We have based our guide on days out with a family of five (two adults and three children over the age of 5). Visit the individual websites to get full costs for individuals and concessions.
If you are looking for fun family days out this summer that don’t cost the earth, then you should visit Winchester. It might surprise you how much this small city has to offer, even on a budget.
We want to show you how to get the best value for money from Winchester’s popular attractions and make memories that your family will talk about for years. Winchester has a vibrant and packed summer programme. So, whether you are a family looking for summer holiday days out or grandparents keeping younger generations entertained, we have got you covered.
A day out at Marwell will cost a family of five £118, so you’ll really want to make the most of your time there. However, this isn’t difficult as it is over 140 acres with a huge variety of animals to discover.
Get to the zoo early, gates open at 10am, and plan your day in advance by downloading the free Marwell Zoo app. This will guide you round the park and tell you what’s on and animal feeding times.
As well as hundreds of animals, there are five adventure playgrounds in the park, including a new accessible play area for younger children. On select days this summer your children can meet some CBeebies favourites – Bluey and her little sister Bingo, from the much-loved children’s TV show Bluey, will be visiting the zoo and Hey Duggee, will be taking a break from running Squirrel Club. You can join the playful characters for their story time sessions at intervals throughout the day.
There are plenty of cafes and kiosks for a pitstop, or lots of places to enjoy a brought from home picnic, both outside and inside. If the weather is not so good, you can stay dry in some of the animal walk throughs and warm up in the tropical house.
Top tip – Senior citizens and students pay only £15 for the day and children 2 and under are free. Great for some quality grandparenting time!
By booking seven days in advance a family of five can visit Winchester Science Centre for £68.75. This summer’s Fiesta spectacular means there is so much more included in your admission.
As well as all the usual indoor excitement, like explosive live science shows and the unforgettable Planetarium, families will be able to enjoy festival tents, mini stages and live science outside whilst enjoying views across the South Downs National Park.
The Science Centre has two outdoor spaces which will be filled with noise, science and festival fun this summer.
Inside in the Science Theatre, there is a fiesta of fireworks. This live show will delve into the science behind the ooh’s, aah’s and wow’s of a firework display. Fun experiments and dazzling demos will bring this explosive topic to life.
There are all the regular fun learning exhibits to learn more about sound, hearing and vibration. You can also blast off on a journey through Explorer:Space to discover more about what it’s like to live and work in space.
There is an excellent Space Café at Winchester Science Centre, but families are also welcome to bring a picnic. Enjoy yours outside with views across the South Downs or bring it inside to the café if the weather turns chilly.
Top tip – book your tickets early to save 25% off the on the day prices.
At 878 AD a family of five can take a trip all the way back to Anglo-Saxon Winchester for £39.50. Winchester’s newest attraction is proving popular with families. It brings history to life through the world of the video game franchise Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. It is a fully immersive experience in two parts: an interactive indoor attraction with stunning video projection and live performance, and an augmented reality adventure outside on the Winchester city streets.
Actors, artefacts, games and quests take visitors back to a pivotal point in the history of England as an emerging, unified nation: the defeat of the Vikings by Alfred the Great at the Battle of Edington in May 878.
Continue your journey of discovery afterwards with an augmented reality app, available for download during your visit. When you complete 878 AD: Winchester Revealed, you can also unlock rare Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in-game content.
This summer, new Quests have been added. Mysterious objects have made their way back to Anglo-Saxon Winchester, and it is up to you to retrieve them. However, the town locals won’t make this easy for you! Follow clues, grant favours and convince the town-folk to help you, otherwise history as we know it could change forever.
Top tip – Pay to enter once and visit as many times as you like in 12 months and experience new quests as they are created.
A family of five can take a break from the outside world and explore the awe-inspiring Winchester Cathedral for £25 – under 16’s go free. There is so much history included in this ticket, and you can pay once and visit free as many times as you like for the following 12 months.
Tickets include access to the Kings and Scribes Exhibition, a captivating journey through over 1,000 years of history. Immerse yourself in the lives of influential Anglo-Saxon kings and discover the role of Winchester’s magnificent cathedrals. This interactive exhibition is a must-visit for all ages and a popular rainy-day activity.
For a small additional cost of £2 this summer there is a family trail around the cathedral. You’ll step into history and discover medieval Queens, deep divers, pilgrims and hidden creatures. No booking required.
There are also bookable interactive family craft workshops. Booking is essential for these and they cost an additional £5 per person and are suitable for children aged 3-11 years, sessions are followed by a story time.
Throughout August there are special family tailored tours of the cathedral. Learn fascinating facts and satisfy curious minds as the knowledgeable team answers questions like: Does the cathedral flood? How long did it take to build the cathedral? What treasures lie within the chests? Recommended for children aged 5 and above. Pre-booking is essential. The tours cost £10 per adult, and you do not need to pay general admission.
Winchester Cathedral warmly welcomes families to join their services, where worship is free for all ages. Children may particularly enjoy the Evensong services, providing an opportunity to listen to the choirs singing.
Top tip – Looking to entertain teenagers? Book a Tower tour and see Winchester and the cathedral from a great height. Tickets are £15 each and include general admission to the cathedral.
A joint ticket for a family of five to these two family-friendly museums is £22.50, and this will give you return entry for 12 months.
A perfect plan for when the weather is not looking so good, City Museum is in the historic heart of Winchester and 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’s past and present in the museum’s three galleries.
During your visit you can become an amateur archaeologist and handle real artefacts or pretend to be a Roman or Saxon and try on the costumes they would have worn. This summer there will also be games galore with extra pop-up games and activities around the Museum.
On Saturday 26 August you can meet a real Georgian Sailor and find out more about adventures at sea during the 19th century, a journey of survival and discovery.
Located at the top of the High Street in the historic city of Winchester, Westgate Museum is housed inside a surviving fortified medieval city gateway. The museum tells the story of this remarkable building, and the history of Tudor and Stuart Winchester. It also offers great rooftop city views. A debtors’ prison for 150 years, this beautifully refurbished listed monument is the last of the main medieval gates into the city.
There are plenty of hands-on activities for all the family to enjoy during your visit and on 23 July, King Charles I returns! Meet the King and learn more about the time he spent in Winchester by exploring the Westgate, Winchester High Street and Winchester City Museum.
Top tip – For £1 extra you can take part in Alderman Jacob’s Time Quest and explore Winchester City Museum, the Westgate Museum and streets of Winchester to complete the Quest for a small prize.
Winchester is ideally located for family walks and picnics. As well as lots of green spaces there are great play parks in the city. The newly revamped park in Abbey Gardens is a perfect place to let off some steam and has fully accessible equipment for all to enjoy.
A short walk along the river will take you to St Catherine’s Hill. Climb the steps to the top to see beautiful views across the city and the Itchen Valley floodplains. From here you’ll also find the earthworks of an Iron Age fort; buried ruins of the Norman chapel that gives the site its name and a Mizmaze. Who will be the first to work their way out?
Other great local walks take you along the Itchen Navigation to the Hospital of St Cross or up the mighty St Giles Hill to a perfect picnic spot. If you enjoy wildlife spotting, head to River Park and the Winnall Moors nature reserve, where there is always plenty to see.
Further afield, but still close to the city you will find the South Downs National Park and market towns including Alresford, Wickham and Bishop’s Waltham. Each offers great walking and picnicking opportunities and free family friendly trails.