that the cathedral would collapse because of massive cracks shown. William Walker, a deep-sea diver, worked every day for six years underwater to place bags of concrete. It is estimated that some 25000 bags of concrete, 115000 concrete blocks, and 9000,000 bricks were used in the operation. He was a fantastic person who saved the cathedral.
After visiting Winchester Cathedral, there is a Winchester City Museum nearby that you can explore. Three galleries show visitors the past and present of Winchester, from its origins as an Iron Age trading center to Anglo-Saxon glory, Jane Austen’s last journey to the hunt for King Alfred’s remains.
Also, you can walk through the High Street. There are some Tudor-style houses that are beautifully decorated for Christmas. Besides, many historic places can be found. In the center of the High Street, you can see the Buttercross, which is a monumental cross built in the 15 century.
On a one-day trip, I also visited Guildhall, the Great Hall, and walked along the river to soak up the vibe.
It is definitely a great place to visit during Christmas time!