Winchester is the ultimate destination for making memories and sharing experiences with friends. Discover the vibrant tapestry of history at 878 AD, an immersive experience created by Hampshire Cultural Trust in partnership with Assassin’s Creed creators, Ubisoft. This interactive attraction with live performance transports visitors back to the pivotal year of 878 AD, a time when the fate of England hung in the balance. You will experience the sights, sounds and smells of Anglo-Saxon Winchester and discover the stories of the people who lived there, brought to life with the spectacular world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Discovery Tour: Viking Age.
The journey doesn’t end within the walls of 878 AD. Complementing the attraction is Winchester Revealed an incredible augmented reality app that recreates 9th century Winchester. Winchester Revealed is an innovative way for groups and families to traverse Winchester’s historic streets, completing Anglo-Saxon tasks that bring the city’s rich heritage to life.
With a captivating history and magnificent architecture, Winchester Cathedral has been a living place of worship and welcome for over 1,000 years. Step inside one of the finest medieval cathedrals in Europe and take your group on a tour with one of their expert guides. If you take the tower tour, your group will climb the spiralling steps together up onto the cathedral roof and enjoying magnificent views of the county and beyond. This is a brilliant activity for visitors over the age of 12. You’ll explore the ringing chamber, the great cathedral bells and walk the full length of the nave roof with its huge wood beams.
Marwell Zoo is wonderful for multigenerational family groups and getting friends together. There is plenty of outdoor space, and a whole host of animals and activities. The 140-acre park is home to an incredible range of exotic and endangered species, including giraffes, tigers, leopards, meerkats, penguins and more.
Your tribe can get up close to the wonders of the natural world and learn about a variety of animals during daily talks and animal feeds. Younger visitors under 14 years can run wild in the in the five adventure playgrounds and you can all refuel together at one of the many cafés and picnic areas. Marwell is also suitable for those with extra needs. There are accessible toilets, baby change facilities, bottle/baby food warming station and everyone can enjoy their recently opened Makaton led Thriving Through Nature exhibit.
For an extra special visit for your group, why not book and animal experience such as giraffe feeding or going behind the scenes with the primates team? More details can be found on the Marwell website.
If it’s an action-packed adventure you are after, head to Winchester Science Centre. It is the perfect place for groups of families and friends with younger children to get hands-on with science and nature in the beautiful South Downs National Park.
You are never too young or old to learn something new and, with so much to discover across two floors of interactive exhibits, there’ll be something to astound, amaze and excite all ages. Watch as science comes to life through explosive shows and huge ‘don’t try this at home’ demos. Meet the minibeasts of the South Downs in Bio: Space and blast off on an unforgettable journey through space in the Planetarium where you’ll make memorable moments together that will be talked about for years. For groups of grown-ups looking for something different, check out the Science Lates which include screenings in the planetarium, cocktails and silent discos!
For grown up groups and gastronomes, Winchester is a very tasty location. It lies in the heart of Hampshire, a county that is renowned for having the ideal terroir for producing award-winning sparkling wine and a wide range of delicious local produce. The district itself boasts several vineyards including Raimes, Grange, Exton Park and Hambledon. Even the celebrated French Champagne producer, Louis Pommery, has established a vineyard near Winchester. Vineyards of Hampshire has full details and links to tours, tastings and festivals celebrating local fizz.
Throughout the year there are various food festivals celebrating local produce including the Winchester and Hampshire Food Festivals in July and Alresford Watercress Festival in May. Many local restaurants welcome larger parties and some offer private dining facilities. The historic Chesil Rectory has a very special private dining room for parties up to 12 people.
Winchester has many different accommodation options for groups from camping and glamping at Holden Farm or Wallops Wood though to luxury stays at Hotel du Vin and Lainston House. In the city centre you are spoilt for choice with everything from budget chains to cosy pubs with rooms. For families looking for a base then the Holiday Inn Winchester offers ideal accommodation and dining options and easy access into the city and further afield. You’ll find a comprehensive list of accommodation option on the Visit Winchester website.
It is easy to get everyone to Winchester as it is very well connected. It’s just one hour from London by train and minutes from the M3 motorway. It is also a short distance from Southampton Airport and the ferry and cruise terminals of Southampton and Portsmouth for those coming from further afield. Winchester is well located for enjoying adventures in the South Downs National Park and is a short distance from the New Forest and beautiful beaches of Hampshire and Dorset.
We look forward to welcoming you and your group in Winchester in 2024.
For further information and news of the latest events bookmark Visit Winchester and follow us on Instagram @visitwinchesteruk and Facebook @visitwinchester