Winchester – what can you tell me

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    I’d love to find out as much as we can about living in Winchester. What’s it like to live there, is there lots of do, is it a good place to make a life after london? What would you recommend about Winchester, and what sold it to you as a place to live? Any information you can share would be fantastic.


    Hi Guest

    Gosh, what’s NOT to say about Winchester…?

    I ended up here by pure chance (work as an agent and living – although we are a few miles outside in a village on the River Test). I love the fact that Winchester has literally everything you could wish for within a 10 minute walk of the town centre: high street shops, independent retailers, a theatre, more quality restaurants than you can try out in a year, 20 minutes to the coast, an hour to London, it’s close to Southampton Airport and the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton (where I’m going to see the WNO perform La Traviata this weekend) is only 25 minutes away – closer than Covent Garden for most Londoners! You can live in Winchester and enjoy a pocket-sized cathedral city, or on the outskirts and enjoy true rural living. And as we moved here from Sussex, I can also say that we find people take themselves less seriously and are more relaxed than they are in our eastern neighbour!

    Do get in touch if you’d like to talk more about Winchester (Smiths Gore 01962 857 429 – although the above views are obviously mine, not endorsed by the firm and people in West Sussex are also lovely!).



    Hello, everything my colleague Philip above said and more! I had a fantastic childhood growing up in Winchester, moved to London for 25 yrs, moved back 3 yrs ago and I can honestly say it feels like being on holiday every day living here. The kids are thriving at their new school, they have far more freedom and there is just so much for us all to do. I was seriously worried I would miss the convenience and all that London has to offer, but I don’t. We can wake up on a sunny morning and be on the beach in 40 mins, or the glorious New Forest or a country park. You never know what you will see every time you go into town, always a street performer, band or one of a variety of street markets. You should try and come down for a few days to really experience ‘Winchester life’ – if you need any recommendations for places to stay other than the usual hotels, there are some great self contained apartments just outside of town I can give you the link for. We have just helped some clients find a house in Winchester – they are moving over from Brussels and had explored all sorts of different area’s from Brighton to Kent, but spent Christmas in Winchester staying with friends and fell in love with it – they are now counting the days until they move in!



    Sorry to jump on board but anyone have any views on primary schools in winchester? St. Peter’s catholic for example?
    We’re hoping to move to winchester very soon and wanted to apply here next year but would welcome opinions!!




    I will throw my two penny worth in and cover both the questions.
    Schools and the 6th form college are a vital element in Winchester’s desirability rating…private and state, with a couple of exceptions, the most notable being Stanmore…avoid! St Peters is a big school but seems to have a good reputation and is within the city limits, so is conceivably possible to find live/walk balance. Another great school is St Faiths which is CoE. The jewel in the crown for later years, Peter Symonds which has a staggeringly high success rate at Oxbridge.
    Winchester itself is best described as a village city. It has its characters, a rich culture, lots of Londoners from Nappy Valley, a good train service and a fabulous setting between 2 national parks ( New Forest and South Downs) It certainly helps to be interested in the great outdoors due to the surrounding countryside and river valleys already mentioned, as well as the world famous sailing waters of the Solent. There isn’t much employment in Winchester outside of the state sector, but most people commute out to london/Southampton etc. The queues on the M3 are to be watched out for…can be a nightmare. The shops are small with an interesting mix, lots of good pubs and places to eat these days, and is becoming more of a foodie heaven as we don’t have large department stores.
    History in bucket fulls including King Arthurs Round Table and physically it is a small city. Not as cosmopolitan as Oxford, but better than Salisbury and Chichester…some would say. Hope that helps.



    Thank you! Yes, st faiths looks amazing but they have pretty much said you need to live on about 2 streets because of all the siblings , and not being local we don’t have the church connections. So someone else mentioned St. Peter’s as a possibility. Glad to hear so many lovely things about winchester!



    p.s. Sunday Times has voted Winchester Best for Families in its series on the best places to live in UK. Critical acclaim indeed



    Hi, I’ve lived in Winchester for 6 years now and what I love about it (as well as everything that has already been said) is the sense of community. I actually know my neighbours and many of them have become friends! People have time to stop and chat in the street and are only too happy to help if you need anything – sharing childcare when the teachers are on strike or looking after pets when you’re away. We live in St Cross and what I love about it here is that we can walk into the centre of town in 10 minutes or be in the water meadows or at the foot of St Catherine’s hill for a country walk in 10 minutes, so we really have the best of both worlds.

    My daughter is at the already mentioned St Faith’s which is a great school, but there are lots of other equally good schools that might even suit different children better. Stanmore has improved a lot recently with a new head teacher in place and I know of several parents who have chosen Stanmore over St Faith’s as they thought it would suit their child better – it is a bigger school so has bigger grounds and more space for those who need to run! St Peter’s is a fantastic school with great facilities and a real ‘buzzy’ feeling but can also be hard to get into if you aren’t Catholic. There is a new primary opening this September (Westgate) which has a very impressive head teacher and will be a state-of-the-art brand new school which is likely to be excellent. Other good schools include: St Bede and Western and many of the village schools nearby are excellent too, Cheriton and Owslebury etc. we have a useful page on our website which links to all the schools and their OFSTED reports that you might find useful ( Good luck!



    Just wanted to add a few things. Totally agree with all the things that people have said about how wonderful Winchester is as a place. We moved to Twyford after 17 years in Hammersmith and we just love it here SO much. Re schools, I would say don’t get too hung about OFSTED reports and the individual schools. All schools in Winchester are great. A few years ago, we visited Western Primary School and St Bede’s and decided that my daughter HAD to go to St Bede’s so we HAD to live in Hyde. As property was so competitive there we ended up never doing our move to Winchester. The second time round we found a house that we liked in Twyford and then checked out the school. It wasn’t an outstanding school like my daughter’s school in Hammersmith but the quality of the overall education and lifestyle and village living is just so much better. When we thought Twyford was full we visited the 5 schools in Winchester that might have had a YR and Y2 place which were the not so popular ones and they were all great. Re Stanmore I believe they’ve just been inspected and I’ve been hearing amazing things about the school.

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