Winchester may not have guaranteed snow or winter sun, but it does offer the chance to step back in time, step into nature, or even into step into space.
If you are looking for an entertaining family mini-break or day trip this February, we have highlighted some of our favourite things to do in Winchester, wellies optional!
Discover Destination Space at Winchester Science Centre this half term and embark on a mission through the galaxy with an exciting space-themed live science show and Invention Studio activities.
Learn about the current search for life on Mars, the latest space telescope technology and discover the specially designed sites across the Earth that can launch rockets far into the cosmos.
This stunning cathedral has a fantastic new exhibition, Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation, unveiling 1,000 years of English history. Much of England’s early history was based here and twelve English kings are believed to be buried here – meaning that Winchester Cathedral can lay claim to being the first Royal Mausoleum. It is also the final resting place of English novelist Jane Austen.
Winchester Cathedral is open all week to visitors and on Wednesday 19th February there is a special themed family trail to explore, followed by craft activities for children accompanied by their adult.
A trip to the Winchester City Museum starts with a step straight back into Victorian times via a breath-taking scale model of how the city looked 150 years ago.
There are three galleries to explore dating back to Winchester’s 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.
During your visit you can become an amateur archaeologist and handle real artefacts, turn detective and solve our museum spotter trail and pretend to be a Roman or Saxon and try on the costumes they would have worn. There are also special half term craft session on Wednesday 19 and Friday 21 February.
Get closer to the wonders of the natural world in this 140-acre park, which is home to an incredible range of exotic and endangered species, including giraffes, Amur tigers, snow leopards, white rhinos, penguins and a two-toed sloth in the lush state-of-the-art Tropical House.
On Saturday 15 February the Oddsocks production of The Adventures of Pinocchio comes to the Theatre Royal Winchester. This is wonderfully adventurous story with heart-warming lessons to learn along the way as our hand-made boy Pinocchio journeys through the world discovering just what it takes to be a real human.
Local award-winning Encore Youth Theatre tread the boards in the latter half of half term with, a scorching new adaptation of the Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic masterpiece, reimagined as a sensational swinging show set in the 1930’s Golden Age of Jazz.
Founded in 1382, Winchester College is believed to be the oldest school in the country. The Winchester College Treasury houses the school’s unique collections of art and archaeology. These include artefacts from Egypt, Greece and Rome, casts of the Parthenon Frieze, and Chinese ceramics from the Tang to Qing dynasties.
The Treasury museum is holding an Amazing Animals family fun day on 15th February. The Treasury has a wonderful collection of artworks including prancing horses, curled-up cats, wild boar, and noisy parrots. Children and their adults are invited to drop-in and follow an exciting new museum trail. There will also be free craft activities.
King Arthur’s legendary Round Table has dominated Winchester’s ancient Great Hall for centuries. Visit and discover the history, battles, secrets and trials for terrorism and treason that were held here. There are children’s trails of villains, heroes and ghosts and amazing costumes of characters from the Castle’s past to try on.
Head away from the centre of Winchester and you can find beautiful walks through the majestic water meadows. The paths along the River Itchen are teeming with buds and blossom as Spring awakens. Winchester is also the start and end point of the 100 mile South Downs Way which leads all the way to Eastbourne. There are beautiful walks to be had along these ancient routes, and rosy cheeks guaranteed.
Families are well catered for in Winchester and alongside the popular chains there are some great independents such as Three Joes Pizza and Piecaramba, a pie and comic shop described by restaurant critic Jay Rayner as ‘a bloody good pie shop’.
Winchester also has a vibrant café scene offering the opportunity to warm up the family with a hot chocolate and a treat.
The Holiday Inn Winchester is a great place for families. The Kids Stay & Eat Free offer means that children under the age of 13 years, sharing their parent’s room, can enjoy dinner for free when dining from the children’s menu when accompanied by an adult eating a large plate from the Odyssey Restaurant or All Day Dining menu.
There are 131 luxury and contemporary bedrooms offering the ultimate comfort and amenities, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, luxury beds, power showers and luxury toiletries. With ample free parking and easily accessed from the A34, M3 motorway, train or bus – the hotel is ideally located to explore Winchester and surrounding attractions!