Visit one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Europe and enjoy a one-night stay for two people at your choice of one of four idyllic Hampshire inns nearby, including dinner and breakfast — we’ll also throw in a beautiful coffee table book about British cathedrals as a souvenir of your trip. Make your way to Winchester Cathedral and marvel at one of the most spectacular Gothic buildings in all Europe. Built on the site of an early Christian church, the Grade I listed building dates from 1079. It has gone through various architectural transformations over the centuries. Soaring gothic arches were added in the 14th century and then the cathedral was made more ornate in the two centuries that followed. Much of the cathedral you see today was complete by the 16th century.
Inside you will find exquisite 14th century oak carved choir stalls bathed in the colourful light that spills from the soaring medieval stained glass windows. An ancient, polished Tournai marble font, decorated with carvings of St Nicholas, sits on the north side of the nave and is one of the cathedral’s most precious items. There’s a low-vaulted stone crypt, which you can see from a viewing platform, which is home to a life-size statue of a man by British sculptor Antony Gormley. And literature fans shouldn’t miss the tombstone of novelist Jane Austen, who was laid to rest here in 1817.
Your admission ticket includes a one-hour guided tour of the cathedral. These are held on the hour from 10am to 3pm Monday to Saturday and offer a great introduction to the building’s history and treasures. It also includes a 20-minute tour of the crypt (provided it hasn’t flooded), which runs at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm on Monday to Saturday only.
Your package also includes a beautiful coffee table book, England’s Cathedrals, by Simon Jenkins, which looks at the long-lasting legacy of these magnificent buildings on English life. This 384-page book celebrates 53 different cathedrals, including Winchester.