I was surprised at how many people were lunching in Winchester Cathedral gardens, in some cases sitting on tombstones! Perhaps it reflects a lack of green space in city centres but it seems a strange place to stop for lunch.
The Hat Fair is an annual event with highlights local performance groups. In 2003 it ran from July 2-7. 2004 will be their 30th anniversary. While we were there we saw a very interesting acrobatic group which performed with some local students.
Great Hall in Castle Street (open daily 10 - 17, free) has been site of many historical events for centuries, for example, Parliament held its first meeting here in 1246. First fort on this hill was built by the Romans, followed by King Arthur’s Camelot. William the Conqueror built next fortress in the 11th century. Henry II built his castle on the remains of these fortifications (you can see them unearthed on the court yard). What remains now is the Great Hall, containing a Round Table, modeled after King Arthur’s and dated six centuries after his legendary rein. A blank 18-foot table hung on the wall for the first 150 years until Henry VIII commissioned the table to be painted with an Arthurian figure made after his own likeness.
The Great Hall also contains an impressive statue of Queen Victoria commissioned in 1887 to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
Through the great Hall is Queen Eleanors’ Garden, a reconstruction of a medieval garden with a sculptured falcon on the fountain. The wall forming one side of the garden is all that remains from the King’s House, built by Christopher Wren for Charles II in 1683.
The Buttercross seems to be a resting place/meeting point for people in Winchester. Many people meet firends here or sit down to have lunch or to relax.