Winchester City Centre – 5 things to do

winchester high street 2Recently we went to the The Winchester Science Centre and Planatarium and, after having fun, there we spent a few hours in Winchester City Centre.

A city of contrasts – within a small area you can see delightful medieval buildings, Winchester Cathedral, a ruined castle, and a gothic style Victorian Town Hall.

Winchester was also home to several army regiments and you can visit five military museums all located near each other.

The city centre is compact and is easy to wander around. The cathedral area is level but there is s gentle climb to the station and to the attractions near the Westgate.


winchester pilgrim hall1) The Cathedral. suitable for 4+

Your entry ticket includes a free tour, but with your grandchildren you might prefer to try out the ‘A Very Horrid Children’s Trail’ with tasks and things to look for. It is ideal for primary school children.

There is no charge for children under 16 and your entry ticket allows you to visit as often as you like for 12 months.

If you decide against going inside it is worthwhile wandering around the green in front of the cathedral and then walking around to the cathedral close and the Pilgrims Hall.


2) The Great Hall suitable for 4+

winchester great hallAs you enter The Great Hall, your eye is immediately attracted by the huge round table top suspended on the wall. According to legend, this is where King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table met.

The stained glass windows depict coats of arms. The gift shop has worksheets with a simple quiz about them.

You can also visit the tranquil Queen Eleanor’s garden.

The Great hall was part of Winchester Castle and in the square outside the Great Hall you can see what remains of a tower and also descend into the castle passageways.


3) Explore Winchester’s 5 Military Museums suitable for 8+

Several buildings in the Peninsular Barracks now contain Military Museums. The Royal Green Jackets and Gurkha museums charge for admission. Museum of The King’s Royal Hussars and The Museum of the Adjutant General’s Corps are free.

winchester serle house

The guardhouse is a visitor centre and houses the Café  Peninsula.

The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum and Memorial Garden‎ is nearby in Serles House and is also free.

The museums all have different opening times so check their website for further details



4) Stroll along the High Street
suitable for all ages

As you walk along the High Street keep looking up at the old buildings – there is so much to see but don’t bump into the pedestrians!

Some of the shops have large trade signs hanging out over the street. Others have coats of arms and statues.  It makes a great game to see who can spot them first.

winchester store cardinal winchester cross keyswinchester store signs 2Can you spot these?






Wander around the  the medieval Kingsgate and Buttercross. Explore the little passages leading off from the High Street to see the old medieval buildings. Try to find God Begot House in Royal Oak Passage

Take time to have some refreshments at one of the many small cafes.


5) Wander Along The River Itchen to Winchester College suitable for all ages

At the river end of the High Street you can see the Gothic Victorian ‘Guildhall’ and King Alfred’s Statue.

By the bridge over the river is the small City Mill which is now a National Trust property. As well as displays of how the mill works and demonstrations at the weekend  It also has an otter camera. You can watch CCTV which captures their visit to the mill area and shows the recorded film on a screen in the building.

winchester jane austenYou can take the River Itchen and Weirs Walk along the west side of the river to the weirs and the ruins of Wolvesey Castle.

Wander up College Street to Winchester College which was founded in 1382. They do have 1 hour tours for adults and students which may be suitable to take teenage grandchildren on.

Further along College Street you can see the outside of the house Jane Austen lived for the last 6 weeks of her life. She is buried in The Cathedral



We parked in the long stay shoppers Chesil Car Park as we only had a couple of hours in Winchester.

If you  want to spend all day in the city then we recommend that you try the park and ride scheme  There are car park sites located at East Winchester (off Junction 10 of the M3) and the South Winchester Site (off junction 11 of the M3). They do not operate on Sunday and Bank Holidays

Getting There Winchester City Centre, Hampshire  
Park and Ride scheme – all day – up to 7 people free on the bus- closed Sundays and Bank Holidays – For short term parking use city centre car parks – Chesil Street SO23 0HU or Worthy Lane, SO23 7AB 
Google see map or get directions

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