Marvel at the symmetrical towers and vast arched windows of Winchester Cathedral’s magnificent façade and step inside to discover one of the longest naves in Europe. Admire intricate wood carvings and take a look at one of the oldest remaining English bibles.
Visible from across the city, the 11th-century Winchester Cathedral has a grand, Gothic exterior that is best appreciated by strolling through the surrounding park.
Make your way through the entrance and into the sprawling nave. The 524-foot (160-meter) long room is decorated with candles and beautiful wall paintings. Stroll along the rows of choir stalls that lead toward the altar. Made from oak, these stalls feature unique carvings of mythical beasts and strange human figures.
From here, you can walk to the adjacent library room. Inside this small peaceful space, you’ll find a stand holding one of the last 12th-century bibles in England. It is believed this holy book was commissioned in 1160 by Henry of Blois and written in Latin by a single scribe. Gaze in awe at pages of images and ornately decorated capital letters, which remain as vivid and colorful as they were when they were drawn hundreds of years ago.
The crypt in the heart of the cathedral is not to be missed. Within this labyrinth of stone pillars and low domed ceilings stands the Sound II statue, designed by famous British sculptor Antony Gormley. This mysterious life-size figure was made from lead, based on a plaster cast of Gormley’s own body.
Before you leave, climb the 213 steps to the top of the main tower to see the bells hanging overhead. Turn your attention to the spectacular view that extends across much of the city and surrounding countryside.
Winchester Cathedral is located in the city center. It is open year-round and there is a small entry fee. Tours of the ground floor, crypt and tower run every hour. Tours are often busy, so it’s best to book ahead.