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!
Returning in 2020: Literary enthusiasts and aspiring poets can look forward to the return of Winchester Poetry Festival in October 2020. This biennial festival brings local and international poets artists 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.
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 music festival this summer then look out for Alresford Music Festival which has a brand new DJ stage and exciting new performance venue ‘The Bizarre’. 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. Held in October, it showcases the talents of established and up-and-coming comedians plus personalities from the arts.
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.
For style inspiration then make sure you are dressed and prepared for the 10th Winchester Fashion Week in April. 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 2020: Winchester will play host to the region’s first design festival celebrating Hampshire’s thriving design economy in October. 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.
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.
This year also sees the return of the Stone Festival in June at Winchester Cathedral with events and activities to celebrate the historic art of stone masonry.
The Christmas festival season starts in Winchester on the 12 November with the switch on of the Christmas lights.
The Christmas Market and Ice Rink returns to the Cathedral Close on the 19 November. The Christmas Market will run until 22 December and the Ice Rink will continue until 3 January 2021.
Families looking for a traditional panto should head to Theatre Royal Winchester to see Aladdin from Saturday 29 November 2020 until Sunday 3 January 2021.
Clink glasses with BBC1 wine experts Susie and Peter at the Winchester Wine Festival on 27 and 28 November in the stunning surroundings of Guildhall Winchester.