Visit Winchester > Discover Wickham

Discover Wickham

Winchester College
Winchester College

The charming village of Wickham combines ancient history, intriguing shopping, quality produce, delicious dining, beautiful countryside and miles of walks and cycle rides. At the heart of this historic village lies the handsome Square – one of the largest in the country covering almost two acres and always alive with residents and visitors.

The nearby naturally formed water meadows form a tranquil oasis in the middle of the village, offering a peaceful place to walk, picnic or simply spend some time by the water’s edge.

One of the village’s most impressive buildings is St Nicholas Church which dates back to 1120 and sits perched on a very large sacred mound.

If you’ve an eye for a bargain or simply like to browse, make sure you allow time to visit Chesapeake Mill which is filled to the brim with exclusive collections of antiques, home furnishings, art and jewellery. Why not stop for a drink in the tea room and soak up the surroundings of this extraordinary Grade II listed mill which was built in 1820 incorporating timber from the US Frigate Chesapeake, captured by the British HMS Shannon in 1813.

Formerly spelt ‘Wykeham’, the village’s name derives from the Anglo-Saxon ‘wic’, meaning ‘creek’, and ‘ham’, meaning ‘home’, suggesting that the earliest settlers were attracted to the location as it featured a ford which crossed the River Meon.

Wickham is mentioned in the Royal Charter of 826, when a Saxon settlement was thought to be well established on the east side of the river. By 1086 Wickham was deemed significant enough to feature in the Domesday Book and in 1269, the Lord of the Manor was given the rights to hold a market and a fair here.

No history of Wickham can be complete without a mention of the village’s most famous resident, William of Wykeham, who was born just outside of Wickham in 1320. Twice Lord Chancellor and also a Bishop of Winchester, William is credited with being the founder of Winchester College and New College Oxford, as well as building a significant part of Windsor Castle.

For more information on Wickham’s fascinating past see History of Wickham

Fetes, fairs and festivals are a big part of village life and visitors are invited to enjoy the events as mush as the locals.

You’ll be hard pushed to find a more typically English start to summer than the May Day sunrise celebration in Wickham. Local Morris dancers “greet the dawn” at the start of the day, and perform once again in the early evening.

The Sqaure is taken over by a fun fair during the annual Wickham Horse Fair in May when the travelling community sell and race ponies and horses.

Early August is when a large field to the north of The Square is transformed into The  Wickham Music Festival.  With a definite folky feel, this intimate festival attracts big names and  music lovers from across the country.

In early December, Father Christmas visits The Square to turn on Wickham’s Christmas lights during a festive evening of seasonal refreshments and late night shopping. And the annual Boxing Day Rally sees the village filled with vintage cars and motorbikes of every era.

Just over 30 minutes from Winchester by car.

By car: leave Winchester down Southgate Street and at Bushfield roundabout follow the signs for Bishop’s Walton on the B3335. After Twyford keep left on the B3354 until Fisher’s Pond. At the Fisher’s Pond traffic lights turn left onto the B2177 to Bishop’s Waltham. Pass through Bishop’s Waltham, staying on the B2177 until it meets the A334. Turn left for Wickham. Alternatively, take the M3 south from Winchester and then the M27 for Portsmouth. Exit the M27 at junction 10 for Wickham and the A32.

By bus: on bus route 69 to Fareham.