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Winter Walks and Tours

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Christmas is all about indulgence – mince pies, mulled wine and cosying up with a festive movie. But make sure you find time to wrap up warm and go out for a winter walk to enjoy some of Winchester district’s much-loved wintry views.

Here are some guided walks and tours taking in beautiful locations, and informative festive talks, complete with tipples.

Harvey Mills Photography

From 18 November to 23 December, Walsh Tours are hosting Christmas Mulled Wine Walks. Meeting at the Westgate, hear stories of Winchester and Christmas traditions as you discover the city centre with a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate from the Old Vine pub. The final stop is Winchester Cathedral, where you’ll be able to pick up some festive goodies at the Christmas Market.

But before you do, why not book a place on the Cathedral’s special Christmas Tower or Rooftop Tower Tour – to see a very festive Winchester and surrounding county from merrily on high. Climb the spiral steps to the roof and ringing chamber, see the cathedral bells and walk the length of the nave roof with its huge wooden beams. Tours run from 19 November to 17 December (Rooftop Tour) or 21 December (Tower Tour) excluding Sundays.

Snow on houseIf you’re a fan of Jane Austen, on 5 December visit Chawton for a relaxed, guided walk around the village and follow in the beloved writer’s footsteps and learn about her life. This Christmas Special will include festive readings, stories and Georgian Christmas traditions.

While on 8 December, Winchester Area Tour Guides will take you on a guided tour of Abbey House – the Mayor’s official residence – delving in to its history, before a glass of mulled wine and mince pies with the Mayor.

Sunset Walk

Alternatively, if you simply want fresh air and a catch up with friends and family, there are lots of suggestions for city-centric walks here. Including the romantic Sunset Walk which gives you a bird’s eye view of the city from St Giles Hill, or stroll around the centre towards the water meadows and follow the trail poet John Keats enjoyed each day when he stayed in Winchester in 1819, or learn about the city’s military or royal past as you wander. Trail maps are available from Winchester Visitor Information Centre or they can be downloaded¬†and several can be followed digitally on your mobile.

From 20 November to 4 January, pick up a trail sheet for the children from Winchester Visitor Information Centre, Winchester Discovery Centre, or Winchester City Museum and as a family explore Winchester BID’s free Gingerbread Christmas Trail – and look out for ten gingerbread characters, each with a letter, which go to spell a Christmassy word. Complete the sheet and return to one of Santa’s post boxes for a chance to win a festive hamper. Trail sheets are also available to download here.

Between 18 November and 27 December, families can take part in Theatre Royal Winchester’s free Aladdin Magic Lamp Trail in the Brooks Shopping Centre. Celebrating this year’s pantomime the trail comprises of ten magic lamps. Find the letter on each lamp to reveal the name of one of the characters in Aladdin. Trail maps and entry forms can be found in various locations including the theatre and visitor information centre – with completed forms to be posted in the post box near Primark or online for the chance to win tickets for the panto on 2 January 2022 and a goody bag!

Why not take some time out of the city to explore the rest of the district? There are routes to take in and around Alresford. Follow trails that introduce you to the market town’s history, wildlife and heritage railway line, and connect to longer distance walks, which take in the home of Jane Austen, and where the battle of Cheriton (a major turning point in the English Civil War) took place. Head out to Wickham for walks which take in some of the county’s most historically important churches and discover woodland ideal for the whole family in the heart of the Meon Valley – the gateway to the South Downs National Park. Visit Bishop’s Waltham for the Palace ruins, enjoy a local nature reserve, or join a 155-mile medieval route following in the footsteps of pilgrims who journeyed to Normandy, France to worship.

Cathedral with snow

Finally, if you’re prepared to wrap up warm for an even bigger adventure, why not try to complete a stretch of the 100-mile long South Downs Way, which stretches from Winchester to the white cliffs of Eastbourne. Explore rolling hills, river valleys, ancient woodland, and listed buildings.