Moving to Winchester
Are you moving to Winchester? Located in the scenic county of Hampshire, this bustling cathedral city was once the capital of England, in King Alfred the Great’s era. His famous Round Table is affixed to a wall in the last remaining part of Winchester Castle, the Great Hall.
It is an important business hub for the area, with a plethora of good schools. Just an hour’s drive from London, the city has a low crime rate, is a tourism mecca, has over 2000 businesses, wonderful accommodation and a low unemployment rate. Voted the best place to live in the UK in 2016, it is surrounded by sublime small country villages and towns. The city itself is compact and small.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Winchester report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Winchester On the Map
Situated in the south-east of England, Winchester is ideal for commuters with good access to the M3 and nearby Southampton airport, and is on the South Western Main Line, enabling rail commuters to London a trip of around 70 minutes.
Dominated by the famous cathedral, one of the largest in Europe which dates back to 1079, it is home to the graves of King Canute and Jane Austen.
There are a number of bus operators running various routes in and around the city and out to the surrounding villages.
The railway station only has 2 platforms but is always a busy passenger station. The line on the western side runs in a northerly direction towards London Waterloo, while the one on the eastern side run south towards Eastleigh. There it splits, going to Southampton Centre, Weymouth and Bournemouth, or Portsmouth Harbour.
Road traffic in the city centre is heavy, but there is the Bikeabout Scheme, where a bike can be hired on a daily basis from Shopmobility, along with scooters and wheelchairs.
Southampton Airport is just 11 miles away and takes eight minutes by train and, traffic permitting, 14 minutes by road.
Living in the city centre is costlier than in the surrounding villages, but as Winchester is so small, there are many areas and well-appointed streets within the city limits that are handy for commuting. The cobbled streets, the roomy, but expensive, accommodation, the restaurants and pubs, and walks along the river Itchen, with its otter population all add up to a good life, along with being in a catchment area for the ‘right’ schools.
Depending on the type of housing you are looking for, whether it’s an ultra-modern city centre apartment, a country estate nestled in the local landscape, a state-of-the-art executive home, or a Victorian cottage, they are all here – at a price.
To the south of the city centre, this older part of Winchester has a distinct village feel and is one of the more expensive with massive Victorian homes. Christchurch Road is very exclusive and in demand. The area is very popular with families with sons attending Winchester College as day students.
ST GILES HILL
Located on the eastern side of the city, at the summit of a chalk spur, the view from here is amazing with a panorama of the city. Popular with those who need access to the M3, living mainly in terraced housing, the residents here generally have a higher than average level of education. The population is less ethnically diverse than the national UK average. St Swithun’s School for Girls is highly rated so the area is popular with parents.
Another affluent area, the housing is predominantly detached. The residents are mainly employed in managerial, professional or administrative positions, and a higher than average number of them are degree educated. There are a number of good schools in the vicinity.
Close to the northern gate into Winchester, and to Hyde Abbey, Hyde is the area for young families. The streets are lined with well-maintained Victorian semis and terraces and are reasonably priced when compared with other areas in this expensive city. The area encompasses Andover Road, Hyde Street, City Road, Stockbridge Road and North Walls, and its train station connects to Basingstoke, London, Southampton and many other southern towns.
ORAM’S ARBOUR AND FULFLOOD
West of the city, Oram’s Arbour, around Clifton Road, is very popular. With a mix of small and large Georgian and early Victorian houses, cottages and villas, the best houses on Clifton Road would sell for over £1 million. Just to the east, Fulflood is home to two sought-after schools: Westgate Comprehensive and the Peter Symonds sixth form college. Although cheaper than Oram’s Arbour, it is fast catching up in house prices.
The housing is mainly detached and semi-detached, with a number of purpose-built flats. Along with the norm in this part of Winchester, the population is less ethnically diverse than the rest of the country. A good street to be in for the catchment area for desirable schools.
This newer part of the city is less expensive and close to the city centre. The majority of accommodation is semi-detached housing. Winchester Station is just a mile away.
Lark Hill Rise in the Badger Hill area is predominantly Georgian detached housing, whilst the rest of the surrounds are more of a modern estate. Quite expensive, but it’s quick to get into town and schools.
Looking outside of the city, Romsey is 11 miles south-west of the centre. A mix of townhouses, cottages and terraces with good local amenities, plus a train service to Waterloo appeals to commuters. There are a couple of Ofsted rated ‘good’ primary schools and secondary schools, with Halterworth rating as ‘exceptional’. Also here is King’s School – the top-ranking state school. There are good roads and trains to Southampton and Winchester.
Famous for its excellent trout fishing, this town is nine miles west of Winchester, on the river Test. Not quite a town, but bigger than a village, there is a good primary school and nice local shops. Period properties line the broad high street.
ALRESFORD – pronounced Allsford
This lovely Georgian town started life as a wool village. There are six primary schools nearby and one secondary. The houses, with their colour-washed walls, were mainly built after the fires in the 17th century, and some still have their original 13th century cellars. Seven miles to the north-east of Winchester, popular with London commuters, there are some lovely local shops and an old steam railway called the Watercress Line. Alresford is the unofficial capital of watercress and this newly popular vegetable is guaranteed at the bi-weekly farmer’s market.
Three miles south of Winchester, this picturesque village has only around 630 houses, but it does have a mainline train station, so it is basically one and a quarter hours from London Waterloo. It has its own primary school and decent local shops.
The parish includes the areas around the village and is 19 miles north west of Winchester. This little village has a primary school, the renowned Abbotts Ann Church of England primary, a nursery school, and award-winning village shop, two pubs and a church. Definitely not for city slickers.
Just four miles west of Winchester, Sparsholt has a population less than 1000. It is on one bus line from Winchester Bus Station. Despite the size of this small village, it boasts a primary school and a village shop, which is said to have the smallest internal post office in the UK.
Who Lives and Works in Winchester
With a population of only around 45,000, this small city is surrounded by an abundance of small villages and rolling countryside, boosting total numbers to around 121,000. Hampshire is an agricultural county, and Winchester hosts the largest farmer’s market in the country, famous for high quality local food and drink. The population is justifiably proud of the city, not only is it rated number one in the best quality of life study, it also comes a close second to York for the most Christmassy town in the country. Little wonder the local folk wax lyrical about their hometown.
The district measures around 250 square miles and 33% of the residents live within the city area of Winchester. The city is a designated heritage city, attracting in excess of 5.6 million visitors every year. Unemployment levels are very low at around 0.6%, while house prices are amongst the highest in the region. The ethnic minority population of the city and surrounds is 4.4%, well below the national average.
There are over 2,000 businesses of all varieties and sizes, but still, the area is known as one of the most family-friendly commuter towns, offering a quieter residential area than the capital city, but with the higher salaried jobs just an hour’s train ride away.
Winchester’s major employers include Emirates, John Lewis, Enterprise, Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury and Greggs.
The Best Bits
The low crime rate, the lovely – albeit costly – accommodation, extremely low unemployment, proximity to the beautiful countryside, the huge cathedral, ultra-fast broadband, the list goes on. Some of the highlights:
The famous bi-weekly Sunday Farmers Market
The regular art, antiques and retro markets.
Festivals – the hat fair, Christmas market, cocktail week, wine and writer’s festivals, Mayfest and the ginchester fete, chilli, cheese, comedy, jazz – the list goes on.
The Winchester Festival in July features some of the most well-known names in theatre, visual arts, music and Literature
The great schools, museums and theatres.
High-end retail outlets such as LK Bennett and White Company.
Green areas and waterside walks, including Winnall Moors, Abbey Gardens, St Giles Hill, and the magnificent Cathedral grounds.
The Medieval city centre, with cobbled streets, small alleys and lop-sided buildings. The old city walls, timber-beamed architecture and offbeat shops, and the scenic river, the Itchen, all add to the beauty of the town.
Winchester Cathedral and grounds.
A good property investment area. House prices have increased by 79% in the last ten years, the highest growth rate in the UK.
Bringing the Kids
The area is ideal for raising a family, with a great reputation for education.
- The primary schools are all rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. However, St Faith’s, St Bede’s, and St Peter’s primaries, Kings’ secondary and Peter Symonds sixth form college are all rated ‘outstanding’. Pilgrims Prep is ‘excellent’, and Winchester College and St Swithun’s both appear on the list of the country’s top independent schools.
- Winchester University runs programmes in excess of 17 subject areas such as journalism, law, business, archaeology and social work, with a growing reputation in performing arts, humanities, and social sciences.
- There are, apparently, no bad schools in Winchester. Many families move into their choice of school’s catchment area to give their children a better chance of admission and, even then, competition is fierce.
- There are a number of excellent private schools in the area, including St Swithun’s, The Pilgrim’s School and Prince’s Mead School. The fees are high and most require an entrance exam to be written.
- There are no international schools in Winchester.
Relocating to Winchester
One of the most beautiful, historic cities in the UK, Winchester offers up-market accommodation and a superb quality of life. This culture-packed city, with its low crime rate, a well-educated workforce, brilliant schools, and listing as the best place to live in England, make this an excellent location for expats and their families. However, the tricky school catchment system is difficult to navigate, as are the accommodation rental lease requirements. Employing the services of an expert relocation specialist will guide you through this difficult time, easing family stresses and helping you all settle in.
Average Monthly Rent - Winchester
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre||£950|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of centre||£700|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre||£1,675|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of centre||£1,200|