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Art & Culture in Winchester

Culture lovers will find plenty to occupy them on their visit to Winchester.

This city is saturated with art galleries, live performance venues and historic buildings, appeasing all the culture vultures out there. Winchester is most well known for its eleventh-century Cathedral and for the Great Hall which for over 700 years has housed the mysterious Round Table. Winchester College is the oldest continuously running school in the country, whilst the Hospital of St Cross – a medieval almshouse – still offers the Wayfarer’s Dole to travellers as it has done for more than eight centuries.

Theatre Royal Winchester

Located in the City Centre the Theatre Royal is a short drive from the hotel and a stroll from the shops and restaurants. The Theatre, On Jury Street, provides an artistic programme of drama, dance, music, comedy, children’s theatre and physical theatre which is perfect for all ages.

To see what’s on whilst you visit Winchester click here.

Mayflower Theatre Southampton

Located in the Centre of Southampton the Mayflower Theatre is a 25 minute drive from the hotel.

The Mayflower Theatre is the largest theatre in the South of England with a capacity of 2,300, it is a major venue for large-scale touring musicals, such as Miss Saigon, Saturday Night Fever and West Side Story. The theatre is also a host for opera, ballet and features West End tours when they tour the UK. The Mayflower is great for families with shows such as James and the Giant Peach, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery of the Pyramid, and the Christmas Pantomime Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates. The theatre is ideally located and is within a 5 minute walk from the Southampton Central train station and is a short stroll from the shops and restaurants of Southampton.

To see what’s on whilst you visit Winchester click here.

Winchester Gallery

The Winchester Gallery is part of the University of Southampton Winchester School of Art. The gallery showcases the work of the School and often exhibits work from outside the School of Art. Admission to the gallery is free and is open during Winchester School of Art Open afternoons, during interviews for prospective students and by appointment.

For more information call: +44 (0)23 8059 6900 or click here.

Winchester Discovery Centre

Visit the Winchester Discovery Centre for a fantastic variety of National exhibitions and events to suit all tastes. From comedy to literature and family fun days the Winchester Discovery centre is the perfect place to drop by whilst exploring Winchester City Centre.

Click here for more information.

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.

Museums 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 City Museum

The Winchester City Museum is Hampshire’s oldest museum.

The Museum tells the story of the city of Winchester, from an important Roman City later principal city of King Alfred. Through galleries, discover Winchester from its origins as a prehistoric trading centre and Roman regional capital, to its pre-eminence as a principal city in the Anglo-Norman kingdom and then development and decline in the Middle Ages, through to modern times.

For more information click here.

The Guardroom Museum

The Museum of the Adjutant General’s Corps is situated in the Guardroom of Peninsula Barracks in Winchester.

The Guardroom Museum in Winchester located in the Centre of Winchester a visit to the museum is a must on your historic tour of the city. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am till 5pm entry to see artefacts such as the War Department Driving Permit that once belonged to Her Majesty the Queen, is free! Whilst you’re here why not visit the four other Military museums on site or take a look round the visitor’s centre.

The Gurkha Museum

The Gurkha Museum in Winchester tells the moving story of the Gurkha service to the British Crown and its people over the last 200 years.

Logo of The Gurkha Museum in Winchester at the Gurkha Museum you will find a fitting tribute to the ‘bravest of the brave most generous of the generous…’.
Learn about Nepalese culture and the story of the Gurkha or check out some of the lecture events, click here for more details.

For more information click here.

The Westgate Museum

The Westgate at the top of High Street is one of two surviving fortified medieval gateways in Winchester that used to be a lockup prison for the drunken and disorderly and a debtors’ gaol for 150 years. You can still see the prisoners’ graffiti on the walls. In 1898, the City Corporation acquired the Westgate and began to use it as a museum and repository for the City archives.

Click here for more information.

Jane Austen’s House Museum

Jane Austen is one of the most popular and important novelists that England ever produced, known worldwide for her romantic fiction, including Pride & Prejudice, which was voted as the one book the nation couldn’t live without. Chawton House is where she spent the last eight years of her life and is where she re-wrote the famous novel.

Today, the 17th Century home has been preserved to tell the story of the novelist, her work and family. The museum showcases some of Austen’s family portraits and touching memorabilia such as the handkerchief she embroidered for her sister, original manuscripts and a bookcase containing first editions of her novels.

Click here for more information.

Beaulieu Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum is set in the heart of the New Forest National Park. Home to a stunning collection of automobiles telling the history of motoring through modern rally cars and F1 Grand Prix machines. Current exhibitions include Bond In Motion, with the worlds largest original collection of James Bond motors, and World of Top Gear featuring vehicles from some of the most ambitious challenges.

Located 25 miles away from the Holiday Inn Winchester Beaulieu Motor Museum makes for the perfect family day out.

For more information or to see upcoming events at Beaulieu click here.

Explore Winchester on foot

Explore the historical town of Winchester and the beautiful South Downs Countryside on foot.


Wheelchair accessible walk route

Explore the beautiful surroundings of the River Itchen and Abbey Gardens

Take in the historic highlights of Winchester with this Wheelchair acsessible route, approximatley one mile long. From the Cathedral to Wolvesey Castle this walk takes in the major tourist attractions of Winchester.

For a map of this route and more details of the attractions along the way click here.


Local walks of the week

Explore the beautiful surrounding villages of the Holiday Inn Winchester 

While staying at the Holiday Inn Winchester, why not discover some of the surrounding areas on these short walks…

Bishop’s Waltham town trail

Set in beautiful countryside not far from Winchester, Bishop’s Waltham is an attractive and historic town, dating from the Middle Ages. The town trail takes approximately one hour and will guide you through the significant historic sites and buildings. Various outlets in Bishop’s Waltham will provide a free copy of the trail.

Walking through the Iron Age

Choose from a series of four trails tracking Iron Age sites in the Winchester area. Teeming with archaeological evidence, discover local landmarks such as St Catherine’s Hill, Old Winchester Hill, Micheldever Wood and Abbotstone Down. Routes ranges from 2km to 6km in length.

The Cheriton battlefield walk

Cheriton, to the east of Winchester, was the site of a day-long battle during the Civil War in 1644. A new walking trail was established in 2005 to highlight the important strategic locations of the encounter. This route gives and insight into the events that may have taken places on the day of the battle.

Alresford millennium trail

Alresford is a Georgian market town situated seven miles outside of Winchester, the hub of the UK’s watercress industry and home to the Watercress Line steam train. The mile-long trail links together footpaths around the town, with illustrated boards introducing the history of Alresford, its inhabitants, railway line, wildlife and rural surrounds. There are a number of charming tearooms and restaurants where you can stop for refreshments.

For more information on the above walks please click here


The Itchen Way

Journey from the Solent at Southampton up the Itchen Valley to the source of the river at Hinton Ampner.
The route passes Eastleigh and Shawford and then into Winchester, starting the final part of the Clarendon Way from St Cross to the city centre. The walk is 27 miles long but takes in some breath taking scenary along the way.

For more information on this walk please click here.

South Downs Way

The South Downs way is on the doorstep of the Holiday Inn Winchester
Walk the 99 miles of beautiful scenery from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in Sussex.

History is an ever-present companion to the South Downs Way. The route follows the the ancient tracks established some 5000 years ago when Stone Age man began to cultivate the Downs and mine for the flint from which he made tools.

The Winchester Walk

Explore King Alfreds City with three walks through the ancient capital
Set out from the famous statue of King Alfred on the Broadway to trace the walls he repaired to keep the Danes at bay and the streets he laid out in the 9th century.

Following in the footsteps of the king they called ‘The Great One’,the three loops explore the heart of the ancient capital, the upper city and Alfred’s final journey, leading to his resting place in Hyde Abbey Gardens.

Sunset Walk

For views across Winchester this is the perfect walk
This popular walk takes you off the beaten track through historic eastern Winchester and up St Giles Hill, a tranquil spot with superb views across the city – an idyllic setting for a picnic or a twilight stroll.

For a map of the walk click here.

Keat’s Walk

Follow Keats inspirational walk which inspired his ode ‘To Autumn’ in 1819.
Stroll through the Cathedral Close and water meadows to the medieval almshouse of St Cross following the route Keats used to take daily.

For more information on the walk click here.

St Swithun’s Way

Following some of the countries best walking paths St Swithun’s Way follows in the footsteps of the many pilgrims who paid homage to St Swithun on the St Swithun’s Way.
The 34 mile trail starts at Winchester Cathedral and weaves its way through the picturesque Itchen Valley, taking in pretty rural villages before it ends in historic Farnham. There numerous churches to explore along the way as well as peaceful water meadows and streams to sit and relax by.

From Farnham you can join the North Down’s way leading to Canterbury Cathedral.

The Clarendon Way

The 24 mile walk joins the two Wessex cities of Winchester and Salisbury and crosses the Test Valley between Kings Somborne and Houghton.
Starting beside the waters of the Itchen in the heart of Winchester and ending near the Avon at Salisbury Cathedral. The varied scenery along the route ranges from
the water meadows of the valleys through woodland to downlands with far-ranging views.

Activities for Kids in Winchester

The Holiday Inn Winchester has a fantastic range of family suites and with plenty of tourist attractions and children’s activities to choose from, there really is something for all the family.

Plus! The Holiday Inn Winchester offers great family packages to make your stay a truly wonderful experience at the best possible value.


Peppa Pig World

Peppa Pig World is located at Paultons Family Theme Park in Hampshire, on the edge of the New Forest.

With over 50 different attractions and rides included in the price, you won’t be disappointed at Paultons Park. The things to see and do include thrilling and gentle rides, dinosaurs, museums, animated shows, play areas, exotic birds and other fun activities for all ages.

If you are a fan of Peppa then Peppa Pig World is a must! The famous pink pig has now her very own park with 7 fun rides and attractions like George’s Dinosaur Adventure, Daddy Pig’s Car Ride or Grandpa Pig’s Boat Trip.

The theme park also includes numerous buildings to visit and playing areas where children will be able to release some energy! If you are hungry, stop by Daddy Pig’s Big Tummy Café or Miss Rabbit’s Ice Cream Parlour and enjoy tempting snacks, delicious treats and drinks!

Click here for more information.


Finkley Down Farm

Finkley is packed with so many activities and things to do!

At this amazing farm, you can meet baby rabbits, lambs, chicks and calves. It is a great time to visit! Shetland pony rides take place every weekend and every day during the school holidays. There is a timetable of “hands on activities” all day long and lots of fun to be had in the new indoor play area which includes fowl play, tube slides, astra slide, spiral slide and a large drop slide!

Also at Finkley, they have Finkley Fire Station, the Construction Zone, Den Building and Tug of War. Not forgetting all the old favourites – pedal go karts, mini ride on tractors, Zip Wire, Rocket Slide, trampolines, Little Tikes Play Area, sand pit and the Finkley Combine Harvester.

Finkley Down Farm always has a host of animals to see and specially organised activities where children can touch, learn and interact. They understand that children enjoy seeing baby animals so they operate a specially controlled bredding programme that ensures there are always young animals such as chicks, rabbits, guinea pigs, goats and calves to been seen throought the season.

Click here for more information.


Go Ape!

Go Ape is the Uk’s number one forest adventure. An exciting day out living life a little more adventurously and getting in touch with your inner Tarzan!

Itchen Valley Country Park awarded Silver in the ‘Beautiful South’ small visitor atttraction of the year, is a 25 minute drive from Winchester. Tucked away in 440 acres of beautiful woodland and meadows, situated close to the River Itchen. Go Ape Itchen Valley Country Park is the perfect family day out.

The classic and original Go Ape experience is a 2-3 hour tree top adventure. A smattering of tree top high wire, tricky crossings using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire and unforgettable zip wires. Before you begin the tree top adventure you will be briefed for safety before you fly down zip-wires, leap off the Tarzan swing and tackle the crossings whilst enjoying some of the most breathtaking scenery.

At most of the Go Ape sites doors will be closed during December and January due to the weather and maintenance.

It’s the forest adventure that everyone is talking about!

To book for this amazing experience and to check dates please visit the click here.


Marwell Zoo

A fantastic day out for the family, Marwell Zoo is home to over 200 species from red pandas and meerkats to Rhinos and snow leopards.

A visit to Marwell Zoo is a chance to get close to the wonders of the natural world – and play a big part in helping to save them. From ring-tailed coatis to majestic giraffes, laughing kookaburra to frilled lizards, curious meerkats to bat-eared foxes – The 140-acre park is home to over 170 exotic and endangered species, in beautiful, landscaped surroundings.

Marwell opens every day (except Christmas and Boxing Day) at 10am. Last entry is 90 mins before closing time. Note: closing time in winter is subject to weather conditions. Please allow approximately four to five hours for your visit. Children aged 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Marwell also plays host to a variety of special events throughout the year.

For more information click here.


New Forest Wildlife Park

Interact with the animals at the New Forest Wildlife Park…

The New Forest Wildlife Park was designated a National Park in 2005. Set in 25 acres of scenic woodland the park is the perfect place to see a wonderful range of wildlife in natural surroundings. There are plenty of animals to see including 4 species of otters, 12 species of owls, wolves, foxes and deer. The other mammals to be seen are polecats, pine martens and highly endangered Scottish wildcat, linx, wallaby and wild boar. At the far end of the park, the enormous European Bison and Red deer graze in the paddock.

There are keepers talks, feeding times and animals encounters throughout the day giving you the chance to see the animals close up. Also at the park, you will find a large play area for children with an array of natural wood log jumbles, climbing nets and rope swings. Picnic tables are placed throughout the park for you to relax with your picnic.


Winchester Science Centre

The South of England’s hands-on interactive science and technology centre. Plus the UK’s largest capacity digital Planetarium! Formally known as Intech.

Winchester Science Centre features 100 interactive exhibits, which demonstrate the science and technology of the world around us in an engaging and exciting way. It’s ‘hands-on’, not ‘hands-off’!

With exhibits that allow you to explore how to bend light, create your own tornado and vortex, create electronic music, see your body through a heat sensitive camera and many other activities.

The Science Centre’s aim is to bring to life the worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathmatics through hands-on interaction.

For more information click here.


Winchester Discovery Centre

Visit the Winchester Discovery Centre for a fantastic variety of National exhibitions and events to suit all tastes.

From comedy to literature and family fun days the Winchester Discovery centre is the perfect place to drop by whilst exploring Winchester City Centre.

Click here for more information.


Yew Hill Farm Butterfly Reserve

Yew Hill is Butterfly Conservation’s small reserve on the south-western edge of Winchester. Part of it is five acres of open downland crossed by deep gullies, said to be the old roads into Winchester.

This chalk hill-top has stunning views and is a popular walking spot. It is easily accessible from Winchester, and has great populations of downland wildflowers and butterflies.

Click here for more information

Shopping in Winchester

Winchester is paradise for all you shopaholics out there!

With streets packed full of high street stores, boutiques and independent shops, there really is something for everyone.

Besides Winchester ensures visitors enjoy an alternative and refreshing shopping experience. Unlike other big cities, Winchester boasts a tempting array of independent shops and boutiques and markets located in the pedestrian-friendly streets. Winchester is the only city in Hampshire to have been accredited by the Home Office under the ‘Safer Shopping’ scheme.

Try the square for trendy, vintage stores or make your way to the Brooks area where you will find a whole host of high street favourites.

Start off at the Brooks area and discover the market area. Before heading to High Street, make time to browse through the Square – one of Winchester’s most attractive. You will also find some of the best small independent boutiques behind Winchester Cathedral especially in Kingsgate street and St Thomas Street.


The Brooks Shopping Centre

The Brooks shopping centre is located in the heart of Winchester City Centre. With ample parking and a short walk from the high street The Brooks Shopping centre is home to names such as Primark, Waterstones, Argos and Beales. Perfect for some high street shopping.

For more information click here.


Parchment Street

This interesting street is home to boutiques and galleries. Along the same street, you will find a selection of stylish hair salons. Click here to see more about the shops on Parchment Street.


Winchester Street Market

Time your Winchester Street Markets shopping trip to coincide with the bustling city markets on Middle Brook Street. There is a weekly speciality local foods market on Wednesday and general street markets every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, selling everything from fruit and vegetables to flowers, second-hand books and hand made jewellery. On the third Sunday of every month there is also an Art & Design Market. The markets are situated near the Brooks Shopping Centre and behind Marks and Spencers.

For more information click here.


Westquay Shopping Centre

WestQuay shopping centre is located in the heart of Southampton City Centre. The recent development of this complex makes Southampton a city not to be missed.

WestQuay Shopping centre provides ample parking and is home to names such as Marks & Spencer, Next, John Lewis, New Look, Apple Store and many more high street names.

The centre provides a comprehensive Shopmobility service. The Shopmobility office is located in the Podium car park on level 2, the use of the Shopmobility service is not restricted to WestQuay, you can also explore the city centre during your visit. Parent and Child Facilities are also available. Baby change, emergency feeders and feeding facilities are located on the 3rd level of the car park entrance lobby and on the dining level. Bottle warming facilities are also available on request.

WestQuay also provides a wealth of tempting foods and refreshments. Located on the 3rd Floor you will find an array of famous restaurants such as Nando’s, Wagamama, Pizza Express and a host of other delicious food retailers. Mall cafes on the Lower shopping level also offer convenient quick stop snacks and coffee.

For more information click here.

Local Insiders Guide to Winchester

Must See:

Lie back and watch the universe unfold above you at the Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium, 400 yards from the Holiday Inn Winchester. You can learn about outer space and interact with over 100 exhibits at the UK’s largest planetarium dome.

Must Do:

Holiday Inn Winchester is on the edge of the rolling hillsides of the South Downs National Park. Go paragliding from the hilltops and ramble through the fields. There are plenty of quiet country pubs where you can grab a bite to eat and watch the sunset.

What’s New:

New arrivals are a frequent occurrence at Marwell Wildlife, 20 minutes’ drive from the hotel along the M3. Catch sight of baby monkeys and hatching penguins, as well as gibbons, tigers and giraffes. You can set out a picnic side-by-side with the pygmy hippos.

Don’t Go Home Without:

Visiting the home of Jane Austen. The beloved English author lived in a cottage in the pretty village of Chawton, 14 miles away. Discover the room where many of her greatest novels were written and the piano she played to her family in the mornings.


Leave your vehicle in the complimentary car park at Holiday Inn Winchester to avoid parking restrictions in Winchester town centre. Our friendly staff are happy to assist in booking you a fascinating tour around this historic cathedral town.

Activities in Winchester for Free

Visiting a new city can be expensive sometimes, but there is so much you can see and do for free in Winchester!

You will find plenty of attractions, museums, or landscapes to visit for free in Winchester.

Yew Hill Farm Butterfly Reserve

Yew Hill is Butterfly Conservation’s small reserve on the south-western edge of Winchester. Part of it is five acres of open downland crossed by deep gullies, said to be the old roads into Winchester. This chalk hill-top has stunning views and is a popular walking spot. It is easily accessible from Winchester, and has great populations of downland wildflowers and butterflies.

For more information click here.

Farmers’ Market

Experience the taste of Hampshire with Hampshire Farmers Markets.Winchester Farmers Market is an award-winning market, held twice a month and regarded as the largest regular farmers market in the UK, with up to 90 stalls attending each market.

Fine Architecture

Winchester, once the capital of England is a historic town rich in history and treasures of English heritage. Just walk through the city and open your eyes to discover wonderful historical buildings with the fine architecture such as Winchester Cathedral, Winchester College

Winchester Greeter

Winchester City just launched a new scheme to greeter its visitors and it is FREE! If you wish to explore Winchester, you can now book a volunteer greeter who will share their passion for their city and introduce you to ‘their Winchester’. Greets can last between one and four hours and are suitable for groups of up to 6 people.

Festivals in Winchester

Hat Fair

Winchester Hat Fair is Britain’s longest running festival of street theatre and outdoor arts.

Taking place in July every year, Winchesters ancient streets host the Fair offering three fun-filled days jam-packed with hundreds of breathtaking performances from many national and international companies.

Hat Fair, which was named after the tradition of throwing donations into performance hats, appeared in Winchester in 1974 as a busker’s festival. It has since developed a strong reputation and following, providing a weekend filled with hundreds of colourful and exciting performances.

Hat Fair doesn’t charge the audience a penny for most performances but you can show your appreciation by putting coins (or notes!) in the artists’ hats after the performance.

Click here for more information.



Welcome to the magic that is CarFest… A dream of cars, music, food and masses of family fun – a dream conjured up by Chris Evans and brought to reality in Cheshire and Hampshire. Last year CarFest raised £1.5 million for BBC Children in Need. With fun for all the family its a great day out.

For more information click here.


Boomtown Festival

Boomtown Fair is a music, arts and family festival that takes place at Matterley Bowl, near Winchester, Hampshire, and is Located within walking distance of the hotel!

The main stage line-up will consist of ska and party bands from around the world, with the other live music stages offering cabaret, gipsy, folk, reggae, dub and country and western. Plus loads of cabaret, comedy, spoken word, a range of stages, an anarchist theatre, lots of site art and many areas to explore with plenty of catering options, all the normal facilities you’d expect at a festival and a massive emphasis on eco-friendly initiatives. All attendees are encouraged to dress up in fancy dress, the fancier the better!

For more information or to buy tickets click here.


British Motocross Grand Prix

The British Motorcross Grand Prox returns to the award-winning circuit of Matterley Basin, set in the beautiful South Downs National Park.

On Saturday, you will see the riders take part in practice and qualification races for of all the classes. Without a doubt, you’ll see spectacular whips as the top riders enjoy showing off in front of an energetic crowd – something the English are famous for! On Sunday you will be thrilled by some incredible high octane action, with hard-fought battles taking place throughout the day – but who will emerge the victor?

Great value for money and really give an amazing experience at a price affordable for the whole family, including evening entertainment as well as spectacular funfair rides.

Click here for more information.

Tours and Guides in Winchester

Explore the historical town of Winchester and the beautiful South Downs Countryside with tours and guides.



There are plenty of places in Winchester and the surrounding countryside for you to discover by bike, whether you want a short ride or fancy something a bit more challenging. For more information about the cycling rails in and around Winchester, visit the Winchester Tourist Information website.


Group Tours

If you would like to book a private or group tour, the Winchester Tourist Information Cnetre can arrange guides for any number of people, catering for special interests and foreign languages.Prices start from £65.


City Walking Tours

An excellent way to see Winchester is to take part in one of the tours. One of Winchesters official tour guides will show you the sights. Tour depart regularly throughout the year from Winchester Tourist Information Office, on the Broadway. Lasting for approximatley 1.5 hours there are a variety of tours offered depending on the time of year. All tours listed below cost £5 per adult with accompanied children free and tickets can be purchased on the day from the Tourist Information Centre.


Bespoke Biking

Welcome to Bespoke Biking! Our mission is to encourage everyone to get out and about having fun on their bikes. Young or old, women, children and families. Whether you’re trying to improve your fitness or a visitor to Winchester – we’ve got an activity for you.

We offer bike hire, tours and rides around the beautiful streets and hidden gems of Winchester. We also offer one to one training sessions, group coaching and kids’ bike clubs to gain confidence and experience. We can even service or repair your bike.


Themed Tours

Winchester is alive with natural, historic and architectural treasures. Each year the guides offer a programme of themed walking tours which allow them to share their special interests and enthusiasms. Below are details of 2014’s themed tours, for which tickets can be purchased from the Tourist Information Office. Advanced booking is advised.

Sporting activities in Winchester

Winchester is lively city offering many sports centres facilities and sport events. Football, Rugby, cricket and golf are one of the most popular sports in Winchester and its surrounding.

The Ageas Bowl

Located 18 miles from the hotel The Ageas Bowl, previously known as the Rosebowl, is the home of Hampshire Country Cricket Club.

Voted the Best International Ground in 2010 the Ageas Bowl plays host to several major games including international games every year.

For more information click here.


Goodwood Racecourse

Goodwood, the home of Motorsport and Horse racing.

From the Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival to Glorious Goodwood Horse Racing Day, there is something for all the family.

For more information click here

Goodwood Revival:
A magical step back in time. The Revival is the world’s most popular historic motor race meeting and the only event of its kind to be staged entirely in the nostalgic time capsule of the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

The Festival of Speed:
The largest motoring garden party in the world set in the stunning grounds of Goodwood house.

Glorious Goodwood:
The highlight of the summer sporting and social calendar. From fashion to champagne and the opportunity to dance to your heart’s content, Glorious Goodwood is your typical quintessentially English event. This glamorous event attracts more than 100,000 people from far and wide.

Cowes Week in Winchester

Since 1826 Cowes Week has played a key part in the British sporting summer calendar and is one of the UK’s longest running and most successful sporting events. With guaranteed excitement both on and off the water, the race has everything from competitive racing during the day to socialising in the evening.

Cowes Week will bring the world’s biggest sailing stars and excitement to competitors and spectators alike and with over 1,000 yachts and 8,000 competitors taking part in some top-class sailing.

The Holiday Inn Winchester is located a 30 minute drive from Southampton where you catch the ferry to the Isle of Wight. Southampton is also accessible via train from Winchester to Southampton Central train station.

Bike Hire at Holiday Inn Winchester

Here at the Holiday Inn Winchester, we now have a bike hire service available for our guests.

How to hire a bike:

  • Simply call in advance or book at the front desk upon your arrival.
  • Charges for the hire of bikes are £20 for half a day and £30 all day or £10 evening charge.
  • Locks, helmets, bike pumps, lights, and high vis jackets are provided with no extra charge.
  • A £50 pre authorisation or cash deposit is required when hiring a bike.
  • When you bring the bike back to reception, before the deposit is returned the bike will be checked over by a memeber of staff.
  • This service is for over 18’s and residents only.

Winchester Cathedral

This summer Winchester Cathedral launched Kings & Scribes: The Birth of a Nation, a spectacular new exhibition in the historic South Transept. This permanent three-level exhibition takes you through over 1,000 years of history from the birth of the English nation to the present day. Discover Winchester’s pivotal role in shaping early English history and marvel at some of the nation’s greatest treasures, including the magnificent 12th-century Winchester Bible. Entry to the exhibition is included with admission to Winchester Cathedral, one of the finest medieval cathedrals in Europe.

Visit Winchester Cathedral’s website to find out more here.