Why is Winchester the UK’s 'practically perfect' place to live?


What’s the making of a good town? We all have different criteria. Some of us place a great deal of value in the night life, others in the quality of schools for their children. Restaurants with famous chefs and Michelin stars are good, and many would list the number of open spaces, the length of a commute to the capital or how much we can buy a house for.

The Itchen Way

Winchester got voted the best place to live in the UK by the readers of The Sunday Times in 2016, describing it as 'practically perfect'. Describing the best schools, low crime rates, good neighbourhoods reflected by expensive property and rental prices, a rich history, good shop and places to dine, and a relaxed nightlife it was a veritable joy to read.

What makes Winchester that bit more appealing than anywhere else, though? Is Winchester as good as it gets? Well, for starters history theorists have speculated as to whether Winchester was built on the site of Camelot. If you’re not impressed by that type of speculation, Winchester also impresses in the modern world as well as the hallowed halls of British history. It’s physically located between two great National Parks, the South Downs and the contrasting New Forest, so its denizens are surrounded by beauty. It’s also close to the coast, so sailors can enjoy The Solent and English Channel with ease. The open spaces of Salisbury Plain to the west are also a draw, especially for trekkers and sky divers.

Winchester's beautiful architecture

The town is well connected by motorways, A-roads, and trains to London, so it works as a good town to commute in from under 90 minutes. Culture wise, it’s got it all, with a well-frequented theatre royal, an arthouse cinema, the country’s largest farmers market, art galleries, award-winning restaurants, respected ale houses, and a number of annual festivals celebrating everything from music to gardening and back and again. What’s more, Winchester is also home to on the UK's bes- loved cathedrals.

Winchester is also a great place to holiday too. It’s certainly pretty enough and it’s possible to pack in a lot of activities no matter what you’re into, from long distance cycling in the Meon Valley to brass rubbing in the cathedral. It’s got pubs and restaurants galore too and a programme of evening entertainment to satisfy all tastes. So here’s the real question. Can a perfect place to live also be a perfect place to go on holiday?

The ruins of Winchester Palace

Here’s a list of the regional runners up in the Sunday Times list - how many of these towns are famous holiday destinations?

Posted by Ed on 1st November 2016