An unspoilt cathedral city on the edge of the rolling South Downs, Winchester is England's ancient capital and former seat of King Alfred the Great.
Today, Winchester combines the best of city life with the freshness of the surrounding countryside. One hour from London, this is England as it ought to be.
Home of good food and the country's largest farmers' market, birthplace of the modern game of cricket, resting place of author Jane Austen and inspiration to the many craft-makers and artists who live here, Winchester is truly a destination for all seasons.
Lively street theatre, a thriving contemporary arts scene and fine architecture also make Winchester an attractive destination for visitors. Over four million people visit the ancient city every year.
Popular for its bustling shopping streets, its floral summer season and quirky open air events, Winchester is most well known for its eleventh century Cathedral and for the Great Hall which for over 700 years has housed the mysterious Round Table.
Winchester College is the oldest continuously running school in the country, whilst the Hospital of St Cross - a medieval almshouse - still offers the Wayfarer's Dole to travellers as it has done for more than eight centuries.
Winchester's many bars, traditional pubs and restaurants make eating out a pleasure, and there are pretty riverside walks past tranquil water meadows. For fabulous views of the city and surrounding area, take a stroll up to St Catherine's Hill.
Out and About
A short distance from the city the Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium has 100 hands-on indestructable activities for inquisitive children! Also nearby is Hampshire's largest animal attraction, Marwell Wildlife. This 140-acre park is home to over 250 exotic and endangered species in beautiful, landscaped surroundings.
Food and Drink
The medieval, eclectic city of Winchester is a gastronomic delight when the sun goes down, with everything from quirky pubs to riverside beer gardens, upmarket bistros to Tapas and Gurkha restaurants.
Winchester is associated with celebrity chefs, Raymond Blanc, Rick Stein and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Raymond Blanc owns a brasserie and patisserie in the city centre and is well known for his fine French cuisine.
Rick Stein has opened his first restaurant outside of Cornwall and brings the freshest fish, simply cooked to Winchester.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has opened another of his River Cottage restaurants serving some of the finest local ingredients.
The Cathedral area is another focal point for food lovers, with a wide choice of lively cafés, brasseries and bars. Near the Winchester City Mill - which straddles the River Itchen – you’ll find the Black Boy pub, michelin starred restaurant the Black Rat and the award-winning Chesil Rectory.
Food markets offer the chance to sample delicious local products, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, sausages, breads, meats and cheeses. Winchester has some of the biggest and best, with its weekly food markets and twice-monthly farmers’ market, the largest in the country, offering anything from ostrich meat to crabs fresh from the Solent.
And don’t forget Winchester’s pubs, from the lively city centre hostelries to family-friendly inns in the nearby towns and villages.
If you’re heading outside the city, the elegant Georgian town of Alresford is only eight miles away. Alresford is best known for its watercress, since Europe’s largest grower Vitacress Salads Ltd was founded there in the 1950s.
Alresford’s annual Watercress Festival is a one-day extravaganza of food, cookery and music, and from there, year round, you can take a nostalgic trip on the Watercress Line heritage steam railway to the market town of Alton.
Winchester has launched an American-style 'greeters' scheme to give a personal, free-of-charge welcome to Winchester's visitors.
You can book a ‘greet’ online and one of 12 friendly volunteers will be selected to meet you and give an informal introduction to their city, showing you hidden gems and highlights of Winchester.
Book a Visit Winchester Greet now to explore the vibrant and ancient city of Winchester. Greets can last between one and four hours and are suitable for groups of up to 6 people.
* Please note: Visits are arranged subject to greeter availability, and we will make every effort to match a greeter with your request. After you have submitted your form, Winchester Tourist Information Centre will confirm the details of your greet by email. Please allow up to 10 working days for your booking to be processed.
Don't forget, you can also book a guided tour in advance or on the day with one of Winchester's Official Tourist Guides, with a choice of special interest or themed city tours.
An inspiring day out for all ages Explore more than 1000 years of history in Europe’s longest medieval Cathedral. Discover the beautiful illuminated Winchester Bible, 12th-century wall paintings, medieval...
History and hospitality in a serene and picturesque setting. The Hospital of St Cross is a beautiful group of Grade I listed buildings dating from 1132 and is home to 25 Brothers. Visitors can admire the...
Founded in 1382, Winchester College is believed to be the oldest continuously running school in the country. Our guided tours concentrate on the medieval heart of the College and include Chamber Court; the...