Dominated by its cathedral, the city's academic credentials include Winchester College, the oldest continuously running school in the country. It is home to the UK’s first Public Library and resting place of author Jane Austen. For fabulous views of the city and the surrounding area, take a stroll up to St Catherine's Hill or wander along the banks of the river Itchen in the footsteps of John Keats.

Good connections make it attractive for commuters with trains to London Waterloo taking just over an hour. Jumping in the car? Then the M3 is right on your doorstep.

Winchester's pretty streets are lined with a wealth of property from quaint cottages, Georgian splendour to Grand Designs. Good properties go quickly, with many buyers coming out of London so be prepared to act fast.

Great British Life: Stunning views can be found of the city from St Catherine's Hill. Stunning views can be found of the city from St Catherine's Hill. (Image: Tim Rees)

Primary schools rated good by Ofsted include Harestock, Weeke, St Peter’s Catholic, All Saints CofE, Western CofE and Winnall with St Faith’s CofE and St Bede CofE outstanding. For secondary education: The Kings' School, sixth form college Peter Symonds College and Westgate, which also offers primary through to secondary education are all rated outstanding with Henry Beaufort rated good.

Private schools to consider are Prince’s Mead School, The Pilgrims’ School for boys and St Swithun's School for girls.

A plus point for prospective Winchester College pupils and Harry Potter fans is that the school was used as a location for the films. Alumni include mountaineer George Mallory and more recently, actor Hugh Dancy.


Great British Life: The majestic Winchester Cathedral can be seen in the heart of the city. The majestic Winchester Cathedral can be seen in the heart of the city. (Image: Robin Creative)


From fantastic festivals to unique history, Winchester is both cultural and creative.

Winchester Hat Fair, which this year runs from July 5-7 proudly holds the title of the UK's longest-running festival of its kind. Described as a ‘joyous weekend of street theatre and outdoor performance’, it was initially conceived as a busking festival and takes its name from the tradition of passing round a hat to audiences at the end of a show. Organisers say their ‘aim is to shine a light on the city, transforming the everyday into the extraordinary.' Fans of opera will enjoy the nearby Grange Festival, held in the magnificent neoclassical mansion in Northington. The programme also includes jazz, dance, and theatre performances and foodies will love a trip out to neighbouring village of Alresford, to join in with their Watercress Festival, which takes place on May 19.

An immersive experience, 878AD is the newest visitor attraction in Winchester and brings history to life revealing how the Anglo-Saxon's would have lived in the city. Created in partnership with the makers of the Assassin's Creed game series, the immersive experience takes visitors to the eve of battle with live actors and different sounds and smells adding to the experience.

Arts, reading and community come under one roof at The Arc. Formerly Winchester Discovery Centre, it houses the city library and a performance hall, which offers everything from children's shows to performances by Winchester Chamber Orchestra. Two galleries host regular exhibitions such as Grayson Perry: Essex House Tapestries – The Life of Julie Cope, which is on until June 12. The venue also hosts community groups.

Great British Life: Winchester's high street has a mix of independents and well known brands. Winchester's high street has a mix of independents and well known brands. (Image: Getty)

Winchester has a variety of independent shops which sets it apart from other shopping destinations. A free pocket map #IndieWinch gives details of over 190 independent shops, services, restaurants and cafes across the city including award-winning store The Hambledon, which sells a range of independent brands.

A new sports complex, Winchester Sport & Leisure Park has state-of-the-art facilities including a 50 metre swimming pool, gym, squash courts and fitness studios. And avid walkers can enjoy the many walks on the South Downs.

Interesting fact. A diver saved Winchester Cathedral from sinking. William Walker carried out repairs on the foundations of the cathedral over a century ago. He was known as Diver Bill.


Great British Life: Winchester's cobbled streets hold a wealth of history.Winchester's cobbled streets hold a wealth of history. (Image: Getty)


Winchester continues to be recognised as one of the top places to live in the UK. In the past few months, Charters estate agents has experienced a surge in buyers registering, indicating a strong sales market in the city.

Homes priced in a reasonable range are selling well, particularly in the middle and lower markets and the company has also noticed a steady influx of buyers from London, keen to take their guidance on suitable areas to relocate to.

Desirable family neighbourhoods such as Fulflood, Compton, Shawford, Otterbourne, Hursley, Sparsholt, and Kingsworthy continue to be in demand. In the city centre, St Cross boasts a diverse range of property types, from grand period residences to mid-sized apartments, all within a 15–20-minute walk of the city centre. There’s plenty of new properties with over 1,400 new homes being built over the past five years. Prices have steadily grown with the average price of a property in Winchester now £541,822.

The city's appeal remains strong, with its rich culture and history, easy access to green spaces and the countryside, excellent educational institutions, and convenient rail and road links to London and beyond all contributing to its popularity among buyers.


Great British Life: Suzy Dierckx Suzy Dierckx (Image: Suzy Dierckx)


Suzy Dierckx is a social media marketing consultant and independent business ambassador for Visit Winchester on behalf of Winchester BID. She moved to Winchester to introduce her now husband to life outside of the M25. They instantly fell in love with the city and its people, raising three children. ‘I love nothing more than a Sunday walk along the Water Meadows and a lazy afternoon roast in one of the many pubs/restaurants after the kids' sporting commitments,’ she says. 'There is something for everyone in Winchester. From cocktails to sushi, from musical theatre lessons to pottery throwing, from local food festivals to world famous latte artists. We also have a thriving and unique independent hospitality and retail scene, which I am a proud to champion as a city ambassador. Winchester has a real community feel, once you visit, you won't want to leave.'