Winchester: The Complete Guide


Situated at the western edge of the South Downs National Park, Winchester beckons with its rich history, remarkable heritage, and captivating medieval architecture. The city boasts a vibrant atmosphere, with bustling market stalls and a wide array of award-winning eateries, making it an ideal destination for a memorable short break.

As England’s ancient capital and the historic seat of Alfred the Great, Winchester holds a special place in the country’s heritage. The city’s crowning jewel is the renowned Winchester Cathedral, known for its magnificent medieval nave, which holds the distinction of being the longest in Europe. However, Winchester has much more to offer beyond its iconic cathedral. During our recent visit to this enchanting city, we discovered a wealth of attractions and experiences that added to the charm of our stay. From delving into the city’s captivating history to indulging in its culinary delights, Winchester provides a multifaceted and unforgettable experience for its visitors.

Visiting Winchester for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Winchester on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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25 Best places to See in Winchester

This complete guide to Winchester not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Winchester and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Wolvesey Castle

Wolvesey Castle, Winchester
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Mike Peel
Wolvesey Castle, an enchanting English Heritage site, showcases the remains of a fortified palace that once served as the principal residence for the Bishops of Winchester. Commonly referred to as the Old Bishop’s Palace, a visit to this historical gem is highly regarded as one of the top free activities in Winchester. Notably, in 1554, […]
Location: Wolvesey Castle (Old Bishop's Palace), College Street, Winchester, UK | Hours: Open 10am-4pm daily October to 1st March | Price: Free Entrance | Website | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Wolvesey Castle

Explore Winchester yourself with our self-guided walking tour!

St Mary's Abbey, Winchester

The Nunnaminster, which later became known as St Mary’s Abbey, held a prominent position among Winchester’s three great Late Saxon royal monasteries. Founded in 903 by Queen Ealhswith, the wife of Alfred the Great, it emerged as a distinguished centre of learning and artistic expression in England. In 964, the Nunnaminster, along with the Old […]
Visiting St Mary's Abbey, Winchester

Winchester College

Winchester College War Cloister
CC BY-SA 2.5 / Andrew Powers
Established in 1382, Winchester College holds a special connection with the esteemed university city of Oxford and is a captivating destination to explore due to its original buildings. Among them, Flint Court and Chamber Court stand out as beautifully preserved examples. Notably, the historic Seventh Chamber, reputed as the oldest schoolroom in the country, is […]
Location: Winchester College, College Street, Winchester, UK | Hours: Monday - Sunday 14:15 and 15:30 | Price: Adults £10, Concessions £8.50 (No charge for children under 11) | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Winchester College

River Itchen Walk

River Itchen Walk
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Trevor Harris
Winchester’s River Itchen is a pristine chalk stream renowned for its crystal-clear waters and abundant wildlife that can be observed from its banks. The diverse array of creatures includes otters, water voles, white-clawed crayfish, butterflies, and kingfishers. There are only around 210 chalk streams in the world and 160 of them are in England. Following […]
Visiting River Itchen Walk

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral, The Close, Winchester
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Hassocks5489
Built on the grounds of the original 7th-century Old Minster, Winchester Cathedral stands as a prominent attraction for tourists, captivating visitors with its rich history. The cathedral, one of the largest medieval churches in the world, has undergone various modifications since its construction in the 11th century, while remnants of the original minster foundations can […]
Location: Winchester Cathedral, The Cl, Winchester, UK | Hours: Monday–Saturday: 9.00am–5.00pm, Sunday: 12.30pm–3.00pm. Last entry 30 mins before close. Morning Prayer 8am Holy Eucharist 8.30am Evensong 5.30pm | Price: Adult - £12.50 | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Winchester Cathedral

Winchester City Mill

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Geoff Cooper
Winchester City Mill, under the care of the National Trust, stands as a remarkable example of a functioning urban corn mill. Harnessing the power of the fast-flowing River Itchen, this water mill was reconstructed in 1743 upon the site of its medieval predecessor and remained operational until the early 20th century. Since its full restoration […]
Location: National Trust - Winchester City Mill, Bridge Street, Winchester, UK | Hours: Wed-Sun10:00 - 17:00 | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Winchester City Mill

King Alfred Statue, Winchester

King Alfred Statue, Winchester
CC BY-SA 3.0 / BobW66
Commissioned by Alderman Bowker and the City Corporation, the magnificent bronze statue created by Hamo Thornycroft commemorates the millennium of Aelfred’s death. Erected in 1901, this larger-than-life sculpture stands 15 feet (4.57 m) tall and weighs 5 tons, being 2.5 times the size of an average person. Its striking presence is enhanced by the two-part […]
Location: King Alfred the Great - Statue, The Broadway, Winchester, UK | Hours: 24Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting King Alfred Statue, Winchester

St Peter's Church, Chesil, Winchester

Chesil Theatre
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Des Blenkinsopp
St. Peter’s Church in Chesil, Winchester, previously named St. Peter upon Chesille without Eastgate, is a former Church of England parish church in Winchester, Hampshire. Today, it serves as the cherished home of the Chesil Theatre. The church showcases a combination of architectural features dating back to the 12th century and subsequent periods. Its construction […]
Location: Chesil Theatre, Chesil Street, Winchester, UK | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting St Peter's Church, Chesil, Winchester

The Chesil Rectory

The Chesil Rectory
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Des Blenkinsopp
No. 1, the Old Chesil Rectory, bears a construction date of 1459 but is likely from the early 16th century (also known as Cheese House). This two-story building features two gables with bargeboards facing the road. Its structure is timber-framed with plaster infilling, and the upper section slightly overhangs the brick ground floor. The roof […]
Location: The Chesil Rectory, Chesil Street, Winchester, UK | Hours: Monday to Thursday Lunch 12noon – 14:30 | Dinner 17:30 – 21:00 Friday & Saturday Lunch 12noon – 14:30 | Dinner 17:30 – 21:30 Sunday Lunch 12noon – 15:00 | Dinner 18:00 – 20:30 | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting The Chesil Rectory

City Walls of Winchester

Weirs Walk And City Wall, Winchester
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Philip Halling
The city walls of Winchester, originally constructed during the Roman era, are a defensive fortification located in the heart of the city. Winchester, known as Venta Belgarum at the time, was established as a Roman settlement in southern Britain. The surrounding area had been inhabited by Britonnic tribes, and the name Venta Belgarum derived from […]
Location: Roman wall Winchester SO23 9LH United Kingdom | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting City Walls of Winchester

St Mary Magdalen Hospital Alms-houses

Similar in its charitable mission to St Cross, this Hospital was established in 1180 by Bishop Toclyve (1173-88) to provide shelter for nine lepers. It was situated in the downs along the Alresford Road, near the first milestone. The site was excavated by the TV Archaeological program ‘Time Team’. Throughout its tumultuous history, the Hospital […]
Visiting St Mary Magdalen Hospital Alms-houses

Winchester Guildhall

Winchester New Guidhall
CC BY-SA 2.0 / David Pearson
The location of the new Guildhall was previously occupied by St Mary’s Abbey and came under crown control during the dissolution of the monasteries in the late 1530s. As a gesture of gratitude for the city’s support in her marriage to King Philip of Spain in 1554, Queen Mary gifted the site to the City […]
Location: Guildhall Winchester, The Broadway, Winchester, UK | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Winchester Guildhall

Winchester Cathedral Close

Cheyney Court Winchester
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Magnus Manske
The primary entrance to the Close is Prior’s Gate, a 15th-century structure featuring a simple four-centred arch and original doors adorned with tracery. The parapet is castellated, and a coat of arms embellishes the arch. Cheyney Court, also from the 15th century, once served as the Bishop’s Court House and is widely regarded as one […]
Location: Cathedral Close, Winchester, UK | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Winchester Cathedral Close

Winchester's Pilgrim's Hall & Priors Gate

Priory Gate, St Swithun Street, Winchester
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Hassocks5489
Adjacent to Winchester Cathedral, you’ll find the remains of the medieval deanery and a delightful half-timbered corner that includes the Pilgrim’s Hall, dating back to the 13th century. Originally serving as a dining and refreshment venue, this building also functioned as stables. Although now part of a school, it is well worth a visit to […]
Location: Priors Gate St Swithun St Winchester SO23 9LS | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Winchester's Pilgrim's Hall & Priors Gate

Jane Austen's House, Winchester

Jane Austen
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Peter Broster
Jane Austen, is widely acclaimed as one of England’s most esteemed novelists. In 1817, during her declining health, Jane Austen moved to Winchester for medical treatment and resided in a house at 8 College Street. It was here that she spent her last few weeks before passing away on July 18, 1817. Burial at Winchester […]
Location: 8 College Street, Winchester, UK | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Jane Austen's House, Winchester

Winchester City Museum

Winchester City Musueum
CC BY-SA 3.0 / BabelStone
The Winchester City Museum provides an engaging exploration of Winchester’s rich history, spanning from the Iron Age to the present. Housed across three floors, its three captivating galleries offer a range of fascinating exhibits. Among the notable features are well-preserved Roman mosaics and an impressive collection of jewellery from the Anglo-Saxon era. Visitors can also […]
Location: Winchester City Museum, The Square, Winchester, UK | Hours: Daily 10:00 - 17:00 | Price: Adult: £8.00 | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Winchester City Museum

Buttercross Monument, Winchester

Butter Cross, High Street, Winchester
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Hassocks5489
The High Cross, also known as the City or Butter Cross, is a remarkable monument believed to date back to the early 15th century. It underwent restoration work by G. G. Scott in 1865. This tall cross, adorned with multiple pinnacles, stands on a stepped plinth with five octagonal steps. Originally, it served as a […]
Location: Buttercross Monument, High Street, Winchester, UK | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Buttercross Monument, Winchester

Winchester Castle

Winchester Round Table
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Mike Peel
Winchester Castle, now in ruins, was constructed in 1067 during the reign of William the Conqueror. However, it met its demise in 1647 when Oliver Cromwell and the parliament ordered its demolition. Fortunately, in 1683, renowned architect Wren oversaw its complete restoration as a residence for Charles II. This storied castle has witnessed significant historical […]
Location: The Great Hall The Castle Castle Ave Winchester SO23 8UJ United Kingdom | Hours: 10am to 5pm daily (last entry is 4.30pm). There is no advance booking, simply buy your tickets on arrival. | Price: Adult: £4 Child (5-16 yrs): £3 | Website | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Winchester Castle

Winchester Corn Exchange

Winchester Corn Exchange
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Wayland Smith
The Corn Exchange, situated on Jewry Street, was constructed in 1838 with a price tag of £4000. Originally serving as a bustling trading venue throughout most of the 19th century, its purpose gradually declined as the new century approached. Over the years, the building underwent various transformations, being utilized as a dining hall, roller skating […]
Location: The Arc Winchester, Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8SB, UK | Hours: Monday - Saturday: 9:30am - 5:00pm Sunday: 11:00am - 5:00pm | Website | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Winchester Corn Exchange

Winchester's Military Museums

Peninsula Square, Winchester
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Hassocks5489
Located within Peninsula Barracks, Winchester’s Military Museums house a collection of six significant county military collections. One of the main highlights is the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum, which showcases an impressive array of uniforms, medals, and a captivating diorama of the Battle of Waterloo. This museum delves into the history of the regiment and […]
Location: Winchester's Military Museums, Romsey Road, Winchester, UK | Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm (last admission 3.30pm) | Price: Adults £5.00 | Website | Distance: 0.90km
Visiting Winchester's Military Museums

Hyde Abbey Gatehouse, Winchester

Hyde Abbey Gatehouse
CC BY-SA 3.0 / JohnArmagh
The Hyde Abbey Gatehouse is the last structure of Hyde Abbey that remains above ground. Constructed in the 15th century, it features flint walls with stone accents. The gateway comprises a sizable four-centered carriage arch, as well as a smaller arch for pedestrians. The roof has been updated with modern tiles and rainwater systems, showcasing […]
Location: Hyde Abbey Gatehouse, King Alfred Place, Winchester, UK | Hours: 24Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 1.00km
Visiting Hyde Abbey Gatehouse, Winchester

Hospital of St. Cross

Quadrangle At Hospital Of St Cross, St Cross Road, Winchester
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Hassocks5489
Situated approximately a mile south of Winchester’s city centre, the oldest alms-house in England traces its roots back to 1136, when it was established by Henry of Blois, the grandson of William the Conqueror. Intended for the care of 13 “poor and pious men,” this historical institution continues to embody its original purpose. The residents, […]
Location: The Hospital of St Cross, Saint Cross Back Street, Winchester, UK | Hours: Summer (1st April to 31st October) 9.30am-5.00pm (Monday to Saturday) 1pm-5pm (Sundays)Winter (1st November to 31st March) 10.30am-3.30pm (Monday to Saturday) Closed on Sunday except for church services | Price: Adults: £7.50 | Website | Distance: 1.60km
Visiting Hospital of St. Cross

Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium

Intech Science Centre And Planetarium, Winchester
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Peter Facey
The Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium is a fantastic family-friendly destination that guarantees hours of excitement. Filled with interactive exhibits and hands-on displays, this place effortlessly combines education and fun. Established in 2002 and situated on the outskirts of the city, the Science Centre is easily recognizable by its striking buildings—an enormous globe and a […]
Location: Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium, Telegraph Way, Winchester, UK | Hours: Weekends and school holidays - 9:30am to 5pm | Price: Adult / Child - Setween £13.75 - £17.25 - See website | Website | Distance: 3.10km
Visiting Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium

Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Ian McLean
Located just five miles southeast of Winchester, near the charming village of Owslebury, Marwell Zoo is a must-visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts and families. Spanning 140 acres of picturesque Hampshire countryside, this renowned zoo is home to over 1,200 animals from 135 different species. Notably, Marwell Zoo has earned recognition for its conservation efforts, successfully […]
Location: Marwell Zoo, Thompson's Lane, Colden Common, Winchester, UK | Hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm | Price: Adults £26 | Website | Distance: 8.00km
Visiting Marwell Zoo

Highclere Castle: Aka Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Launus
Situated approximately 25 miles north of Winchester, the magnificent Highclere Castle is an absolute must-visit historic residence that has gained widespread fame as one of England’s premier tourist attractions, thanks to its prominent role in the immensely popular television series, Downton Abbey. Serving as the ancestral home of the Earls of Carnarvon since 1679, Highclere […]
| Hours: Morning Admission: Admission between 10:00am – 12:30pm Midday Admission : Admission between 12:30pm – 2:30pm Afternoon Admission: Admission between 2:30pm – 4:00pm. | Price: Adult: £22.50; Child (4-16): £14.00 | Website | Distance: 29.90km
Visiting Highclere Castle: Aka Downton Abbey