Historical Attractions in Winchester

Historians and tourists looking to uncover Britain's past will find plenty to occupy them on their visit to Winchester.

The Holiday Inn Winchester is not only well situated for the historic Cathedral city of Winchester; it is also a short drive from a number of world-renowned areas and attractions of historic and literary interest, including Jane Austen’s House set in the beautiful village of Chawton, Chawton House – an stately Elizabethan Mansion and the former home of Jane Austen’s brother, Gilbert White’s House, the historic market town of Alresford and also within easy reach of Highclere Castle, where ‘Downton Abbey’ is filmed.

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral is Europe’s longest medieval Cathedral and a must see if you are travelling to Winchester. People have come to seek inspiration in this magnificent Cathedral for over a thousand years. From a small Saxon church to a great Cathedral, the long history of this sacred place stretches back over 15 centuries. Discover glorious church architecture, priceless treasures, great works of art, historic events and famous people.  See the 12th century Winchester Bible, illuminated in gold and lapis lazuli, contemporary sculpture by Antony Gormley and Barbara Hepworth and the burial place of England’s much-loved novelist Jane Austen. After your visit, take time to explore the Cathedral Gift Shop and the Cathedral Refectory.

Find out more, ready for your visit here

Jane Austen's House

This year it is celebrating the upcoming 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen's death with many events planned across the coming year to mark her life.  There will be musical recitals, performances, workshops and lectures for visitors to enjoy as well as viewing the house that retains the charm of a village home with its beautiful cottage style garden, once tended by Jane’s mother.

Jane Austen is one of the most popular and important novelists that England has ever produced and the house in Chawton, where she spent the last 8 years of her life, is of international importance as the place where she wrote the majority of her novels. click here for more information. 

Chawton House Library 

The village of Chawton was also the home of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight, who owned the Chawton estate and Chawton House, now a centre for the study of Early English Women’s Writing, with its unique collection of works from 1600 – 1830. 

This beautiful Elizabethan house and library is open to the public and surrounded by the beautiful landscape of the estate, which retains a rural English working manor farm of the late 18th and early 19th century, managed in traditional organic farming methods.

Chawton House also has a wonderful collection of art and costumes within its restored interior, while outside visitors can also explore and enjoy the well-managed grounds and gardens. There are guided tours of the house and gardens and many interesting events as well as conferences, workshops and rural craft demonstrations.

For more information click here

Winchester College

Winchester College is an independent school for boys aged 13-18 in the British public school tradition, situated in Winchester, Hampshire. Founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, Winchester College is believed to be the oldest continuously running school in the country and the oldest of the original nine English public schools defined by the Public Schools Act 1868 also including Eton, Harrow and Charterhouse. 

Rich in history, the magnificent building offers many medieval treasures to be explored. Guided tours are organised so you can discover the Chamber Court, the 14th century Gothic Chapel, with one of the earliest examples of a wooden vaulted roof, College Hall, the original Scholars' dining room, the 17th-century redbrick schoolroom and the original medieval cloister.

Find out more about the guided tours here

Gilbert White's House at Selbourne

Gilbert White is best known as one of the first naturalists to study and write about the natural world and for writing and publishing one of the most published books in the English language ‘The Natural History and Antiquities of Selbourne. 

Situated in the heart of this delightful village, the house has large grounds and gardens, a gift shop and tea room and also houses The Oates Collection, an exhibition dedicated to Captain Oates, a pioneer and explorer of the natural world, who accompanied Captain Scott to the South Pole in 1912. 

For more information, please click here

Winchester City Mill

The Winchester City Mill is an urban working watermill powered by the fast-flowing River Itchen at the bottom of High Street.

Rebuilt in 1744 on an earlier medieval site, it remained in use until the early 20th century. Following major restoration undertook by The National Trust, the mill resumed grinding flour again in early 2004. The City Mill is today, a National Trust property.  

The City Mill is a lively and informative place for all ages to enjoy. You can learn about the technology and history of milling with hands-on activities, working models, displays and video presentations. Flour making demonstrations take place on Saturdays and Sundays. Frequent baking/tasting days as also organised throughout the year. 

Find out the latest events at the Winchester City Mill here


Voted Country Life Magazine’s ‘Favourite Market Town’, Alresford is within a few minutes of the Holiday Inn Winchester and is a handsome Georgian town known for its specialist shops, old-fashioned inns, smart bistros and traditional tea rooms. 

It is also home of the Mid-Hants Steam Railway – the Watercress Line.  There is plenty to see and do in the town and a picturesque riverside walk. 

For further information click here.

Wolvesey Castle

Wolvesey Castle is one of the greatest medieval buildings in England that used to be the chief residence of the wealthy and powerful bishops of Winchester.

The extensive surviving ruins of the castle standing next to Winchester Cathedral date largely from the 12th century. 

The last great occasion at Wolvesey Castle was on 25 July 1554, when Queen Mary and Philip II of Spain held their wedding breakfast in the East Hall.

Download an audio tour for your visit here.

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle is one of England’s most beautiful Castles, set in 1000 acres of spectacular parkland. The Carnarvon family has lived at Highclere since 1679 in a series of former properties on the site – and from Victorian times in the current Castle.

More recently it has become known as the home of ‘Downton Abbey’, the popular television series written by Julian Fellows.

Please visit the Highclere Castle website here for information on days and times of opening.

 South Downs National Park  

The South Downs National Park is an area of recognized natural beauty. Situated on the edge of the park The Holiday Inn Winchester is the closest hotel, located a short drive away from the breathtaking scenery. Why not walk the South Downs way starting from Winchester to Eastbourne and see the wonderful views for yourself. Contact the Holiday Inn Winchester for offers accommodation and parking offers.

Click here for more information about South Downs National Park.