We were lucky enough to spend the week in the pretty little city of Winchester. The kids have a two week half term so we went away for the second week and took the dog. We stayed in a quirky Grade 2 listed cottage on Beggars Lane which was a short walk into the centre of Winchester.
Winchester Cathedral dominates the city and we were able to visit during the day. It’s dog-friendly (like Canterbury Cathedral which we visited earlier this year), so we were all able to visit together. The Cathedral is notable for being the burial place of Jane Austen and having a crypt which floods. On our visit the crypt was flooded due to the recent rain, which was a very strange experience. There are lots of mentions of the submariner, William Walker, who spent six years shoring up the foundations of the cathedral. He saved the cathedral from collapsing, but it still fills with water. The Crypt provides a stunning setting for Antony Gormley’s sculpture Sound II.
Poppy Fields at Winchester Cathedral
Our week away coincided with an immersive light and sound installation at the Cathedral. Called Poppy Field by Luxmuralis, the immersive experience takes you a journey of reflection and hope.
The artworks reflect on the end of the First and Second World Wars, as well as looking ahead for peace in our world. Accompanying the projections is specially composed music by David Harper and poetry recorded by Oscar-winning actor, Eddie Redmayne.
The illuminations made the Cathedral look quite spooky from the outside. We walked around the buildings on Halloween and the mist and colours made for a perfect Halloween walk with the kids.
As soon as we found out about the immersive experience we booked our tickets online. This meant we were able to turn up at our slot and only had to wait a few minutes before we were allowed in. The timed slots meant, although it was busy, it wasn’t too crowded and people were moving around all the time.
You had to follow a route around the Cathedral and there were different installations in different parts. There was a moving tribute to the NHS, which looked at nursing through history and the roles of nurses such as Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole. There was a sea of poppies tumbling down the walls. The Lady Chapel featured beautiful music along with photos from the First World War. The finale piece was focussed on the Cathedral’s 16th Century ‘West Window’ with projections lighting-up the shattered glass, reflecting the symbolic human spirit to rebuild and survive.
It was a great experience and made us see the Cathedral in a totally different way.