116km (72 miles) SW of London; 19km (12 miles) N of Southampton

The most historic city in all of Hampshire, Winchester is big on legends because it's associated with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

The city is also linked with King Alfred, who is honored today by a statue. King Alfred the Great, born in 849, was crowned king in 871, ruling until his death in 899. He is called "the Great," because he defended Anglo-Saxon England against Viking raids, formulated a code of laws, and fostered a rebirth of religious and scholarly activity.

Of course, Winchester is a mecca for Jane Austen fans. You can visit her grave in Winchester Cathedral (Emma Thompson did, while working on her adapted screenplay of Sense and Sensibility), as well as Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen's house, which is 24km (15 miles) east of Winchester.

Its past glory but a memory, Winchester is essentially a market town today, lying on the downs along the Itchen River.