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10 great ways to delve into Winchester’s history

Mysteries & Mayhem
Mysteries & Mayhem

9 October 2020

Have you been itching to re-immerse yourself in the history of Winchester, learn something new or just distract yourself from the everyday? Make a visit to any of the 10 attractions below and discover the history of the district – or visit all of them for an epic history tour.


  1. Winchester Cathedral

Explore one of Winchester most photographed and renowned buildings, Winchester Cathedral. With more than 1000 years of history this is a great place to begin your tour of Winchester. Discover Europe’s longest medieval nave, home to the beautiful illuminated Winchester Bible in the Kings & Scribes exhibition, 12th century wall paintings, medieval carvings, contemporary art and marvel at the sheer magnitude of this magnificent building.

The cathedral is currently open every day 10am – 4pm. For more information on what to expect during your visit please visit the cathedral website.

Winchester Cathedral

  1. The Great Hall

A visit to the Great Hall will take you on a tour of history, being one of the finest surviving aisled halls of the 13th century and remains of Winchester Castle built by William the Conqueror, but it will also immerse you in legend. The Great Hall is home to King Arthur’s Round Table, one of the greatest symbols of medieval mythology. Visit and explore the history and uncover the battles, secrets and trials held here.

The Great Hall’s current opening times are Friday-Wednesday (closed on Thursdays) from 11am -3pm. Please check their website and social channels for up-to-date information before your visit.

The Great Hall interior

(c) Joe Low

  1. Winchester City Museum

Located in the heart of this historic city, Winchester City Museum tells the story of England’s ancient capital, the seat of Alfred the Great. From its origins as an Iron Age trading centre to Anglo Saxon glory, the last journey of Jane Austen to the hunt for King Alfred’s remains, explore the sights and sounds of Winchester past and present in the museum’s three galleries.

To ensure the safety of the staff and visitors of the Winchester City Museum new measures have been put in place. To find out what to expect during your visit please visit the Winchester City Museum website.

City Museum The Square

  1. Jane Austen House Museum

A national treasure and a literary legend, Jane Austen’s novels have delighted and inspired so many people. Visit the house where Austen wrote, revised and published all of her novels right here in Winchester. The Jane Austen House Museum, where Jane lived with her sister and mother, is home to some of Jane’s treasured possessions and memories. Get to know Austen as you walk through her home and immerse yourself in her world.

Book your tickets in advance to visit the Jane Austen House Museum and visit the website to see what to expect while you are there.

Jane Austen's House Museum

  1. Fort Nelson

How much do you know about artillery history? Whether it’s a wealth of knowledge or nothing at all a visit the Fort Nelson is a great day out. Discover the intriguing history of artillery and how it has changed the nature of battles and affected the lives of many people between the 15th and 20th century.

Tickets must be booked in advance to visit the fort and for more information about your visit see the Fort Nelson website.

Entrance to Fort Nelson

  1. Westgate Museum

Take your historic adventure to a fortified medieval gateway at the Westgate Museum. One of two surviving gateways into the city, the Westgate now tells the story of this remarkable building and the history of Tudor and Stuart Winchester whilst offering great rooftop city views.

The Westgate Museum has introduced a number of measures to help manage visitor numbers and ensure social distancing, find out what to expect during your visit here.

  1. Winchester Military Museums

Dive into military history at the site of the old Peninsula Barracks in Winchester, home to six museums each offering a unique experience. There are fantastic collections of medals, paintings and military objects on displayed across the whole site which includes HorsePower – The Museum of The King’s Royal Hussars, The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum, The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum, The Rifles Regimental Museum, The Gurkha Museum and The Adjutant General’s Corp Museum.

Find out their revised opening times here.

Winchester Military Quarter

  1. Bishops Waltham Palace

Discover the ruins of Bishops Waltham palace, formerly a grand residency for the Bishops of Winchester.

Much remains of the 12th and 14th century buildings, built by Bishop Henry of Blois – the grandson of William the Conqueror, and the surrounding grounds make for a beautiful place to explore. Why not find a bench next to these ancient walls or enjoy laying out on the grass and take a moment to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Find out opening times and what to expect when you visit here.

Outside of the Bishop's Waltham Palace Ruins

  1. Chawton House

Discover the ‘Great House’ enjoyed by Jane Austen and once owned by her brother Edward. Chawton House, a quintessentially English manor house, conserves a unique collection of early women’s writing. When you visit be sure to relax in the stunning gardens and explore the home enjoyed by Austen – you can even see the table that Jane Austen dined at during her visits.

For details on when the house and gardens are open and for what to expect during your visit please visit the website.

Chawton House

  1. Guided walking tour of Winchester

Steeped in history and brimming with secrets waiting to be uncovered… Join one of Winchester’s Guided Walking Tours and delve into the well known history of the city.

Tickets can be bought on the day of visit from the Visitor Information Centre, or online in advance.For more information about joining a tour please visit the Winchester Tourist Guides website.

King Alfred ® Harvey Mills Photography 2017

® Harvey Mills Photography 2017