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10 things to do for free

A visit to Winchester needn't cost a penny. Here are our top ten tips for freebie fun:

1. Open your eyes

Discover for yourself Winchester's public art and the many accomplished artists in the area. Look out for David Kemp's Hampshire Hog, Elizabeth Frink's Horse and Rider,  Antony Gormley's Sound II and Marzia Colonna's The Kite Flyer.

2. Feast your eyes at the farmers' market

It costs nothing to savour the sights, sounds and smells of Winchester's thriving twice-monthly farmers' market, the largest in the UK and popular with the likes of Rick Stein. Whether you can resist parting with your pennies for some delicious local produce is another matter entirely.

3. Get a bird's eye view

Take the Sunset Walk to the top of St Giles' Hill. With superb panoramic views over the city, it's a great spot for a picnic, kite flying, family games or or a twilight stroll.

4. Become a knight of the Round Table

The only remaining part of Winchester Castle, the Great Hall is home to the legendary Arthurian Round Table. Have fun deciphering the names of the famous knights written around the rim and imagining their meetings in this grand setting.

5. Explore Hampshire's oldest museum

Learn the story of Winchester at the City Museum, which celebrated its centenary in 2003. There are reconstructed Victorian shops and hands-on activities and quizzes.

6. Climb The Westgate

Read the prisoners' graffiti at this fortified medieval gateway which was a debtors' prison for 150 years. See the painted Tudor ceiling and then take in the excellent city views from the top.

7. Plan a visit with military precision

Winchester is home to the Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum, the Adjutant General's Corps Museum and HorsePower - The King's Royal Hussars Museum, all of which are free of charge. Don't miss The Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson, near Fareham, for its impressive collections of guns and cannon, daily re-enactments and noisy gun-firings.

8. Meet the butterflies, birds and bees 

Butterfly Conservation's Magdalen Hill Down nature reserve is the perfect spot for getting close to nature. The 110 acres are carefully managed to provide conditions where wild flowers, butterflies and all wildlife thrive. Numerous walks offer exceptional views of Winchester and the surrounding area. More information please click here.

9. Feel Festive

Outlandish and fun, Winchester Hat Fair is Britain's longest-running festival of street theatre, it's colourful, crazy and completely free.To find out about the event, keep an eye on the Hat Fair website.

10. Beware pikemen and musketeers!

Download a copy of the Cheriton Battlefield Walk and follow in the soldiers' footsteps, as you cross the site - just south of Alresford - of the famous Civil War battle of 1644. The leaflet highlights the important strategic locations of the encounter and provides background information on the Civil War in Winchester and Hampshire.

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