Visit Winchester > Blog > Discover Winchester’s hidden gems

Discover Winchester’s hidden gems

Winchester College
Winchester College

Published March 2021

Winchester has an abundance of outdoor hidden gems throughout the district for you to discover. Explore some of our favourite hidden gems and see what others you can find.

Please continue to follow government guidelines and social distancing and stay local. If you are in the Winchester district and enjoying our outdoor spaces, please make sure you avoid busy areas and Respect, Protect and Enjoy our beautiful countryside.

Take a walk in Keat’s footsteps

During his stay in Winchester in 1819 John Keats enjoyed a daily walk through the cathedral close and along the water meadows until he reached the Hospital of St Cross (a hidden gem on its own). On return from this very walk he wrote his famous ode ‘To Autumn’. Explore the same walk and see if you are inspired by the beauty of nature as well. Find the trail here.

Hospital of St Cross ® Harvey Mills Photography 2017

® Harvey Mills Photography 2017

St Giles Hill

With spectacular views of the city centre St Giles Hill is a beautiful hidden gem. Once the site of St Giles Fair, the largest and most profitable medieval fair of its time in the whole of Europe, St Giles Hill history stretches back to the late 11th Century. You can take a direct route from the Broadway or take an evening stroll along the sunset trail. This green open space is perfect for a picnic, to enjoy the views or discover the different routes up and down.

A view of winchester from St Giles Hill

Bishop’s Waltham Palace

The ruins of Bishop’s Waltham Palace are the perfect place to take a relaxing walk or set down your picnic blanket. Once the grand residence of the Bishops of Winchester, originally built in the 12th Century, the palace was badly damaged during the Civil War (1642-9) and subsequently abandoned resulting in the stunning ruins we have today. Discover what is left of the palace once fit for a King.

Bishop's Waltham Palace

King Alfred’s Way Cycle Route

Grab your helmet and your bike and challenge yourself to this 220 mile cycling adventure – or just a piece of it for an afternoon cycle with stunning surroundings. Launched last year this relatively new bike route will take you on a journey through the heart of Hampshire as you explore some of the most beautiful countryside in Southern England. Explore the route here.

Three women ride into Winchester along the Itchen Way cycle path, past St Catherine's Hill nature reserve. The historic city is the start and end point of King Alfred's Way.

Winnall Moors

The Winnall Moors Nature Reserve boasts woodland, meadows full of wildflowers and a beautiful chalk stream right in the centre of the city. Follow the paths throughout to enjoy this picturesque tranquil haven full of wildlife minutes from King Alfred’s statue. Find out more here.

Bench in Winnall Moor

Discover the area of Hyde

An area steeped in history this hidden gem is a short walk from the city centre. Take a walk along the river and through the gatehouse of Hyde Abbey where, in 1110, King Alfred the Great’s bones were moved to. St Bartholomew’s Church stands proudly in Hyde ready for you to discover.

Enjoy the stunning surrounds in Alresford

Explore the beautiful Georgian town of Alresford on this stunning riverside walk. Look out for the different wildlife as you walk the trail and take some change to buy some duck feed for the local residents of the River Alres. Find the trail here.

A duck swimming in the river in Alresford

Discover the historic landscape of the Forest of Bere

There is something for everyone to explore in the Forest of Bere. Walk or cycle the extensive footpaths, relax in the green open space or get lost in the woodland. Discover streams, ponds and many different habitats that support a great range of wildlife – this is the perfect place to explore nature.

Enjoy the views from Farley Mount

Ideal for walking, cycling or relaxing with a picnic Farley Mount is the perfect spot to enjoy views over central Hampshire. From a distance as you draw closer you will spot the monument at the top of the mount, especially as the sun reflects from its white walls.

Explore the ancient woodland of Crab Wood

Crab Wood’s ancient woodland is a local nature reserve perfect for exploring the local wildlife. Bring you picnic or use one of the free BBQ sites to enjoy your meal. Nature enthusiasts can venture into the woods to discover the secretive wildlife that lives there.