In our latest blog three of our Winchester Ambassadors highlight how to have a great day out in Winchester on a budget.
Candice Boyce AKA @Mum_of_leos is a popular family blogger who lives in Winchester. As a single mum she’s always on the lookout for fun inexpensive ways to entertain the kids. Here are her top five…
878 AD is an immersive experience in the heart of Winchester. With live performances and amazing video projections, all in an augmented reality adventure that is sure to be a hit for the whole family. In it you can try your hand at Anglo-Saxon games and take on the quest to reveal previous objects within the children’s trail. All whilst learning about the Anglo-Saxons and their Viking foes.
The second part of this experience uses the app; 878 AD. You get to explore the lost buildings of Winchester’s past as you walk around the city. On your way you collect map fragments that reveal King Alfred’s lasting legacy. Your family become Anglo-Saxon artisans by creating their own shields and making clay pots. You’ll also learn to defend the city walls by practising augmentative reality archery. When you complete the app, you can also unlock rare Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in game content which is sure to be a hit with the older children.
Ticket for admission also includes free entry, as many times as you like, for a year, and it includes the immersive augmented reality app.
Adult: £15 Child (5-15years) £9.50 Family £46.50
The Arc is full of arts, reading, comedy and classes, and is a great place to take little ones. It has brand new upgraded facilities and revamped spaces for families to use.
We have spent many a rainy afternoon reading books or going on a trail and learning while doing it and then enjoying something tasty from the café. The Arc also has a weekly rhyme time but do check out their website to see what’s on, as there is always something new and exciting happening.
Entry to The Arc and Winchester Library is free. Courses, workshops, live performances and exhibitions may be subject to costs – all ticket prices for events can be found on The Arc website.
One of the finest remaining medieval halls, it also contains a replica of King Arthur’s Round Table. This is something to behold at 5.5 metres in diameter and weighs 200kgs! The hall itself is all that is left of Winchester Castle, which dates back to 1067. Children will love exploring this beautiful stone building and be fascinated by the legend that surrounds it.
They can also try on some of the amazing costumes of characters from the castle’s past, such as the knight, a Bishop or even become the King or Queen.
There is also a trail that you can pick up from the front desk for 50p, where they can take up the challenge of villains, heroes and ghosts. Outside you can enjoy playing and exploring Queen Eleanor’s Garden, which has a historically planted garden. My children really enjoyed playing in the tunnel vine arbour and around the fountain.
£3.50 per adult and £2.50 per child (5 to 16 years)
There is a lot for your family to do at the Winchester City Mill. One of these include the Winchester City Mill activity book, which is designed to be used at the mill and at home. The booklet is packed with activities like wildlife spotting and even how to bake shortbread.
Winchester City Mill also offer the ’50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3 quarters’. This includes different challenges such as ‘Spot a Fish, get to know a tree or even play Pooh Sticks’. There is plenty of family fun to be had at this ancient working watermill in the heart of Winchester.
Free with a National Trust Pass
Adults £5.85 Children £2.90 Family £14.60
A walk along St Catherine’s Hill is not only beautiful, but also free. Little ones can walk, scoot or ride a bicycle along the river where you can spot swans and ducks. You could also climb the hill revealing beautiful views of Winchester city, as well as the Itchen Valley floodplains. There is often some cattle grazing nearby.
At the top you can find the earthworks of an Iron Age fort; buried ruins of the Norman chapel that gives the site its name. There is a copse of beech trees that is great fun running and climbing about. You can also find the Mizmaze, which my kids spent a considerable amount of time enjoying following the different paths.
In the summer we have taken picnics up the hill and enjoyed watching the sun set.
Heather Evans from @bespokebiking also recommends St Catherine’s Hill as a great place for a family cycle ride. It’s a gentle flat ride out of town and she suggests parking your bikes at the bottom of the hill steps and taking a climb up the hill. You can count every step on the way up, fly a kite and follow the Mizmaze. You could also do a nature trail on the hill, Heather recommends these https://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/activities. She also recommends taking a flask of hot chocolate or buying take away from the Handlebar Café where they also sell kites, bug spotters and magnify glasses for nature spotters!
Winchester Mum of three and food blogger, Emma Raphael (@WinchesterEats) certainly knows the best places to eat in the city. Winchester boasts a lot of good places for food and caters to most budgets. Here are Emma’s top five places for inexpensive eats:
For inexpensive eating options for family days out how about Shoal on the Broadway for some of the best fish and chips around? They have a great lunchtime special that includes a regular fish, fish cake or veggie option with UNLIMITED chips, homemade bread roll and mushy peas (plus a pot of tea or soft drink!). There’s a good kids menu too. You could always save more money by opting for a takeaway and making a picnic of it!
Reeve the Baker @Reevethebaker
Find them on the High Street, Reeve the Baker is always popular with little ones thanks to all the tempting cakes in the window. You can also find great freshly made sandwiches, pastries and cheese straws to head to the park with for a picnic.
Yiayia’s Kitchen @yiayiaswinchester
This Greek restaurant on Georges Street offers a reasonably priced family meal – Greek wraps plus chips and salad for under £10, or order one of their special platters and share.
Three Joes @threejoes
In the Square close to Winchester Cathedral, Three Joes is great value for money. They also often run special offers on their pizzas and children’s menus. Check before you go and make sure you book a table as they often get very busy.
Sushi doesn’t have to break the bank, and although they are only open in the evening, Sushi 21 on Bridge Street is a great place to get good value sushi (and many other dishes), plus it’s bring your own bottle which is always nice for the grown-ups!