For big bangs and tales of valour head to Winchester, home to one of the largest collections of military heritage outside London. From the colour and pageantry of great parades to stirring stories of heroism and sacrifice, delve into the rich history of some of the British Army's most famous regiments and the story of conflict around the world.
Visit the collections of regimental history housed within the setting of the historic Peninsula Barracks. The army links to this site date back 2,000 years; in 43AD the Romans built an encampment here, Alfred the Great had his residence here and it was on this site that William the Conqueror laid the foundations for a castle in 1069. From as early as the 18th century there were army barracks on the site. By 1986 the last regimental depots had moved, but the military tradition lives on through the military museums.
The Guardroom Museum (Adjutant General's Corps Museum), using historical artefacts and archives, describes the role of personnel administration in the army over the last four centuries. This specially designed addition to the story of the military heritage in Winchester is housed in a 19th century guardhouse at Peninsula Barracks.
The guardhouse is also home to a visitor centre including the Café Peninsula. The centre features information on all the museums on site, bringing alive the history of Peninsula Barracks. The perfect starting point for a journey through military history.
The Gurkha Museum follows the story of the Gurkhas' service to the British Crown since 1815 and looks at their homeland of Nepal through interactive colourful displays. Uncover the horror of the Indian mutiny and read accounts of the 26 Gurkhas awarded the Victoria Cross.
Horsepower: The Museum of the King's Royal Hussars tells the history of three famous cavalry regiments, including the charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War.
The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum at Winchester offers an outstanding collection of uniforms, weapons, silver and medals, including 31 of the Regiment’s 59 Victoria Crosses, and a magnificent diorama of Waterloo. There is also a growing display of items about The Rifles, the regiment into which The Royal Green Jackets merged in 2007.
The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum traces the history of the County Regiment of Hampshire from its formation in 1702 until its amalgamation with The Queen’s Regiment in 1992 to present times with The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.
Also not to be missed
Royal Armouries Fort Nelson, close to nearby Fareham, a beautifully restored Victorian fort overlooking the Meon Valley and home to the big guns of the Royal Armouries collection of big guns and historic cannon. Every day, experience the thunder of gunfire salutes, and see drama unfold as exciting characters from history are brought to life with performances from professional actors. Explore the maze of underground tunnels and discover the intriguing history of the fort with daily tours. Don't miss the spectacular series of special events including living history and battle displays and a Grand Military Tattoo in September. Children's activity days are held every Tuesday and Thursday of the school holidays.
To discover more about military heritage and attractions further afield, visit the Hampshire County Council Defence of the Realm website.