How to Get There
By plane – The most convenient airports for Winchester are (in order of distance).
- Southampton Airport is a relatively small airport and serves destinations in the UK and Europe. It is about 8 miles drive from Winchester via the M3 (northbound). There is a direct rail service from Southampton Airport Parkway station, which is immediately adjacent to the airport terminal building, to Winchester; four trains an hour take about 10 minutes for the journey.
- London Heathrow Airport is about 60 miles drive from Winchester via the M25 (anti-clockwise) and the M3 (southbound). It is one of largest airports in the world, with copious flights to most major international destinations (although they are generally more expensive than other London airports). There is a RailAir coach service to Woking station, where mainline trains to Winchester can be boarded; two services an hour give a journey time of just under two hours for the whole journey. There are also direct National Express buses from Heathrow Airport Bus Station to Winchester, which take about an hour. The second option is generally cheaper and faster.
- London Gatwick Airport is about 80 miles drive from Winchester via the M23 (northbound), M25 (clockwise) and M3 (southbound) motorways. By train, catch a London bound train which stops at Clapham Junction (note that the heavily advertised Gatwick Express do not stop there) from the airport rail station, and change at Clapham Junction for a service to Winchester; two or three services an hour give a journey time of just under two hours for the whole journey.
By taxi – There are couple of Winchester based taxi companies providing long distance transfers from major airports, towns, bus and rail stations to Winchester. Winchester Taxi Co, Winch Taxis Winchester, Airport Taxis Winchester and Winchester Taxi Link provide online cab/taxi booking facility.
By train – Winchester has a station on the main line from London to Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth. It is also served by long-distance services from Reading, Oxford, Birmingham and places further north.
From London, trains to Winchester depart from London Waterloo; there are several trains an hour which take about one hour for the journey. A “cheap” day-return adult ticket between Winchester and London Waterloo is typically around £22. Train times (from any location) can be found on the National Rail Planner.
By bus – National Express operate services to Winchester from cities throughout the UK including London. Advanced ticketing is required. National Express coaches drop off in the Broadway. Megabus, which requires online pre-booking, offers cheap daily tickets to Winchester from London on the routes to Southampton and Bournemouth. The drop off location is St. Catherine’s Park and Ride car park, 15 minutes’ walk from the city centre.
By car – The town is conveniently situated for the M3 motorway (US English: freeway) from London to Southampton, with the A34 providing access from the Midlands and the North. Winchester and its city centre are generally regarded as car-unfriendly; an excellent Park and Ride site National Park and Ride Directory is located just off junction 10 of the M3 (from M3 north, exit at junction 9 and follow the signs) and buses provide a link to the city centre every 10-15 mins taking under 10 mins for the journey. Operates Mo-Fr 7.30AM-6.30PM; Sa 8AM-6PM; no service Sundays; £2.70 per car (including all passengers).
On foot – Winchester is at the western end of the South Downs Way and hikers starting out on or completing the 100-mile trail are a common sight in the city.
If you are planning to do any visiting or exploring beyond central Winchester, you will probably want to obtain a decent map of the area. You should ensure that any map you buy clearly shows the national grid reference lines, and explains how to use them, as grid references are frequently used to indicate out of town locations. The best maps for this purpose are those published by the Ordnance Survey (Britain’s national mapping agency) and the following maps cover all the locations mentioned below:
Maps can be found in any good local bookshop, or can be bought online from the Ordnance Survey’s web site.
By foot – Most of the things to see and do in Winchester, and the places to eat, drink and sleep are within easy walking distance of each other and the rail station. There are several attractive walks in the surrounding countryside, particularly towards Twyford along the Water Meadows, and on Old Winchester Hill.
By bus – Winchester has a reasonable bus service, both within the town and to the surrounding area, although frequencies can be quite low with little service in the evenings or on Sunday.
- Stagecoach in Hampshire, from within in the UK, operate most of the bus services in the city and surrounding area.
- Solent Blue Line, from within the UK, operate services from the city to the south.
- Traveline, from outside the UK), provide an impartial online travel planner and telephone query service for all local bus services.
By car – Winchester is quite small and a car is unlikely to be necessary for getting around.
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