COVID-19 update: The cathedral is not currently open for general visits or tours but remains open for private prayer and reflection 11-3pm (1pm-3pm on Sundays). From the 8th of March, two weekly public services will resume inside the Cathedral, Wednesdays, 12noon, starting 10th March and Fridays, 12noon, starting 12th March. Please continue to check the website for the latest updates. All services will continue to be online, and everyone is welcome to join.
Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation is a stunning new three-level exhibition, part-funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The exhibition takes visitors through 1,000 years of history and reveals some of the Cathedral’s greatest treasures including all four volumes of the Winchester Bible.
The Winchester Bible, housed in Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation, is the largest and perhaps finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles. A single scribe wrote out its entire text in Latin, while artists worked its exquisitely illuminated capital letters. Their glowing colours, including gold and lapis lazuli, are as intense today as 800 years ago. To go to our page with more information on the Winchester Bible please click here.
This beautiful 17th-century library houses a collection of rare books bequeathed by Winchester’s Bishop Morley, and still boasts its original carved shelves. He also left money to buy ‘two globes of the best and largest size’, one terrestrial and one celestial. You can find the Library up a staircase in the south transept.
This mysterious life-size statue of a man contemplating the water held in his cupped hands is the work of the celebrated British sculptor Antony Gormley. You can find Sound II, fashioned from lead out of a plaster cast of the artist’s own body, in the Cathedral crypt, which floods during rainy months.
Seen from Winchester’s surrounding hills, the Cathedral is still the city’s most prominent landmark. The longest medieval cathedral in Europe, it’s also an outstanding example of all the main phases of English church architecture from the 11th century until the early 16th century, when much of today’s building was complete.
These exquisite early 14th-century oak choir stalls, where the priory monks once sang their daily offices, are an outstanding survival. Richly decorated with human figures, tiny heads and carved animals surrounded by luxuriant curling leaves, they are thought to be the work of a Norfolk master carpenter, William of Lyngwode.
Winchester holds its own with any European destination for those in search of an authentic Christmas experience. The Cathedral is at the heart of the city’s celebration, with its many Christmas services, Christmas Market and ice rink. Come and experience Christmas in Winchester for yourself and discover why we think Winchester is England’s Christmas capital.
Many of the wooden seats in our choir stalls lift up to reveal small, exquisitely carved ledges that once allowed the monks of St Swithun’s Priory to perch, half sitting and half standing, during their long hours of worship. Featuring comical portraits, animals and plants, this collection of 14th-century misericords is one of the largest England.
This ancient, polished dark stone font, with its unique carvings of the miracles of St Nicholas, the kindly children’s saint, is one of the Cathedral’s greatest treasures. It was brought from Tournai, in modern Belgium, in the 12th century, and has been in constant use ever since. You can find it on the north side of the nave. To go to our page with more information on the Tournai marble font please click here.
The Cathedral’s historic buildings and beautiful gardens offer a perfect setting for any event you wish to host, including, wedding receptions, social gatherings, business meetings and conferences. And whatever your food and drink requirements, our in-house catering team will be happy to help.
In 1905 a team of about 150 workmen set out to deal with the problematic Cathedral foundations once and for all. The current wooden foundations were rotting away beneath the Cathedral and part of the building was beginning to subside. William Walker, a deep-sea diver, toiled in darkness below the walls of the Cathedral for nearly six years in order to replace the foundations. To go to our page with more information on William Walker please click here.
The wealthy and powerful William of Wykeham served twice as Chancellor of England and founded Winchester College and New College Oxford. He led the remodelling of the nave in its current form. You can see his tomb and chantry chapel, where daily masses were said for his soul, in the nave’s south aisle.