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Is Winchester one of the best places to live in Britain?

Winchester aerial - best place to live

A recent article in the Sunday Times (paywall, unfortunately) didn’t crown Winchester as the best place to live in the country, though certainly highlighted what Winchester residents heard in previous years and presumably wanted to hear again – it’s a good place to live.

But what is really great about Winchester?

Is it the schools, all the coffee shops, the station or a genuinely pleasant environment?

It’s probably not the oneway traffic system in the city centre, affordable housing or Debenhams.

I can tell you what I like about Winchester:

  • It’s a walkable, compact city – even if you live on the outskirts, you can walk or cycle into town quite easily. You get good exercise and it’s even quicker if you cycle.
  • It’s the perfect size, not too many people but great access to all relevant infrastructure (maybe broadband could be a little faster …) and there are a lot of things to do, at least under ‘normal’ circumstances.
  • Yes, the schools.
  • Train connection to London is frequent, fast and often reliable (though getting to Shoreditch still takes a long time).
  • Still quite close to the coast, it’s an hour to Bournemouth, but then how often do you go to the beach?
  • The cathedral has to be on the list. Going there for a concert or the Christmas service is really special, as are all other visits during the year. It’s a grand, beautiful, airy, friendly and special place.
  • It’s an hour’s drive to Heathrow (not that important in 2020/2021, of course).
  • Discovery Centre – great library, art exhibitions and plays (particularly for kids).
  • Hoxton bakehouse on Jewry Street, during lockdown we really appreciated their sourdough bread – difficult to live without now.
  • Shaad take away for authentic South Asian food on Stockbridge Road, saves you the trip up to Southall when you crave paratha with tarka daal.
St Catherine’s Hill from Keats Walk

Oh yes, and the walks, of course. You are out of the city in no time and the countryside in all directions is great.

Does it really matter that Winchester used to be capital until about a thousand years ago and that a ‘Wayfarer’s Dole’ is available at St Cross Hospital?

Why do you think Winchester is a good place to live or visit?

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