Winchester is a small city in the south of England that is packed full of hidden gems. The first time I visited Winchester I was there just to take a novelty photograph so I could make nerdy references to the cities name. Soon after arriving however, I fell in love with the place and its beautiful architecture and ended up living there for three years. So, what are the best things to do in Winchester? Read on to find out!
Where is Winchester, England?
Winchester is a small city located in County Hampshire, England. It’s a short train from Southampton and around an hour away from London. If you fly into Southampton Airport the train to WInchester is just 100 steps away.
Things to Enjoy in Winchester:
- The Winchester Highstreet
- Museums & Heritage
- Marwell Zoo
- The University of Winchester
One of the best bits about Winchester’s high street is just how beautiful it is. From the top or bottom of the Winchester high street you can admire this historic street and all its vendors. From the Westgate at the very top, to the beloved Buttercross, and all the way to King Alfred’s statue the Winchester high street is a lovely place for a leisurely walk, or a bustling day of shopping.
Winchester prides itself on having a wide range of independent shops you can peruse. While in Winchester why not check out:
A high-end jewellery store offering personalised advice, high quality jewellery, and watches.
Located at 29 High St, Winchester SO23 9BL. Open 7 days a week.
A world-class tea shop offering over 150 teas which you can take home in resealable pouches. If you fall in love with one of their blends you can also order it again online.
Located at 156 High Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9BA. Open 7 days a week.
A chocolate shop with a huge selection of regular and seasonal creations. At Chococo you can create personalised chocolate gifts and hampers to take home. They also offer great coffees and gelato to enjoy alfresco.
Located at 152 High St, Winchester SO23 9AY. Open 7 days a week.
A supplier of crystals and fossils that also sell jewellery made from crystals. Great for a souvenir.
Located at 66 High St, Winchester SO23 9DA. Open 7 days a week.
Jeremy France Jewellers
An independent family run jewellers which has been in Winchester for 30 years. Perfect for window shopping or to treat yourself.
Located at 32 The Pentice, High Street, Winchester, SO23 9BL. Open 7 days a week.
A quirky chocolate shop bringing ethical and interesting options to the English chocolate market. Grab yourself some organic or vegan chocolate or maybe even some luxury truffles.
Located at 41 High St, Winchester SO23 9BL. Open 7 days a week.
Offord & Sons
An independant jewellery store offering beautiful jewellery as well as alterations, refurbishment, and repairs. They have been serving customers in Winchester for over 45 years.
Located at 86 High Street, Winchester, SO23 9AP. Open 7 days a week.
One of the best dog friendly things to do in Winchester is a visit to the Pet Pantry to treat your pets to all their little hearts desire. Make sure to explore the range of pet supplies there and say hello to their staff and patrons (especially the ones that are dogs).
Located at 80a High St, Winchester SO23 9AP. Open 7 days a week.
The Old Fashioned Sweetie Shop
This is a great stop for the kids but the grown ups will love it too. Styled after an old fashioned sweet shop this lovely spot is a great place to grab some treats from their extensive range. Their glass jars and stocked shelves are packed with traditional sweets, more recent creations, and even American candy.
Located at 62 High St, Winchester SO23 9BX. Open 7 days a week.
Warren & Son
Established in Winchester in 1835, Warren & Son are the longest running commercial business on WInchesters high street. They are a stationers that have all you could ever want including stationery, gifts, office supplies and more.
Winchester has a long history of holding markets on the streets even dating back to medieval travelling fairs. St. Gile’s Fair named after Winchester’s St. Giles Hill is just one example in Winchester’s history of market selling. St Gile’s Fair in the medieval age saw people in Winchester experiencing new foods, drinks, and cultures as fairs would travel around the country. The fair was a huge anual event for medieval and early modern Winchester and its timing was dictated by church events (hense, the saints name) and the agricultural calendar.
Nowadays, Winchester’s markets are on a more regular schedule but you can still expect fantastic food, drink, and culture just like Winchester residents in the medieval age.
Weekly Market in Winchester
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday Winchester hosts a street market where you can pick up everything from local produce to bric-a-brac.
- Thursday (9am – 4pm)
- Friday (9am – 4pm)
- Saturday (9am – 5pm)
Sunday Market in Winchester
Winchester’s Sunday market changes weekly based on the week of the month. Sunday markets in WInchester include a vintage and antiques marker, an art and design market, and a bi-monthly farmers market where you can pick up the best produce Hampshire has to offer.
- 1st Sunday of every month – Antiques and Vintage Market (9am-4pm)
- 2nd Sunday of every month – Farmers Market (9am – 2pm)
- 3rd Sunday of every month – Art and Design Market (9am – 4pm)
- 4th Sunday of every month – Farmers Market (9am – 2pm)
Restaurants on Winchester’s High Street
This chic restaurant on the Winchester highstreet is providing asian and asian fushion food, specialising in Japanese Cuisine. If you’re hungry on your walk up the highstreet you can enjoy sushi, bao buns, or tempura along with a refreshing bubble tea. Grab lunch between 11:30 am & 2:30pm or dinner between 5pm & 9:30pm.
Located at 65 High St, Winchester SO23 9DA. Open Tuesday – Saturday.
This cute local chocolate shop also serves up patisserie treats and lunch items to eat inside or outside their little shop. Why not try a signature hot chocolate and a toastie for brunch? This interesting chocolate destination also encourages customers to creat drawings which decorate the shop and get shared on their Instagram, an extra bit of fun for all the family.
Located at 152 High St, Winchester SO23 9AY. Open 7 days a week.
Nestled beside the Winchester buttercross this rustic little bakery finds its home in a historic Winchester building (dating to the 16th or 17th century). They serve a selection of freshly baked pastries as well as hot and cold drinks.
Located at 43 Winchester High Street, Winchester SO23 9BL. Open 7 days a week.
- The Bridge Patisserie
- Cabinet Rooms
- Cafe Bar at the Theatre Royal
- Hoxton Bakehouse
- Coffee Lab.
- 4th Street Kitchen
- The Handlebar Cafe
- Open House Deli
- Frieda’s Tearoom
- Cafe Monde
- The Dispensary Kitchen
- The General Store
- The Chesil Rectory
- Forte Kitchen & The Hatch
- Light of Bengal
- Oriental Star
- Gurkha’s Inn
- Taste of Gurkhas
- Bangkok Bistro
- Noodle Express
- Mr. So
- Kyoto Kitchen
- Gandhi Indian Cuisine
- Palm Pan Asia
- Shanghai Papa
- Tanoshii Fusion
- Three Joes
Seafood & Steak
- Inn The Park
- Greens Bar & Kitchen
- Autumn House
- The Winchester Orangery
Winchester is most beautiful in the sunshine but these parks and walks will leave you breathless no matter the weather. Take in the natural beauty of Winchester in these parks with your family, your partner, or alone.
A stunning park where the river Itchen flows, a perfect spot for a picnic.
65 The Broadway, Winchester SO23 9BE
The perfect place to relax on a sunny day and take in the sight of Winchester’s beautiful cathedral.
9 The Cl, Winchester SO23 9LS
St Giles Hill
If you don’t mind a trek up some stairs the views from the top of St Giles Hill are well worth it.
Winchester, SO23 0AD
St Catherine’s Hill
A beautiful country walk awaits you just a short trip out from Winchester’s city centre at the site of an Iron Age hill fort.
Bull Drove, Winchester SO23 9PA
Museums & Heritage in Winchester
Whether you know all about Winchester or only know it from the song, you know about Winchester Cathedral. The prescence of the cathedral is what gives Winchester its status as a city, despite its small size. This magnificent building is over 900 years old and is well worth a visit, even if it is just to enjoy the grounds and take in the facade.
Fun Fact: You may not know that Winchester Cathedral also features on Bank of England £10 notes.
Inside the cathedral you will find even more stunning archetecture as well as on display collections such as war registries. The walls and floors of the cathedral are marked with the tombs of the many people buried in Winchester cathedral, including Jane Austen. Despite not working in the cathedral the people of Winchester decided to honour Jane Austen with a place inside Winchester Cathdral as she was an important part of the community and a point of pride for the city.
Winchester Cathedral is a must see with its stunnning architecture, emense history, exhibitions and tours, as well as its stunning grounds, cafe, and shop, it is not to be missed.
Entry Price List:
- Adult – £10
- Concession – £8
- Student – £6.50
- Children under 16 (with family) – Free
- On Sundays entry is free, so feel free to attend the church services and enjoy the atmostphere of the service including beautiful choir music.
Winchester College has been a functioning academic institution since it was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham. You can visit its treasury everyday between 2pm and 4pm, the treasury is held in a converted stable which historically belonged to the warden of the school. This museum holds the schools collection of archeological artifacts and artistic peices. Beyond this attraction are the tours you can take around this historic institution. Tours are guided and last around an hour giving you an inside look into this schools medieval history.
Tour Times :
- Monday – Saturday 10:15, 11:30, 14:15 and 15:30
- Sunday 14:15 and 15:30
- Adults – £10
- Consession – £8.50
- Children (under 11) – Free
Winchester City Mill
Winchester City Mill has a very long history, over 1000 years, and is probably the UK’s oldest working watermill. In Winchester, they are still using the mill to make flour today. It is free to enter the mill, but donations are really appreciated as they aid in the conservation of this beautiful building.
For families with toddlers or kids the city mill has interesting things to do beyond just taking in the sites of the historic building. They offer milling demonstrations in which medieval technology turns wheat into flour before you very eyes. You can even take home a bag of flour from the mill. Make sure to check with the mill for times and dates for milling sessions. If you want to get your hands on a craft activity, Winchester City Mill offer pottery and weaving classes for couples and families which are a great fun activity especially if its a rainy day in Winchester. Spend an afternoon in part of Winchester’s food history and try your hand at a new craft.
Ticket Price – Free
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday (11am – 4pm)
The Great Hall
The Great Hall is most iconically home to the round table from Arthurian legend. This beautiful hall has been described as one of the best examples of 13th century aisled halls that still exists today. Explore the long gallery and come face to face with the kings of old. Enjoy Queen Eleanor’s Garden, a recreation of a medieval garden, or imagine yourself sneaking up on invaders in the underground Sally Port, a series of tunnels used for defence or retreat. Pose in costumes and take part in activities that put you in the history of Winchester.
For families, the city mill also has online activity sheets you can print at home to bring in or do at home after your visit, perfect for kids visiting Winchester.
Opening Times – 7 days a week, 10am – 5pm.
- Adult – £4.00
- Child- £3.00
- Consession – £3.50
- Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) £10
Winchester City Museum
Spend some time learning more about the history of Winchester and the people who shaped it, such as King Alfred the Great and Jane Austen. If you are a kid or just a ‘big kid’ you can enjoy a selection of costumes to dress up in while you are there to really get into Winchester’s history. If you feel a little lost in Winchester you can consult the model of the city as it was in 1870, created by Winchester’s former city planner and spot all the sights you have yet to see.
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week 10am-5pm.
- Adult – £5.50
- Child – £2.75
- Consession – £4.50
- Kids Under 5 – Free
- For a little bit extra you can buy a joint ticket to the City Museum and Westgate Museum, if you want to see both.
The Westgate Museum
This little museum finds its home in the medieval west gate of the city which is one of two surviving gates to the city. Part of the city walls this gate has been letting people into Winchester’s highstreet since the medieval age, but a gate has stood here since the romans. Inside this historic structure is a small museum where you can see a Tudor royal wedding present in the form of a preserved ceiling. The museum also displays historic weights and measures, as the ‘Winchester Measure’ was a standardised unit used since Anglo-Saxon times (it is still used in the United States today!).
Opening Times – Westgate Museum is only open seasonally, closing in the winter.
- February (half-term) until July – Friday, Saturday, Sunday (10am-5pm)
- July-September – Monday – Saturday (10am-4pm, Sunday (11am- 5pm)
- November – February (half-term) – Closed.
Ticket Prices (Tickets are valid all year after you buy them):
- Adult – £3.00
- Consession – £2.50
- Child (5-15) – £1.50
- Under 5’s – Free
Winchester’s Military Quarter
This quarter just up from the high street has six museums in a small area, these museums are:
- HorsePower, the Regimental Museum of The King’s Royal Hussars
- The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum
- The Royal Green Jackets Museum
- The Rifles Museum
- The Gurkha Museum
- The Guardroom Museum, the Museum of the Adjutant-General’s Corps
This attraction is a must see for visitors interested in military history, especially british history. Historians interested in Waterloo will also love the battlefield diorama showing the strategies used by Wellington and Napoleon (on display at the Royal Green Jackets Museum).
- Tuesday – Friday (10am – 4pm)
- Saturday (10am- 5pm)
- Sunday & Monday (Closed)
Ticket Prices: You can buy a pass to all six museums for £11, or alternatively buy tickets for the museums individually.
Alternatively known as the ‘Old Bishops Palace’ these ruins are what is left of the 12th Century palace of Bishop Henry of Blois. Although now in ruins, a walk around this site gives an idea of the granduer this place once had. Take a walk around various platforms and read more on this historic building.
Opening Times: 7 days a week, 10am – 6pm.
Ticket Prices: Free
Jane Austen’s House
Jane Austen wasn’t born in Winchester, but she did live and die there and had a hugh cultural impact on the city. Due to ill health, Jane Austen moved to Winchester to seek medical treatment and lived on College Street until her death in July of 1817. The House she lived in with her sister on College Street shows a commemorative plaque and sits across from a beautiful memorial garden.
The Ark (Formerly, The Discovery Centre)
Opening its doors in February 2022, The Ark was formerly The Discovery Centre and has now revealed refurbished spaces and a new social calendar. The Ark is home to galleries, performances, and exhibitions so its well worth checking out their events page to find out what is going on in Winchester when planning your day out.
- Monday – Saturday 9:30am – 5:00pm
- Sunday 11:00am – 5:00pm
Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium
Just outside of the city centre is the Winchester Science Centre a perfect place for a family day out. Enjoy interactive science exhibits and live shows demonstrating scientific concepts in this fun learning enviroment, the perfect thing for kids to do in Winchester.
Location: Telegraph Way, Winchester SO21 1HZ
Opening Hours: Saturday & Sunday (9:20am – 5pm)
Ticket Prices (Gift Aid included):
- Adult – £15
- Child (3-16 years old) – £15
- Planetarium Shows: £4
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Known as one of the best christmas markets in Europe, this is a great activity if you visit Winchester in November or December.
Running 18 Nov 2022 – 22 Dec 2022.
Winchester Hat Fair
An outdoor festival full of live performances of circus, live music, and more. They are the Uk’s longest running outdoor arts festival.
Running July 1st- July 3rd 2022.
Winchester Heritage Open Days
FREE events every September, including open buildings, walks, talks, films, living history, theatre, exhibits, & workshops.
Running September 9th – 18th 2022.
Bonfire & Fireworks
Starting on the highstreet with a beautiful torch lit procession the bonfire and fireworks display in Winchester is stunning and a great event to remember, remember.
5th of November 2022
- Bishop on the Bridge
- Crowne and Anchor
- St. James Tavern
- The Bakers Arms
- The Black Bottle
- The County Arms
- The Exchange
- The Mucky Duck
- The Old Vine
- The Rising Sun
- The Royal Oak
- The Westgate
- The William Walker
- Turtle Bay
Marwell Zoo & Hotel
The perfect family day out at Marwell Zoo which has 100’s of animals, 5 adventure playgrounds for kids, and activities such as animal feeds.
Location: Thompson’s Ln, Colden Common, Winchester SO21 1JH
Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week, 10am – 5pm
- Adult – £22.48
- Child – £18.88
- Concession – £20.23
- Under 3 years old – Free
If you are looking for some interesting accomodation in Winchester Marwell Hotel is a beautiful hotel surrounded by greenery connected to the zoo. They have an indoor/outdoor style made possible by long glass corridors to the bedrooms which show the lush scenery.
The University of Winchester
If you are a potential student, or will be one in a few years, it is certainly worth it to go and visit the University of Winchester campus. This historic university celebrated 135 years of providing education a few years ago and its campus has been modernised and refurbished hugely in recent years. Take a walk through the lush campus and maybe enjoy a coffee at the student union building’s terrace, open to the public as well as students. If you are interested in hearing more about the University of Winchester read more in our article.
Why visit Winchester?
Packed full of history, culture, pubs, restaurants, events, and architecture Winchester is the perfect city for a day out whether you are alone, with your kids, looking for a couples day out, or scoping out a new cuty as a potential student. Winchester is one of Englands most beautiful cities and you will fall in love with its historic streets and culture.