WINCHESTER Cathedral is to host a feast of five festivals in the coming weeks.

Hat Fair takes to the city's streets this weekend. As ever, intriguingly entitled acts such as Claudio Mutazzi (Street Coffee), Flit Flap Fly, The Great Dave, Hopscotch and How I Hacked My Way Into Space will adorn the Cathedral Close on Friday and Saturday.

Starting the following weekend, Winchester Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary brings nine days of music, talks, drama and visual arts to the city in a programme that includes homages to Rachmaninoff, Queen Victoria, Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

The weekend of July 15 and 16 are particularly significant to the Cathedral’s religious year. St Swithun is possibly the most famous of the Cathedral’s Patrons. His Saints’ Day is 15 July and, as well as looking out of the window for rain, it is the Friends’ Festival, which celebrates the extraordinary contribution that the Friends’ 3500 members make to the life of the Cathedral financially and in so many other ways. Their Festival Service is at 4.30pm and all are welcome.

The next day is the closest thing that the Cathedral has to a dedication festival, Foundation Sunday, when the community gathers with representatives of the Diocese at 10.00am and, led by the Diocesan Bishop, makes commitments to maintain the its ministry for the current year. Again, all are welcome.

Every three years the choirs and communities from Chichester and Salisbury Cathedrals join those of Winchester for the annual Southern Cathedrals Festival, which travels around the three churches in turn. This year is Winchester’s turn between 19 and 22 July and promises yet again to be a colourful and inspirational celebration of what Cathedrals have to offer to service-goers and visitors alike. Details are from No information about the next few weeks can go without mentioning Jane Austen. There have been and will be events throughout the region, many of which can be found at The Cathedral’s contribution is two ongoing exhibitions, The Jane Austen Story and Inspired by the Word, a Commemorative Service at 5.30pm on the actual anniversary (18 July). One thing that no one else can do, though, and it takes place on the morning of the 8.30am on the 24th when it would have taken place exactly 200 years before, is re-enact the Funeral Procession which will be followed from her final home on College Street to her final resting place in the Cathedral, led by specialist guides. Spaces are limited and tickets are from , where more Jane Austen information can be found.

All in all a busy and varied time for the Cathedral, but one which has much to offer.