15 Best Things to Do in Winchester, England

15 Best Things to Do in Winchester, England

By will

Are you looking for an escape from every day and a chance to explore something new?

If so, then there’s no better place than Winchester, England.

Whether you’re a history buff or an outdoor enthusiast, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained in this picturesque city.

From visiting the iconic Winchester Cathedral to exploring the beautiful countryside, here are 15 of the best things to do in Winchester that will give you a chance to experience something truly special.

1. Winchester Cathedral

Winchester - Winchester Cathedral
Photo by Chris Talbot

Winchester Cathedral is a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Set atop the original high Saxon city walls, it towers over the rest of Winchester like an ancient sentinel.

Its distinctive spire has been visible for miles around since 1079 AD and it’s a renowned landmark in England.

Visitors can’t help but be awed by its grandeur and scale.

The interior of Winchester Cathedral is equally impressive, with its soaring Gothic arches and ornate carvings that stretch up toward the roof.

Its stained glass windows cast colorful reflections onto the flagstones and add to the sense of awe and wonder that this magnificent building evokes.

It’s a place to lose yourself in history, to marvel at the beauty of centuries gone by, and be inspired by tales of kings and queens who once trod its floors.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, Winchester Cathedral is definitely worth a visit!

2. River Itchen

Winchester - River Itchen
Photo by Chris Talbot

Leaving Winchester Cathedral behind, we journey to the River Itchen.

This picturesque river is a sight to behold, meandering its way through Hampshire’s countryside.

The calm waters are perfect for a leisurely boat ride, and many visitors take advantage of this opportunity to relax and take in the views.

Alternatively, you can pick up a rod and try your luck angling for some of the local trout.

The surrounding banks of the River Itchen are also an ideal place for an afternoon stroll or picnic.

There are plenty of places to stop along the way and admire the landscape, or explore one of the many natural reserves that line its course.

You’ll find wildlife everywhere you look – from swans to otters – making it a great spot for wildlife spotting and photography.

No matter what you choose to do here, it’s sure to be a memorable experience!

3. Hampshire’s Blackwood Forest

Minor track in Blackwood Forest
Photo by Mr Ignavy

Step away from the cobbled streets of Winchester and journey into Hampshire’s Blackwood Forest.

Located within the rolling hills of the South Downs, this ancient woodland is a paradise for outdoor lovers.

With miles of pathways and trails to explore, the area is ideal for leisurely strolls or more challenging hikes.

The trails are well-marked, making it easy to find your way around.

The forest is home to a variety of wildlife including deer, badgers, butterflies, and birds.

It’s also an important habitat for rare plant species like wild garlic and bluebells which bloom in abundance come springtime.

Blackwood Forest has something for everyone – whether you’re looking for peace and quiet or an adrenaline rush.

Adventurers can take on the mountain bike routes or go on a guided kayak tour to discover hidden coves along the shoreline.

For thrill-seekers, there’s even a zip line course that takes you through the treetops!

No matter what you’re looking for, Blackwood Forest is sure to provide an unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

4. Westgate Museum

The Westgate Museum in Winchester is a captivating exhibit of the city’s rich history.

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It provides visitors with an insight into the lives of those who lived there during medieval times.

The museum houses a collection of artifacts, including weapons, jewelry, and pottery that tell the story of the city’s past. Visitors can also explore some of the beautiful architecture on display at this museum.

The museum is home to a variety of interactive exhibits that provide an immersive experience for all ages.

Visitors can learn about life during medieval times while they participate in activities such as jousting, sword fighting, and archery.

These activities allow them to step back in time and experience what life must have been like centuries ago.

There are also displays that showcase artworks from different eras, giving visitors a glimpse into the culture and traditions of this historic city.

At Westgate Museum, visitors will find something to suit everyone’s interests and tastes.

Whether it’s learning about Winchester’s history or participating in interactive activities, the museum offers an unforgettable experience for all who visit it.

5. Salisbury

Salisbury is a city located in Wiltshire, England.

It has a rich history and plenty of attractions to explore.

The city is known for its stunning Gothic cathedral, which was built in 1220 and features the world’s tallest spire – reaching 404 feet high!

The Cathedral also houses the Magna Carta, one of the most significant documents in English legal history.

The city center is full of charming streets and shops, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll.

There are also numerous parks and green spaces that provide a great escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Salisbury also offers plenty of activities for those looking for an adventure – from kayaking on the River Avon to hot air balloon rides over Stonehenge.

No matter how you choose to spend your time here, Salisbury is sure to provide some unforgettable experiences that will stay with you for years to come.

6. Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle is a stunning example of Georgian and Victorian architecture located in the beautiful Hampshire countryside.

Just a short drive outside of Winchester, this majestic castle is an absolute must-see for any traveler to England.

Built-in 1842 by architect Charles Berry, Highclere Castle has been home to the Carnarvon family since 1679 and remains one of Britain’s most iconic stately homes.

The castle grounds are absolutely breathtaking, with lush gardens and sprawling lawns that provide a perfect setting for picnics or simply taking in the view.

Visitors are also welcome to explore the interior spaces of the castle, including its magnificent ballroom, library, and Egyptian Exhibition, which holds relics from the 4th Earl of Carnarvon’s excavations at Luxor in 1922.

Highclere Castle is more than just an architectural wonder; it’s a living museum that offers unique insight into the history and culture of England.

It is sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget!

7. King Arthur’s Round Table In Winchester Castle’s Great Hall

The Great Hall of Winchester Castle is a hugely popular tourist attraction in the city.

It’s home to one of the greatest legends of British history: King Arthur’s Round Table.

The table, which dates back to 1290, is an impressive piece of craftsmanship, standing almost 14 feet in diameter and boasting intricate carvings that tell stories from Arthurian legend.

Visitors can take their time exploring this unique relic and learn about the myths and legends that have been woven around it for centuries.

For many, simply standing beneath this ancient table brings a sense of awe and freedom; it’s easy to feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself here.

As you appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of this ancient symbol, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world where anything is possible.

8. Historic Winchester College

From the legendary King Arthur’s Round Table to the historic Winchester College, this city is a treasure trove of history and culture.

Situated in the heart of Hampshire, Winchester College offers visitors a unique insight into its rich past.

Established in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Winchester College has been educating students for over 600 years.

Today, Winchester College is one of the oldest educational establishments in the world and offers an incredible array of courses and activities for visitors.

Tourists can explore its beautiful grounds, visit its two museums or take a stroll around its stunning chapel.

The college also hosts regular lectures, debates, and concerts, giving guests a chance to immerse themselves in the college’s vibrant atmosphere.

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Whether you’re looking for an educational adventure or just want to soak up some culture and history, Winchester College will provide you with an unforgettable experience.

9. Ruins Of Wolvesey Castle

If you’re looking for a historical sight to explore, the Ruins of Wolvesey Castle are definitely worth a visit.

Located in the heart of Winchester, England, this castle dates back to the 12th century and is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

The castle has an impressive history that includes royal visits and centuries-long battles.

The ruins still stand strong today and visitors can explore its many nooks and crannies.

You’ll find a variety of interesting features including arrow slits, murder holes, and a chapel with a beautiful stained glass window.

Be sure to wander around the grounds too; they offer stunning views of the city below.

Visiting these ruins will give you an insight into Winchester’s past and provide plenty of opportunities for photos to capture your experience.

So if you’re visiting this ancient city, don’t miss out on exploring these incredible ruins!

10. Marwell Zoo

From the ancient ruins of Wolvesey Castle, travelers can head to the exciting Marwell Zoo.

Located on the outskirts of Winchester, this zoo is a must-visit for those who want to get up close and personal with some of nature’s most fascinating creatures.

The zoo features over 200 species of animals, many of which are rare or endangered.

From big cats to monkeys and reptiles, there’s something for everyone here.

Marwell Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs, giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about these beautiful creatures.

There are guided tours available for those interested in learning about the conservation efforts that Marwell is working on.

These tours offer a unique insight into how the zoo works and what they do to protect their animals from extinction.

Visitors can also enjoy interactive exhibits that showcase some of the world’s most incredible animals in their natural habitats.

Marwell Zoo provides an experience unlike any other.

Whether you’re looking for a fun family outing or an educational journey into the wild, this place has something for everyone.

With its diverse range of animals, engaging activities, and breathtaking views, it’s no wonder why so many people come back time and time again!

11. Winchester City Museum

Winchester City Museum is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Winchester, England.

Located in the city center and just a stone’s throw from many of the area’s top attractions, it’s easy to see why this museum is so popular.

Inside, you’ll find a wealth of artifacts and exhibits exploring the history of Winchester as well as its links to historical figures like William the Conqueror and Alfred the Great.

The museum also includes a number of interactive displays, making it an ideal destination for families with kids.

The museum provides visitors with an opportunity to delve into Winchester’s past in more depth – from its Roman beginnings right up to modern-day life.

You can explore the medieval Great Hall or discover how Winchester was used during World War II, with fascinating stories and photos from that era.

There are also sections dedicated to local industry, including brewing and printing – sure to satisfy any curious minds!

Experiencing Winchester City Museum is an enlightening way to get a true appreciation for this historic city’s past and present.

Whether you’re a fan of history or simply looking for something interesting to do while in town, this museum should definitely be on your list!

12. St Catherine’s Hill

St Catherine’s Hill is a fantastic spot to explore in Winchester.

It offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside, as well as plenty of opportunities for some quality outdoor time.

At St Catherine’s Hill, you can find a variety of leisure activities to enjoy.

You can take a leisurely stroll along the footpaths, or take part in some more adventurous activities like rock climbing.

If you’re feeling brave, you might even want to try to hang gliding over the hill!

There are also plenty of picnic spots on the hill where you can relax and soak up the scenery with friends or family.

The panoramic views from St Catherine’s Hill are simply breathtaking.

On one side you’ll see the Winchester Cathedral and its spire soaring into the sky, while on the other side, you have rolling hills and lush green valleys stretching out before you.

Whether it’s a sunny day or an evening under the stars, this spot guarantees unforgettable experiences that will leave lasting memories.

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13. New Forest National Park

The New Forest National Park is a stunning place to visit for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors.

It’s a beautiful, sprawling area full of heritage sites, nature reserves, and cycling routes to enjoy.

With over 150 miles of footpaths and trails, you can easily get lost in the beauty of this vast area.

From deer spotting in the open heathlands to bird-watching near the River Avon, there’s plenty to see and do here.

You can even explore some of the ancient woodland areas that have been around since prehistoric times!

There’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll along the banks of Beaulieu River or an adventurous hike up into the hills.

The New Forest National Park is sure to provide an unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories!

14. South Downs National Park

The South Downs National Park is an idyllic destination for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Located in the southeast of England, this park covers an area of 1,600 square kilometers and is home to some stunning landscapes.

From rolling hills to rivers and chalk cliffs, there’s something for everyone here.

For those who love the outdoors, there are plenty of activities on offer including walking, cycling, and horse riding.

There are also plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching, with badgers and foxes making their home in the park.

For a more relaxing experience, visitors can visit one of the many pubs or restaurants located in the nearby villages or take a leisurely stroll through one of the many woodlands.

There’s something for everyone here!

No matter how you choose to spend your time in South Downs National Park, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.

With its breathtaking natural beauty, it’s no wonder so many people make this spot a regular part of their travel itinerary.

So why not explore this incredible park today?

You won’t regret it!

15. Winchester Science Centre And Planetarium

Leaving the South Downs National Park behind, travelers may find their next great adventure at the Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium.

This interactive center is dedicated to inspiring and educating visitors of all ages.

It offers a range of exciting activities, from exploring space in the planetarium to hands-on experiments in the Science Centre.

Kids will love the chance to explore science through fun exhibits and workshops, while adults can take part in more serious demonstrations and lectures.

Visitors can also enjoy an IMAX movie experience or even a virtual reality journey through outer space!

The Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium have something for everyone – from those looking for a fun day out with their families to those seeking an educational experience on their own.

With its exciting activities and stunning views of the city skyline, this center is sure to provide a memorable visit for all.

The Winchester Science Centre provides a perfect platform for exploring science in a fun and engaging way – as well as discovering new perspectives on our universe!

Best Things to Do in Winchester – Final Thoughts

Wrapping up my list of the 15 best things to do in Winchester, England, I can honestly say it is one of the most beautiful and historically significant places to visit in Great Britain.

The city has something for everyone – whether you’re looking to explore its rich history, take in nature’s beauty or just enjoy some time out with family and friends.

From iconic attractions such as the Winchester Cathedral and Westgate Museum to outdoor activities like hiking through Hampshire’s Blackwood Forest and exploring the South Downs National Park, there is something for everyone here.

Even if you’re not a fan of sightseeing there are plenty of other things to do like visiting Salisbury or enjoying a day out at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium.

My personal favorite would have to be a boat ride down the River Itchen, watching the swans glide effortlessly by while taking in all that Winchester has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for an escape from your everyday life or a chance to learn more about this historic city, Winchester is sure to have something special waiting for you.


What are the best things to do in Winchester with kids?

The best things to do in Winchester with kids are visiting Marwell Zoo, Westgate Museum,

What to do during the day in Winchester?

The best things to do during the day in Winchester are visiting New Forest National Park, Winchester Cathedral, and Winchester City Mill.

Is Winchester worth visiting?

Yes, Winchester is worth visiting because of its bustling city and floral summers. It is also home to the well-known Eleventh-century Cathedral which hosts the famous King Arthur’s round table.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.