[ENGLAND – PORTUGAL EXCHANGE 2012 — DAY 5]
Introduction: Trying to keep to the historical side I decided we should do Winchester, as before London it use to be the old capital city of the country. There is also a link to Jane Austen as she died here, which I know Laura is a fan of. In Winchester we walked around the city, past the monuments like King Alfred’s statue and walking by the river. We also visited Winchester Cathedral and Wolvesey Castle. Before getting to Winchester we visited the Titanic Museum in Southampton and through the old cemetery which many were from this were buried.
Walking to Town via the Common
As always we had a nice lazy start watching programs like Jeremy Kyle before we left. We walked into town the way we usually did which was via the Southampton Common as walking through a park was a lot nicer than just down a road. While walking through the Common and seeing how we were visiting the Titanic Museum this morning it only seemed fitting to walk through the old Cemetery there. It was only when I watched a TV program earlier this year called “The Titanic: Southampton Remembers” that I found it was in this unused Cemetery that many of the victims were buried or had pretend graves if their bodies weren’t actually discovered.
The Titanic Museum
This was the second time we tried to do this. As it wasn’t too far from the train station and I knew that Winchester would only need an afternoon we called by on the way.
I had never been to this one myself, as it had only very recently opened here and before had originally been the Police Station in a building called the Civic Centre. I went to the old Titanic Museum which was by the Isle of Weight ferry terminal the previous year with Lorrie.
The museum was basically split as 3 exhibitions. The first we went to was mainly focussed on Southampton and the people on board. For example the first wall was just a wall of the staff and in orange (almost all of them) were those from Southampton. Even some of the others were very close by like Totton or Romsey, which are less than 15 minutes by car from there. There was also lots of personal items and stories on display.
The second we went to was more about Southampton as a port than about the Titanic. The room acted as a timeline from as early as the Iron and Bronze ages up to the Modern Day.
The last exhibition was in the new extension to the building was all hands on things relating to the Titanic. I’m sure most was designed for children, so for this reason we loved it.
Laura outside the first exhibition with orange wall in the background (we weren’t allowed to photos inside for some reason)
Laura listening to one of the accounts of the survivors in the hands on section
Me being a little kid on the toy Titanic
Us with the life jackets on (both modern and from the day of the Titanic)
Getting to Winchester and Tourist Information
We only had to walk about 1km to get to the train station. The train to Winchester is very easy. There is usually one every 15 – 20 minutes due to the number of routes which call by there on the way and the duration is only about 15 minutes too.
When we arrived there was no obvious signs to the City Centre, and although I had not visited too many times before and when I did it was a) not by train and b) following my parents I was happy I could remember the rough route. When on the main High Street we were following the signs to Tourist Information, but got a tad distracted on the way as we went to McDonalds for lunch on the way.
We finally found Tourist Information almost next to King Alfred’s statue and managed to get a free map of the City; marking on the key points of interest to visit.
The High Street, perhaps slightly ruined by the buntings for the Olympics lol
A monument in the middle of Winchester, although famous I’m not actually sure what for
Laura in McDonalds wrapping up our free burger she got with her student card
The River and Wolvesey Castle
To start our walk, we walked past King Alfred’s statue and the mayor’s house towards the river. At the mill we walked down by the side of the river and up to Wolvesey Castle.
The Castle is now owned by English Heritage, although entrance is free. It was the home to the Bishop of Winchester for around a thousand years. It is now a ruin and just some of the walls remain. The chapel however is still intact but not open to the public.
King Alfred’s statue
The Mayor’s house
The River (Laura’s ‘Picture Postcard view’ as she called it)
Looking back towards the High Street
Wovesley Castle Welcome Sign
Me just inside Wovesley Castle
Me… again further inside Wovelsey Castle
Towards the Cathedral
We then headed towards the cathedral and hoping to see Jane Austen’s house on the way. However we weren’t really paying attention as we were as always too busy chatting and missed it, even though we walked straight past it, Laura even commenting on a sign in the window which seemed strange as it said “This house is not open to the public” and I assumed it was to do with Winchester College the public school right next door [remembering a ‘public school’ in England is one of the most elite private schools you can go to, just to be confusing]. We also walked under the church which I love and remember. It is just above the road and is a tiny little room in a Tudor building. Typically there was road works outside and the church was closed just for this one day!
The little church (from the other side of the entrance)
Another little typical house just outside the Cathedral grounds
We now entered the grounds of the Cathedral. Walking past the deanery, school for choir boys, etc and around to the front entrance of the Cathedral. Winchester Cathedral is also one of those Cathedral’s which you have to pay to go around. This was another moment (as it happened in Great St Mary’s Church too) that when we hear that Laura is from Portugal they ask her if she wants the leaflet in Spanish! This, however, was my favourite of these those because they asked if she wanted it in Spanish, when they actually even had one in Portuguese too!
The Cathedral is massive with a lot of history to it and graves in the floor going back to the 1400s, although the building itself was actually started to be built in about 1100.
Laura outside one of the buildings just inside the grounds of the Cathedral
The Cathedral from the outside at the Main Entrance
Inside too there was this book listing all those who died in the First World War (1914-1919)
Also while we were the choir was practicing: link
The Jane Austen Exhibition and House
Inside the Cathedral was actually an exhibition about Jane Austen. It was basically a story of her life and it ended where her grave was. This was interesting to us as we both liked Jane Austen.
After leaving the Cathedral we went looking for the house again. This was annoying as it was not where it was marked on the map. I then remembered from when I was here with my Mum that it was very close to the old bookshop. In the end we asked a local old lady and I was right it was round the corner just a few doors down from the old bookshop.
The last board in the exhibition relating to Winchester. There were another 3 about her life: link
Jane Austen’s grave in Winchester Cathedral
Jane Austen’s house she lived in during her last few years, around the corner from the Cathedral
Starbucks and the attempt to find the Round Table
We needed a break and something to drink so we were very traditional and went to Starbucks for Frappe. After being able to put our feet up, we headed back to the train station, calling by the old castle (or what is left of it) on the way. I had never been to see King Arthur’s legendary round table and was very disappointed to see it was closed. My Mum insists it is not that much and is why I never went with her but still would have been nice.
Us in Starbucks
A famous archway in Winchester; near the train station
The locked gate leading to under the old castle with the round table, but was closed 😦
The Bowls Club
When we got back we walked to the bowls club as Becky was working behind the bar for the evening. This also meant a hard earned cider and bowl of chips [‘fries’ in American]. Before we left we played pool. From this I learnt that Laura is a bad loser and we had to play a second game to make it fair. Finally we got home.
Laura playing pool at the bowls club