In the valley of the River Itchen, historical Winchester is praised as a happy little bubble of cultural festivals, foodie spots, and farmers’ markets.

Winchester is a gorgeous and intimate city, with lots of photogenic architecture dating back through the centuries, and plenty of green spaces. It's small enough that once you've had a good wander, you will find it almost impossible to get lost. Playing host to Hampshire Pride in February, and lots of creative arts and writing events throughout the year, I've found it a very culturally enriched place to learn. One small warning: it's full of hills, something I'm used to now, but found difficult when I first moved here! (Second year student, University of Winchester)

What Winchester's famous for...

Winchester Cathedral

The cathedral was rescued from collapse in the 20th century, by a deep sea diver, who spent six years in the dark placing concrete under its waterlogged foundations.

Winchester nightlife, according to students

There are lots of pubs and bars scattered around Winchester town centre. All of them are normally really busy Friday and Saturday nights. There is only one club, which can get really busy Tuesdays and Fridays. It’s also only one or two stops away from Southampton. A lot of people travel there for only a couple of quid [to] enjoy the much bigger nightclub scene there. (University of Winchester student)

Jane Austen

The author is buried in the cathedral’s north aisle. When it comes to on-screen depictions of Mr Darcy, Winchester born Colin Firth is still considered the G.O.A.T.

Winchester nightlife, according to students

There are loads of restaurants and pubs. Pitcher and Piano is a pub in the day, however on a Thursday [becomes] a nightclub for students. You also have Vodka, a nightclub which is very popular on Tuesdays and Fridays. And then you have BOP, which is an on-campus university club, which is where everyone goes on a Wednesday. (Second year student, University of Winchester)

Colourful streets

The Square offers a splash of colour to juxtapose Winchester's ancient architecture. Each bollard is painted in the style of a famous artist (image: The Colour Factory).

Student life in Winchester

Local gems, tips, and things to do, as recommended by students.
Low on cash
There is no better way to spend an afternoon than browsing Winchester's numerous second-hand bookshops. There are countless hidden gems tucked away. Often, just browsing is such a lovely experience. (Second year student, University of Winchester)
Treat yourself
Incognito is a great cocktail bar – very unique and definitely somewhere to visit! Josie’s is a great breakfast place open most of the day, [and serves] pancakes, full English breakfasts, and even burgers. (Third year student, University of Winchester)
Friday night out
The main club in town, Vodka, is incredibly popular with students on Fridays. If you get yourself on the guest list (it's free), you get a cheaper entry before 11pm. (Second year student, University of Winchester)
Sunday chilling
A popular route is a walk up St Catherine's Hill. It's not too difficult a walk, and provides some great views of the city and nearby countryside. (Second year student, University of Winchester)
When family visit
Take them on a walking tour round the cathedral grounds, castle ruins, and along the river to one of the lovely pubs, such as Bishop on the Bridge. (Third year student, University of Winchester)
Feeling cultural
Winchester Art Gallery and Theatre Royal have events running constantly. Winchester School of Art has a gallery open to all. The Everyman Cinema is spacious, comfortable, retro, and a different experience to other cinema chains. (Second year student, University of Southampton)
Catch up with mates
County Arms does lovely pub food and cheap drinks, O’Neill's is also good for a drink, and has lots of different sharing platters and a really fun atmosphere. (Second year student, University of Winchester)
Grab a bite
My favourite cafe is Coffee lab. Personal fave order is a soy milk hot chocolate, vegan sausage and onion toastie, and a slice of whichever cake they’re serving. (Second year student, University of Winchester)

Winchester in pictures

Winchester Cathedral

This is Winchester Cathedral, where our graduation takes place. It will often be lit up in different colours, and at Christmas, becomes the centre of the Christmas Market. (Amy, second year student at University of Winchester)

Living in Winchester, according to students

Stanmore – I like living in this area, as it’s only a short 15-20 minute walk to campus. It’s one of the cheaper areas to live in Winchester, and is popular with students, although you get a nice mix of other residents in the area, such as older couples and families. There is a large Sainsbury’s about a 20-minute walk away, or you can take the bus to the big Tesco on the other side of Winchester. The only bad thing is that it’s far from the city centre – about a 40-minute walk to the high street or train station, but there are bus routes available. (Second year student, University of Winchester)

Josie's

Hoisin duck pancakes and only a 15-minute walk from campus. (Eloise Smith, second year student at University of Winchester)

Living in Winchester

Housing, travel, and budgeting tips.

Living in Winchester, according to students

Winnall – I chose to live there because it’s close to uni. [It] takes me about five minutes. It’s also the student area for Winchester School of Art students, near the big Tesco. It’s a secure place, close to town, and somewhat cheap – but it’s Winchester, so expect to be paying more than your friends in Southampton. I’m living here next year in the same house. The further into Winnall you go, it can get pretty gammy, but our house is near the main road so it’s nice. (Second year student, Winchester School of Art)
Where you'll find students
  • Stanmore
  • Winnall
  • City centre
Local transport
  • Weekly ticket: £11,80 approx.
  • Based on a Stagecoach University of Winchester Semester 2 Zone 1 = £200 – University of Winchester students only
  • Bus

Student money tips

We have a farmers' market every weekend, which sells local cheap food and drink. We have a great park and ride system, if you are commuting by car. The cheapest area to live in is Stanmore, and the houses are also really nice. (Third year student, University of Winchester)

The cost of living as a student soon adds up, us our budget calculator to find out roughly how much you'll need each month.

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