Visit Winchester > Things to do > Culture & entertainment
Mysteries & Mayhem
Mysteries & Mayhem

Walk in the footsteps of your favourite author on one of Winchester’s literature trails, catch an open air theatre performance in the grounds of a stately home and stop by one of numerous museums or art galleries.

At the heart of the city’s cultural quarter is The Arc with its programme of regular exhibitions in The Gallery and City Space. The Arc also offers performances and live entertainment including comedy shows, talks from renowned authors, concerts and theatre.

The city continues to entertain visitors well into the evening at its many live performance venues. The Edwardian Theatre Royal Winchester has been restored with a modern twist and plays host to an eclectic mix of drama, live music, dance and comedy. The Chesil Theatre Company stages productions in the diminutive 12th century St Peter’s Church. It is the premier amateur theatre company in the area.

During the spring and summer Winchester welcomes exciting arts celebrations of all kinds.

Highlights include  Hat Fair, held in July. This is Britain’s longest running festival of street theatre and takes its name from the money in the hats of performers. Every summer over 50,000 people flock to the streets of Winchester to watch the spectacle.

One of the most talked-about fashion events outside of London is Winchester Fashion Week  – a creative frenzy of catwalk shows, workshops, talks, exhibitions and a frock swap.

Visit: Festivals in Winchester for a full list.

Modern art and striking architecture sit side-by-side with historic buildings, monuments and museums in the ancient capital of England.

The city has a wealth of accomplished artists, designers and craftspeople working and living in the area and is home to the University of Southampton’s thriving art school.

One of Winchester’s most famous landmarks is Hamo Thornycroft’s towering bronze statue of King Alfred the Great, erected in 1901 in the Broadway.

Antony Gormley’s Sound II stands in the crypt of Winchester Cathedral and looks especially striking when it floods with water. And outside, Luminous Motion, a stainless steel tower by Peter Freeman, studded with changing coloured lights, creates a striking contrast with the ancient cathedral behind it.

Horse and Rider, the life-size bronze statue by Elisabeth Frink, overlooks the High Street and as you head towards The Westgate, with its 15th and 16th century painted glass windows and a 16th century painted ceiling, made at the time of the marriage in Winchester Cathedral of Queen Mary Tudor to King Philip II of Spain, look out for David Kemp’s Hampshire Hog, created to celebrate the centenary of Hampshire County Council in 1989.

Visit Winchester College to see arts and artefacts which once belonged to Bishop William of Wykeham (1324-1404) set within the architecturally impressive surrounds of the college, one of the oldest schools in England.

Marzia Colonna’s Kite Flyer sculpture in Parchment Street is one of the most recent additions to Winchester’s sculptural mix, along with 19 colourfully painted bollards featuring designs taken from iconic paintings by artists such as Hockney and Picasso which you can admire as you soak up the continental café culture of The Square. The bollards are painted by local artists from The Colour Factory.