Cities like Winchester are abundant with interesting and entertaining attractions and independent cafes, restaurants and shops that benefit from visitors to the area.
So while you’re enjoying a family day out, remember that everyone’s days out combined generate billions of pounds for the country and millions of jobs too.* Not bad!
The theme for the week this year is ‘You’re Welcome’ and Winchester is certainly ready to welcome residents, UK visitors and overseas holidaymakers to discover what its city and district has to offer.
Watch our new film, ‘Shop, Eat, Explore Winchester’, here.
Amazing attractions! Check out what’s on in Winchester during English Tourism Week.
Until 3 April Winchester Cathedral is home to one of the National Gallery’s most popular paintings, Jan Gossaert’s ‘Adoration of the Kings’. A digital exhibition – designed and produced by the gallery – begins its first tour here and includes pods with digital images of the painting and soundscapes.
On 18 March, Iranian-born and Winchester alumni, comedian Shappi Khorsandi performs a trip down memory lane in show, Shaparak Khorsandi: It was the 90s!, at Theatre Royal Winchester.
This year Winchester Science Centre celebrates 20 years of wow moments, including with some of their best show themes and demos from the past 20 years – with a 2002 retro twist! Including Planet Protectors (19 March – 8 May), exploring how sustainable fashion became a hot topic in the noughties.
Explore the gardens of Gilbert White’s House with a day of nature journaling on 22 March – with author, Dawn Nelson, author of ‘Adventures In Nature’. Listen to excerpts from local naturalist White’s own journal and learn techniques to help you record the nature you see each day.
Plus, read our Mother’s Day blog to plan a special day out.
Exciting eateries. Whichever cuisine you like, visit Winchester to explore a world of food!
Walk to the end of Jewry Street for Porterhouse (next to Theatre Royal Winchester) – the city’s premier steakhouse. Stroll down Parchment Street to find authentic Japanese dishes at Kyoto Kitchen. For Nepalese food, opt for Gurkha’s Inn on City Road – down the hill from the train station. Palm Pan Asia on High Street (opposite Winchester Guildhall) is the place for Thai. Or try Three Joes in The Square for delicious sourdough pizza. But that’s not all!
For a full list of independent food and drink options, click here.
Spectacular shops and mega markets. Winchester is a prime location to ‘shop local’.
For stunning jewellery (including ‘made in-house’ items and the option to commission a piece), visit James Jewellers on Parchment Street. For women’s fashion from a store included in the Sunday Telegraph’s 50 best boutiques in Britain list, browse the rails in Market Street’s Sass & Edge; and if you happen to be visiting and need a mop, whisk or gardening gloves, check out the hardware store ‘that has it all’, D & G Hardware on St George’s Street.
Winchester is also home to a number of markets. During English Tourism Week, explore The Winchester Market, held Thursdays – Saturdays on Lower High Street and Middle Brook Street. For everything from vegetables to leather handbags and antique cutlery. On 20 March, browse quality art, jewellery and textiles at The Art & Design Market; and discover fresh local produce at Hampshire Farmers’ Market on 27 March.
For a list of independent shops in the city centre, click here. Or visit ShopAppy. (Funded through the Government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, since the website launched, shoppers have made over 20,000 virtual visitor to Winchester district’s digital high streets – offering products and services.) For more about markets, click here.
Wondrous walks. Follow a trail to get to know Winchester.
If you’re a nature enthusiast, learn about over 20 types of tree that provide beauty and shade in the city – with the Tree Trail. Tread the path that poet John Keats took daily during his stay in Winchester, which inspired his famous ode, ‘To Autumn’. Visit the landmarks where Pride & Prejudice author Jane Austen grew up and spent her life, with the Austen Trail – including Chawton House and College Street, in the city centre, where she lived after a short illness. Or learn about Winchester’s military past, from Iron Age forts to Civil War sites, with a city-based trail and one exploring further afield.
Winchester city centre is also gateway to the South Downs National Park, which stretches east for over 80 miles towards Eastbourne. A number of trails can be followed on foot or by bike and link up towns and villages and showcase rolling hills, river valleys, ancient woodland and historical buildings.
For more trail ideas, click here.
Super stays. Find a place to rest your head in Winchester before another day’s exploring!
If you’re looking for luxury, The Winchester Royal Hotel is a 16th century hotel in the heart of the city on St George’s Street – with 81 beautifully designed bedrooms and an award-winning garden restaurant. For a comfy bed, locally sourced food and well-kept beers, opt for The King Alfred pub hidden on Saxon Road. Outside the city centre, Forest Holidays hosts self-catering cabins in Blackwood Forest, near Micheldever. Enjoy dramatic woodland views, a hot tub, even pre-booked flowers.
For additional sleeping options, click here.
Magnificent market towns. There’s even more to explore on Winchester’s doorstep.
Winchester district is home to the market towns of Alresford, Bishop’s Waltham and Wickham – each with bags of charm, historical buildings, beautiful walks, independent businesses and exciting events.
Alresford is a town of picturesque pastel Georgian houses; home to the Watercress Line – a 19th century heritage line with steam trains and vintage stations; the Wayfarers’ Walk, which follows tracks once used by shepherds to drive their animals to sheep fairs; and the famous Watercress Festival in May.
Bishop’s Waltham is a great place to start a day exploring the South Downs National Park; welcomes historians to the remains of the Palace where kings and queens once tread; boasts nature and heritage walks that take in meadows and woodland or follow in the footsteps of pilgrims; and a packed calendar of activities like Easter egg and treasure hunts.
Wickham is nestled in the Meon Valley and hosts one of the largest Squares in the country covering almost two acres as well as Chesapeake Mill – a Grade II listed mill, now a place to shop antiques and home furnishings. Enjoy the Wickham Wander which takes in St Nicholas Church, dating back to 1120 and the Wickham Horse Fair in May.
Plus, pick up a destination guide, map, or market town guide to discover more of what the city and towns of Alresford, Bishop’s Waltham and Wickham have in store! Available soon from the visitor information centre on the ground floor of The Guildhall, The Broadway, and to download from www.visitwinchester.co.uk
*English tourism in 2019 generated over £100 billion and supported 2.6 million jobs (Visit Britain website).