Top things to do in Winchester

Child at Winchester Military Museums
Winchester Military Museums

With its world class attractions, architecture, beautiful countryside and spectacular history and heritage, Winchester and the surrounding area is bursting with things to do and places to visit.

Below, we’ve compiled some of our favourite things to do in WInchester for all ages. Whether you’re looking for fun, history, culture, or more.

Great for the whole family

Get closer to the wonders of the natural world at Marwell Zoo. From ring-tailed lemurs to majestic giraffes, and curious meerkats, to stunning snow leopards, the 140-acre park is home to an incredible range of exotic and endangered species. Their biggest ever exhibit, Tropical House: Energy for Life is now open! Share the habitat and enjoy uninterrupted, close-up views of new, colourful and charismatic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects amongst a lush, tropical rainforest. Operated by Marwell Wildlife, a world renowned, action oriented charity leading conservation programmes in the UK and Abroad. Not only will your visit be a fantastic day out in Winchester but you’ll be supporting conservation work all over the world.

Historical places to visit in Winchester

For history lovers there’s plenty to see and learn at Winchester’s Military Museums. With history dating back to the formation of the British Army, this group of military museums is one of Winchester’s hidden gems.

Winchester’s Military Museums is a grouping of six regimental museums situated within yards of each other on an historic site close to the city centre of Winchester, adjacent to the Great Hall. Each museum offers a unique experience and has its own story to tell. There are fantastic collections of medals, paintings and military objects on display across the whole site, making a trip to Winchester’s Military Museums well worth a visit.

Cultural things to do in Winchester

Winchester Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the longest nave and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. It’s an inspiring space for daily worship and a busy community hosting a huge range of activities.

Children at Marwell Zoo in WInchester
Marwell Zoo

As well as being a beautiful structure, the Cathedral has a rich and vibrant history with plenty of treasures to explore within the stone walls. Marvel at the Winchester Bible, the largest and finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles with its glowing colours, which amazingly are as intense today as they were 800 years ago! Dare to brave the Crypt Tour and explore the 11th century low-vaulted stone crypt which dates back to the earliest phase of building the Cathedral.

The crypt is home to Antony Gormley’s mysterious life-size sculpture of a solitary man, Sound II and during the rainy months the sculpture can be seen standing up to its knees in water! For dizzying heights and wonderful views climb the 213 steps to the top of the Cathedrals tower and experience magnificent views across Winchester and the county. See the ringing chamber, the great Cathedral bells and even walk the full length of the nave roof with its huge wood beams. It’s not for the faint hearted!

Also, keep a look out for local events to see more of the culture. Find them at our guide to what’s on in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Spark your curiosity in science…

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium is home to Explorer:Space, an immersive space zone where your family can take an epic journey through the Solar System and learn about all things space, from meteorites to human space flight. There are also two floors of interactive hands-on exhibits to explore, aiming to spark curiosity in all the family and bring the worlds of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to life.

The planetarium offers an unforgettable experience. The 360° cinema screen completely surrounds the audience, placing everyone right in the action. There are two different show formats on offer – fulldome pre-recorded films and presenter-led live shows. The Centre also offers three different show environments to ensure that everyone can enjoy the planetarium – chatterbox shows, quiet shows and autism-friendly shows.