Property writer Arabella Youens is naming her favourite small cities in Britain. Today she turns her gaze towards the fine little spot of Winchester.
Up for consideration now is Winchester, a city in miniature that’s picturesque, tiny and well laid out – ideal for those who love a place where they can exist almost entirely on foot. ‘You can walk into the centre from wherever you choose to live,’ says George Clarendon of Knight Frank.
‘The main areas are all pedestrianised and there’s plenty on offer in terms of coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques.’
Beyond the cathedral lie the water meadows, where walkers can stroll beside the River Itchen and out into the surrounding fields. The 100-mile South Downs Way starts here and leads all the way to Eastbourne.
The city is perennially popular with downsizers, while an added level of competition comes in the form of couples in their fifties who move to the city to put their children through sixth-form college. And as if that weren’t enough, more and more people are discovering that the road and rail links are good enough to make it a viable commuter option – albeit a pricey one, at £5,300 for a season ticket to Waterloo.
You’ll need a budget of around £1 million to buy a three or four-bedroom house but if you can stretch that far you could get something central and beautiful such as this one, for sale at £925,000 via Charters.
If you can stretch further, some of the properties on the market are breathtaking, as this spectacular place for sale at £1.485 million via Jackson-Stops demonstrates:
As pretty as it is outside, it’s arguably even finer inside:
You don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy the Winchester lifestyle, however. This four-bedroom townhouse is for sale at £600,000 via Winkworth, yet still boasts character, charm and a central location:
Overton, Winchester and Kingsclere offer a commutable country lifestyle.
During the Middle Ages, The Palace House was one of the finest residences of the Bishops of Winchester.
BBC reporter Laura Trevelyan tells the story of her great-great-great grandfather - the man who brought the world the 'Winchester