Visit Winchester > What’s on > Festivals


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The city of Winchester hosts a multitude of festivals throughout the year that inspire, intrigue and enchant thousands of visitors every year.

Come and immerse yourself in Winchester’s festival scene and you’ll find the city it at its vibrant best – showcasing an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colourful events. With more events being added to our already diverse and busy calendar there is bound to be something up your street happening on one of ours!

Sadly this year many of our favourite festivals had to postpone as a result of coronavirus, however that means that 2021 will see them desperate to return to the streets and performance venues of Winchester and we can’t wait to welcome them back! Dates of 2021 festivals will be announced right here.

If you are looking to find out what is happening for the rest of 2020, please take a look at our What’s on pages and remember to check out the website of the event before you plan your trip. You can also sign up to our Visit Winchester e-newsletter for event news and top tips for great days out.

Literary enthusiasts and aspiring poets must look out for the biennial Winchester Poetry Festival in October which brings local and international poets to enthral audiences with readings and workshops. Emerging and experienced creative writers should pencil in the Writers’ Weekend in July 

Don’t miss Hat Fair – the UK’s longest running festival of outdoor arts when Winchester’s High Street welcomes performances of all kinds in July – from jugglers, fire eaters and trapeze artists to stage theatre – a great day out for the whole family.

Dancers in front of the Guildhall Winchester surrounded by an audience

(c) Adrienne Photography

Winchester Chamber Music Festival plays host to a weekend of top quality chamber music-making in venues throughout the city.

If you are looking for a super-chilled, family-friendly summer music festival then look out for Alresford Music Festival. Be entertained by an eclectic mix of musical styles and raw talent, dedicated family areas plus food and drink stalls.

Family-friendly Boomtown in August offers a city of wonderment, theatre, escapism and community with breathtaking and intricate stages and streets just waiting to be discovered. Enjoy hundreds of musical acts from across the globe.

Winchester Jazz Festival in September offers an amazing array of acts performing throughout the city – for a sound bite head to one of the jazz nights at the new Cafe bar at Theatre Royal Winchester.

Looking for a real belly laugh? Then the annual Winchester Comedy Festival is for you. Usually held in October, it showcases the talents of established and up-and-coming comedians plus personalities from the arts.

Child at Alresford Music festival c. David McKibbin Photography

Celebrate Alresford’s local leaf at the annual Watercress Festival in May and sample delicious watercress chocolate and sausages or visit a watercress farm.

Winchester is also home to a growing feast of food and drink festivals celebrating local gins, wine, coffee and food. Winchester Cocktail Week is back to cause a stir in June, or clink glasses with Masters of Wine Susie and Peter at the Wine Festival in November.

Food is celebrated for a whole month in July as the Hampshire Food Festival serves up a mouthwatering feast of over 75 events including vineyard and brewery tours, farm walks, festival menus, pop-ups restaurants and more.

Winchester’s Cheese & Chilli Festival in August is a fantastic festival for all the family with live music, cooking demos and magic shows.

The Green Hampshire Harvest Weekend in October offers another chance to celebrate local produce and farming with a host of fun-packed activities for all the family.

Winchester Cocktail Week

Winchester Cocktail Week

For style inspiration then make sure you are dressed and prepared for Winchester Fashion Week. For a sneak peak at the creatives of the future take a look at the work of final year degree students at Winchester School of Art’s BA Degree Show in June.

New for 2021: Winchester will play host to the region’s first design festival celebrating Hampshire’s thriving design economy. Winchester Design Festival will create an umbrella brand for a wide range of activities happening across the city to help magnify design excellence, inspire young people and attract talent and investment into the region.

Hampshire is home to world class design. From Artificial Intelligence, to Marine Design, to Architecture the area is a magnet for design expertise and talent. It aims to make people think differently about design in the region, its role in the world and how design is more important now than ever.

Winchester Fashion Week 2017

Winchester Fashion Week 2017

Every September Heritage Open Days celebrates the nation’s fantastic history and culture. In Winchester it is your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are free to explore.

Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days

The Christmas festive season starts in Winchester in November with the switch on of the Christmas lights.

Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market and Ice Rink is recognised as one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe because of its unique location, high quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere. Wonderful Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods can be found in abundance.

Families looking for a traditional panto should head to Theatre Royal Winchester to see some of the most popular favourites transformed for the stage and promising plenty of jokes, singing and laughing.

Looking for a Christmas tipple? Clink glasses with BBC1 wine experts Susie and Peter at the Winchester Wine Festival in November in the stunning surroundings of Guildhall Winchester.