A Winchester Weekend Escape

Find out why England’s ancient capital is well worth exploring

Winchester’s story stretches back to Roman times. Home to the world’s longest medieval cathedral, a walk through this compact city reveals two millennia of history along its historic streets, through its alleys and gardens, and around the Cathedral Close.

The sheer beauty of this city on the edge of the South Downs National Park, combined with its world-class attractions and vibrant food-and-drink scene, make it a wonderful destination for a weekend getaway. Planning a trip? Don’t miss these AA- and VisitEngland-rated recommendations.

Things to do in Winchester

The city of Winchester boasts some remarkable architectural treasures. Starting at the imposing bronze statue of King Alfred the Great, enjoy a stroll up the characterful High Street before reaching the Cathedral Close. The city’s magnificent cathedral was founded in 1079 and is home to a host of fascinating artefacts, including the 12th-century illuminated Winchester Bible and the tombs of early English kings.

A wander round the Cathedral Close will see you pass the entrance to the oldest school in England, Winchester College. Tours are available if visiting in the summer, allowing visitors to view the handsome cloisters and savour the unspoilt historic atmosphere.

There’s a beautiful riverside walk to be explored beside the College grounds – why not grab a coffee from the city centre before ambling along the Itchen. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, a climb of St Catherine’s Hill will reveal beautiful views over Winchester and the surrounding countryside of the South Downs.

To discover more of the city’s rich and diverse history, a visit to the Winchester City Museum is a must. The Great Hall, located at the top of the High Street, is the only surviving part of Winchester Castle and houses the 13th-century Round Table based on the Arthurian legend.

Recommended things to do in Winchester

The Great Hall

Winchester  – England's ancient capital (walk)

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester City Museum

Winchester College

Winchester Science Centre

Places to stay in Winchester

Whether you’re looking for city centre luxury or a peaceful retreat on the outskirts, Winchester offers plenty of choice to its visitors.

Our rated recommendations

Hotel du Vin Winchester

Running Horse Inn

South Winchester Lodges

The Garden Room at Magdalen House

The Old Vine

The Westgate

The Wykeham Arms

Where to eat in Winchester

From modern French cooking served in a medieval house to quirky gastro-pubs, Winchester has plenty of options for the hungry visitor.

Discover Winchester's top-rated restaurants

Avenue Restaurant at Lainston House Hotel

Running Horse Inn

The Black Rat

The Chesil Rectory

The Wykeham Arms

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