- Winchester City Mill, Bridge Street – owned by the National Trust, this old water mill has been restored to working order and you can visit the working areas and a rather exciting walkway under the mill almost at river level. The building also houses a National Trust shop and the Winchester Youth Hostel. Mill is open Mar-Oct Sa-Su 11AM-4PM and much more often in summer; visit the web site for more details. £2 (adult); £1 (children); free to National Trust members.
- Winchester College, College Street – one of England’s old public (US English:private) schools, founded in 1382 and believed to be the oldest continuously running school in the country. Guided tours are available, lasting approximately 1 hour and include Chamber Court; the Gothic Chapel with its 14th century vaulted roof; College Hall; the 17th century red brick schoolroom built in the style of Christopher Wren and the original Cloister. Walk in tours available most every day, see web site or phone above for times. £3-4.
- Wolvesey Castle – this palace was the chief residence of the Bishops of Winchester and its extensive ruins still reflect their importance and wealth. Open Apr-Sep 10AM-5PM. Free.
- St. Swithun’s upon Kingsgate. This tiny church is perched atop the arch of the Kingsgate, one of the two surviving city gates. This was once a not uncommon position for a place of worship, but St. Swithun’s is the only one remaining today. The interior is very plain, with whitewashed walls and an unadorned wooden ceiling. Sit for a moment in the simple wooden pews and it is hard not to feel a sense of peace. Open during daylight hours except for occasional services. Free (but donations gratefully accepted).
- The Westgate. The other of the two surviving medieval gateways, positioned close to Winchester’s Great Hall. Interesting graffiti carved into the walls and floor from its use as a debtor’s prison from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Contains unique collection of the city’s weights and measures, including the Winchester bushel and the standard yard of Henry VII’s reign. Displays also include a fine ceiling from Winchester College painted to celebrate Queen Mary I and Phillip of Spain’s marriage in 1554. Also armour, gibbet, leg-irons. A rooftop viewing platform gives great views down the High Street. Free Entry, open every day during the summer.
- Walk the Three Castles Path, a 60 mile walk from Windsor to Winchester. This walk is inspired by the journeys of King John between the two cities via the castle he built at Odiham at the time of Magna Carta, and passes through a variety of attractive scenery including parkland and forest, heath and downland, quiet streams and picturesque villages. For more information see the web site, or get a hold of a copy of the book ‘The Three Castles Path’ by David Bounds and Dave Ramm.
- The South Downs Way is a 100-mile bridleway running from Winchester to Eastbourne. It offers spectacular views of the South’s countryside.
Fairs & Festivals
- Winchester Hat Fair is Britain’s longest running festival of street theatre. In a typical year, over 30,000 people flock to the city streets to watch this festival of street theatre which combines a mix of circus, clowning, outlandish performances, craft stalls, workshops and world music. First weekend in July, Th-Su (Main day Saturday). Free; but expect to see lots of hats being passed around for donations (hence the name).
- Art and Mind festivals and symposia began in 2004, bringing some of the world’s most eminent thinkers and artists to Winchester for events examining the way we experience music, myth, dance, film and visual art.
- Winchester Cycle Fair held in June every year – times vary – that celebrates all things cycling, including a short gentle bike ride around historic points of interest.
- Hire a bicycle in Winchester at BikeAbout at the Gladstone Car Park near the Railway Station. Members of the scheme can borrow a bike as many times as they like.
- Enjoy the splendid views around Cheesefoot Head on the off road cycle track, unsuitable for beginners.
The Legend of King Arthur – Locations & Activities