Keats Walk

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Introduction

Literature
Family friendly
dog: Dog friendly
City centre
Shorter walk
Nature

The English Romantic poet, John Keats, stayed in Winchester during the late summer and early autumn of 1819. Keats enjoyed a daily walk through the Cathedral Close and water meadows to St Cross.
Inspired by the natural beauty of Winchester on Sunday 19 September 1819 he penned his ode ‘To Autumn’ on his return. The area has changed little in the 200 years since Keats visited – read on and take the walk yourself…

The round trip covers approximately two miles on pavements, gravel paths and grass.

Steps

1
0.2
miles

Winchester Visitor Information Centre

The walk begins at the visitor information centre in the Victorian Guildhall, close to King Alfred’s statue.

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2
348
feet

Winchester Cathedral

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3
466
feet

Cathedral Inner Close

Keats described the Close as: ‘two college-like squares seemingly built for the dwelling place of Deans and Prebendaries – garnished with grass and shaded with trees’.

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4
276
feet

Cheyney Court

One of Winchester’s most photographed buildings is Cheyney Court, formerly the Bishop’s courthouse.

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5
331
feet

Kingsgate

On your left is Kingsgate, one of only two surviving city gates, with the tiny church of St-Swithun-upon-Kingsgate above.

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6
259
feet

Number 8 College Street

Jane Austen spent the last few weeks of her life at Number 8 College Street, where she composed the comic verse Venta, her last piece of writing.

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7
338
feet

Winchester College

This area of Winchester is dominated by Winchester College, founded in 1382 by Bishop William of Wykeham.

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8
0.2
miles

Wolvesey Castle

On your left at the end of College Street is the present-day bishop’s palace, Wolvesey.

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9
0.6
miles

Water Meadows

Walk through the water meadows as Keats did, alongside a chalk stream of the River Itchen with its trout, moorhens and wild flowers.

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10
1
miles

St Catherine’s Hill

To the right are the neatly clipped cricket pitches of Winchester College and ahead is the towering mound of St Catherine’s Hill.

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11

Hospital of St Cross

Keats described St Cross as: ‘a very interesting old place, both for its gothic tower and alms-square, and for the appropriation of its rich rents to a relation of the Bishop of Winchester’ – a reference to a contemporary corruption scandal which was one of the themes of Anthony Trollope’s novel The Warden 35 years later.

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End