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Top ten green spaces to explore in Winchester this summer

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The weather is heating up (most days) and it’s time to enjoy the British sunshine, so grab you picnic and sun cream and head to one of the stunning outside green spaces in the Winchester district.

Don’t forget to visit your local deli or café for some real treats to enjoy while you relax in the picturesque surroundings.

Bishop’s Waltham Palace Ruins

If you are looking for somewhere to relax in unique historic surroundings then Bishop’s Waltham Palace is the place for you. Explore the remains of the 12th and 14th century buildings including the impressive three-storey tower and the fine windows of the great hall built by William of Wykeham, bishop from 1367 and founder of Winchester College and New College, Oxford.  This site was given by the King to the Bishop of Winchester in 904, and in 1136 Henry de Blois, a later bishop, built the Bishop’s Waltham Palace. Steeped in history and set within attractive grounds – it’s very easy to spend a day here. With the medieval market town of Bishop’s Waltham just  across the road, you can even combine a shopping trip and treat the kids to an ice cream.

Bishop's Waltham Palace

Bishop’s Waltham Palace

South Downs National Park

If you like get away from it all with sweeping picturesque landscapes on every side take a walk through the South Downs National Park and find your perfect spot. Home to a number of globally important habitats the national park is a great place to see beautiful flora, fauna and wildlife, including lowland heath, described as rarer than rainforest.

A family of four walking along a grassy hill with a view of the South Downs National Park behind them

South Downs National Park

St Catherine’s Hill

Take a walk up the locally famous St Catherine’s Hill for stunning views of Winchester below, the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon in the sun. The flower-rich chalk grassland is home to some stunning wild flowers, and over 25 different species of butterflies including the marbled white, chalkhill blue and brown argus.

St Giles Hill

Just a few minutes walk from the city centre is St Giles Hill – a beautiful, quiet green space with an amazing birds-eye view of Winchester high street and the statue of King Alfred in the Broadway. The hill takes its name from a medieval chapel that once stood there and for being the site of St Giles Fair, the largest and most profitable medieval fair in the whole of Europe.

Cheriton Walk

Take a stroll through the Winchester district’s beautiful countryside and step back into history on the Cheriton Walk. The Battle of Cheriton was a major turning point in the English Civil War and helped shape the future of England. Follow this trail that sets out from the Parliamentarian camp at Hinton Ampner and embark on the walk taken by the troops on 29 March 1644 to the Cheriton Battlefield, tracing the movements of the soldiers who shaped our nation while taking in the stunning surroundings.

St Cross

Explore the serene and picturesque setting of St Cross for a relaxing afternoon surrounded by luscious green space. Set your picnic blanket down and take in the stunning surroundings. Why not make your way there along the Keats Trail from the city centre and discover more of Winchester’s beautiful views. Reward yourself with a cup of tea and a slice of delicious homemade cake from the tea rooms at the Hundred’s Men Hall – if the weather is nice you can enjoy it in the gardens of the Hospital of St Cross. Check their website for opening times.

Hospital of St Cross ® Harvey Mills Photography 2017

Hospital of St Cross ® Harvey Mills Photography 2017

Gilbert White’s Gardens

Inspired by the English landscape, Gilbert White created the original gardens at the house and many of the historic features can still be seen today including the original Haha, Sundial and Fruit Wall as well as the Great Oak planted in 1730. Much of the gardens seen today at Gilbert White’s House have been recreated using the notes Gilbert White kept in his ‘Garden Kalendar’.

Chawton House

Step into the gardens at Chawton House and explore the grounds once loved by Jane Austen and her family. Walk along the lime avenue with distant views of the parkland beyond, as well as the ‘wilderness’. Step out of Chawton House and explore the fantastic walks around Chawton, enjoying the beautiful countryside.

Snowdrop in front of Chawton House

Chawton House snowdrop

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

In the heart of the New Forest, the Beaulieu National Motor Museum is a multi-award winning family day out known for having one of the finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world however, the gardens and grounds are the perfect place to explore. Enjoy views across the tidal Beaulieu River from the Mill Pond Walk, explore the wilderness or see what you can discover in the Victorian Kitchen Garden or Victorian Flower Garden.

Abbey Gardens

One of Winchester’s favourite city centre gardens has to be Abbey Gardens. The perfect place to stop with your ice cream or picnic and relax whilst on a visit to the city. Sit in the shadow of the Guildhall and Abbey House and enjoy all the colours of the flowers planted throughout. Kids can play in the play park and then you can all go for a refuel next door at Inn the Park – a stylish new family-friendly grill restaurant offering rotisserie dishes, waffles and casual all-day dining which transforms in the evening into a grill serving meat, fish and local produce. You’ll even find a mini arcade, complete with video games, Hampshire larder, merchandise, and decks.

The River Itchen flowing beside Abbey Gardens in the sunshine

Don’t forget to explore one of our self-guided walks to explore more stunning open green spaces.