If you're not local, read on to find out why Winchester is a great choice for your CertTESOL course!
Winchester is the essence of England. A small city with a great history (it was England’s ancient capital), it is surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in the South of England. Tourists come from all over the world to visit the Cathedral, see where Jane Austen lived and John Keats composed his poetry. You can also visit nearby prehistoric Stonehenge, the stunning Jurassic Coast in Dorset and sample the local ales in our cosy pubs.
If you've got a minute, take a look at this video about our beautiful city:
Although Winchester feels a million miles from London it is actually just one hour away by train and well-located for the major airports and the rest of Europe. You can easily go to London for day trips, to see the sights, do some serious shopping, visit museums or go to the theatre. The ferry ports of Southampton and Portsmouth are also close by and allow overseas trainees to visit France and the rest of Europe before or after their course with us.
We can arrange for you to stay with one of our friendly Winchester host families or if you prefer the independence of a self-catering option, that is also an option.
You will find Winchester has everything within walking distance, so getting from your accommodation to the course centre and using the public amenities is much easier than in a big city. We can provide excellent accommodation at low prices through our network of host families used for our foreign students.
Local area map
Winchester's location in the South of England - wide-area map
Winchester is an ancient city which has been occupied for over 2,000 years. It was an important centre for the Romans, the capital of King Alfred the Great, and under the Saxons became a vital centre of religious and political power. During the Middle Ages Winchester became a civil war battleground between Stephen and Queen Matilda, before half the population was killed by the Black Death. There haven't been any cases recently, you will be glad to know.
The city continued to host royal christenings and banquets throughout the time of Henry VIII (who had his portrait painted in the centre of the Round Table in the Great Hall to hint at an Arthurian lineage).
During the Civil War, Cromwellian troops vandalised the Cathedral and library, smashing the West window. Fragments of glass were secretly gathered by local people and what looks like a modern, abstract design is the result of their attempt to puzzle the stained glass back together after the troops' departure.
The town prospered during the Georgian era and is associated with the novelist Jane Austen, who died here and the great poet John Keats, who composed Ode to Autumn while walking along the water meadows.
The city is packed with historic buildings, monuments and museums waiting to be explored. Apart from the not-to-be-missed Cathedral, there are beautiful riverside walks, award-winning pubs and restaurants and a tempting array of independent shops, all surrounded by fabulous rolling countryside and pretty Hampshire villages.
Things to see and do in Winchester:
Winchester College - The city's famous public school was founded in 1382 and there are regular tours of the beautiful old buildings.
Winchester Cathedral - a place of worship for over 900 years, Winchester's world-famous cathedral is remarkable for its hidden treasures, including the Winchester Bible and Jane Austen's tomb. Tip!: to avoid paying to visit, go along at 5 pm any evening for Evensong and enjoy this graceful service. The choir sings on certain evenings.
The Great Hall and King Arthur's Round Table - Winchester is famous for its legendary Arthurian Round table, in The Great Hall - the only remaining part of Winchester Castle.
Winchester Discovery Centre - Winchester's modern library is an excellent resource with exhibitions and galleries, free internet access and a cafe.
City Museum - uncover Winchester's past at the family-friendly City Museum.
The Westgate - a fortified medieval gateway which served as a debtors' prison for 150 years. It has splendid rooftop views across Winchester.
The City Mill - perched over the fast-flowing River Itchen, Winchester City Mill has regular milling demonstrations, children's quizzes and an interactive exhibition.
Winchester Military Museums - home to one of the most sizeable collections of regimental history outside London in the form of five museums.
Winchester Sport & Leisure Park - Incredible new structure, opened May 2021 with a gym, 50 m swimming pool and squash courts.