Winchester Cathedral photography

Earlier this week I enjoyed an impromptu afternoon in Winchester. The sun was shining so I called a friend for lunch (well, a salad and a drink from trusty M&S) and we sat and soaked up the spring sunshine in the Cathedral grounds.

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral in the spring sunshine

Winchester Cathedral is one of the largest in the country and is steeped in history. I’m not about to launch into a historical review of the building, mainly because, I won’t lie, Cathedral history isn’t exactly my Mastermind subject of choice, and besides, the Cathedral’s own website has plenty of historical detail – and if that can’t help, then I stand no chance.

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral

I was there just because.

To enjoy the architecture, the quiet grandeur, the stillness, the celebration of all that is great about our country. Ok, so I know it’s a celebration of all that is great about God, but for me it’s more than that (sorry God).

Winchester Cathedral hymns

Winchester Cathedral hymns

It’s about the men who built the Cathedral, who painted the stained glass windows, William Walker the diver who saved the building from collapse from flooding, the lives of the people buried there, the lives of the men who fought in battle and are remembered there, and the lives of the people we love and light candles for.

We remember

We remember

We Remember

Remembrance memorial, Winchester Cathedral

I lit candles for family and friends and asked whoever, or whatever is out there to look after them. I hope someone was listening.

Remembrance Candles

Remembrance candles. I hope someone or something was listening.

And then I enjoyed the Antony Gormley Sound II sculpture.

Antony Gormley Sound II

Antony Gormley Sound II, water and reflections

Go during wet months whilst the Crypt is flooded for a special view of the lonely sculpture standing amongst the reflections of the arches.

Perfect for an afternoon of wandering and wondering with your camera in tow.


Hillier Gardens 50/50 Photo and Paint Exhibition

If you live anywhere near Romsey in Hampshire and love photography, art or nature (or a combination of all three), get yourself down to the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens for the 50/50 Photo and Paint exhibition.

It’s totally free and is packed full of beautiful prints from local artists and photographers, including Anne Ruffell (I especially like her striking monochrome architecture images), Roy Brophy and Paul Sansome, who, it has to be said, is a bit of a landscape photography genius. I was mesmerised by his images of the Tuscan Hills in the dawn mist.

Go now, whilst the leaves are turning colour to enjoy the stunning gardens.

I say they’re stunning – I didn’t actually have time to venture into the gardens, but if the trees in the car park are anything to go by, you’re in for a treat.

Autumn at Hilliers

Autumn at Hillier Gardens

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves


If boats and coastal scenes are your thing, the famous and historical Hamble marina near Southampton in Hampshire is a great place to head with the camera.  Someone once said that the area is like the M25 of the sailing world, and they’re not wrong.  As the home of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the UK governing body for sailing, powerboating and windsurfing, and the setting of the 1980’s BBC television show, Howard’s Way, it goes without saying that Hamble is a good place to start for all things nautical.

Sun reflecting off boat railings and rigging

Sunshine on Steel – Sun reflecting off boat railings and rigging at Hamble

When the sun’s out, it glistens on the rows of yachts, rigging and water. There’s always plenty of activity in the marina, boatyard and at the various sailing clubs – and there’s a plethora of pubs, cafes and restaurants for keeping you fed and watered.

Whilst there are hundreds, if not thousands of boats moored in and around Hamble,  you may not get to see much adrenaline-filled, spray-forming action, as the boats pootle, rather than race in and out of marina. For that you’ll need to head further round the coast, or, better still, try and get on a boat to get really up-close and personal.

Royal Southern Yacht Club at Hamble

Royal Southern Yacht Club at Hamble

There are various parking spots offering easy walks to different photo opportunities.

Hamble Point Marina give you boats, a wide stretch of water, views out to Fawley and Calshot in one direction and Warsash in the other. As you head into Hamble, take Copse Lane on your right and follow it round into School Lane. Parking just outside the marina is free – although expect it to get busy during high season.

Hamble Point Marina

Hamble Point Marina

Go when the tide is out to be able to walk down onto the rocks and pebble shoreline. I was able to walk out quite a distance, although I did have to keep moving to stop my feet sinking! Make sure to take wellies or old shoes – the ground is muddy and it goes without saying to keep an eye on the environment and how far out is safe.

Fawley from Hamble

Fawley from Hamble

With a view of Fawley Refinery (Exon Mobil are based here and it’s arguably one of the most industrial areas on the Hampshire coast), it’s perhaps not the most idyllic horizon by day. However, wait until sundown for some stunning sunset images with a bit of a difference. The silhouettes are fantastic and with the smoke and the reflections I think it takes some beating.

Sundown at Fawley - from Hamble

Sundown at Fawley – from Hamble

For yet more yachts, river trips and the Hamble – Warsash water taxi, drive further round into Hamble itself and park in The Square car park (there’s free parking for 30 minutes), or continue down into the Foreshore car park.

River Trips from Hamble

River Trips from Hamble

Hamble Warsash Ferry

Hamble Warsash Ferry

The bright pink Hamble – Warsash ferry takes walk-on passengers the short journey across the harbour – good for photos, a bit of fun and means you get to see the coastline from a different angle.  Costs as at 12 May 2012 were £1.50 (adult) / £1.00 (child).

The history books tell us that ferry services have operated across this stretch of water since the time of King Henry VII, though I’m guessing the pink paint is a more recent feature!

Related articles

About the River Hamble

Hamble – Warsah Ferry

Keyhaven and Hurst Castle

English Heritage Hurst Castle

English Heritage Hurst Castle

A lighthouse, an imposing Tudor castle, a cute passenger ferry, views of The Needles off the Isle of Wight, a long stretch of pebbled beach overlooking Christchurch and Mudeford, a harbour and a yacht club with boats glistening in the sunlight.

Keyhaven and Hurst Castle offer some fantastic coastal photo opportunities.

Getting there

On the south coast of England, Keyhaven is a short drive from Lymington, through the pretty village of Milford on Sea  (where there are plenty of tea shops for a quick bite, or local pubs and fish and chip shops for more substantial offerings).

Park at the car park just behind Keyhaven Yacht Club / opposite the Gun Inn, or continue round Saltgrass Lane to park up on the side of the road. I parked at the yacht club, walked towards the sea with the boats on my left and turned right along the path with the marshes on my right and the harbour to my left.  Over the footbridge and up the bank, to reveal a stunning view of the Isle of Wight’s famous rocky outcrop and lighthouse.

A passenger ferry operates if you’d rather save your legs… although when I visited, low tide meant it was out of action.

Keyhaven Hurst Castle Ferry Port

Keyhaven – Hurst Castle ferry port in low tide

Photo Notes

The pebble beach is good news for photographers who want to get that lovely coastal shot, without the risk of sand in precious equipment. Refuelling and refreshment opportunities are scarce though, so snack supplies recommended.

The Castle

Ok, so it’s not a traditionally picturesque turreted fort, but Hurst Castle boasts some pretty impressive historical credentials and its location makes for some stunning views.  When I visited (albeit out of season) it was fairly quiet too, so good for ‘tourist-free’ photos.

Hurst Castle and Lighthouse

Hurst Castle and Lighthouse

Built by Henry VIII and used as the prison of Charles I before his trial and execution, it’s now an English Heritage site, so you can pay to see inside the imposing stone walls, or just take in the views from the outside.

The Lighthouse

Hurst Point Lighthouse, a white and green building on a fairly isolated stretch of land with the hallmark New Forest rough scrub makes for some eye-catching landscape shots.

Hurst Point Lighthouse

Hurst Point Lighthouse

I imagine with the right lighting conditions it would be a good setting for dramatic stormy scenes.

I spotted a lifesaver and almost too good to be true, the lighthouse lines up perfectly through the bright red and white circular frame.

Through the Round Window - Hurst Point Lighthouse through a lifesaver

Through the Round Window – Hurst Point Lighthouse

The Needles

The Needles, a rocky outcrop off the coast of the Isle of Wight are a series of three jagged chalk pillars – hence, ‘needles’, marked by an upside down flashing exclamation mark – or lighthouse. As familiar a British coastal sight as the White Cliffs of Dover, they make for a good focal point on the Hampshire horizon.

The Needles from Hurst Castle

I found a weather-worn groyn to frame a shot of this landmark.

Sailing Sailing

Keyhaven and Keyhaven Yacht Club is a great location for shots of sailing boats, whether in action on the water, or moored in the harbour.

Keyhaven Boats

Keyhaven Boats

I love the way these boats are queuing in an orderly, obedient fashion – ready and waiting to be called into service.


One of the main reasons people head to Mudeford on the south coast of England is for the pretty beach huts – some of the most expensive beach huts in the world.  With views of The Needles off the Isle of Wight in one direction and Christchurch Priory Church in the other, the sailing boats and sandy beaches, plus a cute ferry and little green land train, not forgetting the working fishermen and children with their crabbing pots, there are photo opportunities everywhere.

Mudeford Beach Huts

Mudeford Beach Huts

Mudeford Fisherman at Work

Mudeford Fisherman at Work

Needles in the distance

Isle of Wight Needles from Mudeford harbour

Boat and church in the Mudeford dawn mist

Boat and church in the Mudeford dawn mist

When to go?

For a more serene and tranquil experience (and less tourists to get in the way of your arty shots) go on a weekday if you can, or even better, go out of season (when parking is also considerably cheaper).

There are plenty of interesting focal points for sunset and sunrise shots at Mudeford, so getting there early, or sticking around until later in the day is highly recommended.  If you’re really committed you could hire out one of the beach huts to guarantee being in the right spot at the right time. We stayed over with friends for a 40th birthday celebration. Loads of fun, especially as we went out of season, so with no-one else around it really did feel like our own desert island!

Christchurch Priory Church in the dawn mist

Christchurch Priory Church in the dawn mist

Sunrise at Mudeford

Sunrise at Mudeford

Sunset at Mudeford

Sunset at Mudeford

How to get there?

Catch the cute ferry from Mudeford Harbour or drive round to Hengistbury Head to park up and catch the land train or walk the mile and a half (approx) route through the Nature Reserve.

What else?

Sea air, great views and a relaxed vibe, Mudeford is a great location for a day out with the camera. On Mudeford spit, the Beach House cafe serves light snacks to full-blown evening meals and of course New Forest ice cream! There’s also a cafe and public toilets at the car park at Hengistbury Head, so you’re well catered for. If you fancy exploring further afield, there’s plenty more to see along the coast line, including Highcliffe Castle which is a little walk around the bay.