We woke to brilliant sunshine, strangely combined with a temperature of only 7℃, but it has been a glorious day, driving through the rolling Hampshire countryside. Our first stop was Alresford, a pleasant village not far from Winchester.
Then it was on to Mottisfont, the site of a Cistercian Abbey that became someone’s estate following the dissolution of the monasteries. Only the crypt of the old Abbey remains, but it was very atmospheric, especially with a local group singing a capella above us. The main attraction is the walled gardens and the extensive estate that surrounds the house.
We continued on to Winchester, first seeing the preserved working Water Mill in the city centre. The mill race is part of the crystal clear River Itchen, and it is extremely fast flowing. Winchester is a small but lovely city, with interesting medieval buildings. It has many historical connections to King Alfred, King Arthur’s legend and the powerful Bishops of Winchester.
We visited the Cathedral, which is very impressive, and then followed the River walk to the water meadows. We returned to the Cathedral for Evensong, sitting in the quire directly behind the choristers. The singing was very atmospheric.
Afterward we repaired to the adjacent pub for dinner.