Winchester Travel Guide: The Best 5 Things to do

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Recently I had a weekend getaway to Winchester with Ryan over the (well just before) Valentine’s weekend. But we didn’t go away for that reason, it was actually because it was our 6 year anniversary since we began our journey as a couple officially on the 9th February. Therefore, the hotel we stayed at did have a load of couples probably away for a love filled weekend, and this could have contributed to the slight increase of the price. But we still had a great time.

woman wearing a green pattern dress standing up

Why Winchester?

I actually have never been to Winchester before and I had been hearing and seeing such wonderful things about it. I also knew that it had some beautiful landmarks and hiking trails as well, which were definitely key factors to why we chose this place to visit.

I did all the research and planning for this trip and booked the hotel, but we both shared the costs. For example, I paid for the hotel and then Ryan bought the train tickets and we alternated between who paid for meals out etc. Therefore, if you are looking to go away with a friend or partner or even family then this is a great way to not only help you budget but split the costs fairly.

Related: If you want to learn the basics and simple steps of beginning to budget then you can grab my step by step guide to budgeting today!

So let’s get into the travel guide. I will go through where we stayed, where we ate out, and the best 5 things to do when you are in Winchester!

Best 5 things to do in Winchester

Winchester Cathedral

Visit the Cathedral

I think the main place I think about when I am told about Winchester is the Cathedral. I mean I have visited a fair few Cathedral’s in my time, but they never fail to amaze me every time. This one is located right in the city centre so even for a day trip it is easy to get to!

Just look at how huge and stunning this Cathedral is, and this is just through an image. I could not recommend enough visiting here, and that is why it is on the top 5 best things to do. You don’t necessarily have to go inside because you do have to pay for it. However, if you are on a budget then walking around the outside and even grabbing a quick lunch and eating in front of this beauty is fine.

Things to note are : The Cathedral is open all year (except occasional closures for private services), I believe it is just under £10 to enter for an adult or free for children under 16 with adults. Also if you take a wander around the grounds you will find Jane Austen’s grave, if you are interested in that.

Ruins of Wolvesey Castle

Not far along from the Cathedral you come across the ruins of Wolvesey Castle. Now as I just stated there it is not a full castle but it is still interesting to walk around, and it is completely FREE! Therefore, definitely great for those on a budget or looking for free activities to do.

Built in the 12th century this was once the place for those wealthy bishops of Winchester. Walking around the ruins I wouldn’t say takes up a lot of time, possibly about 30 minutes. But there are a range of information boards around the ruins that will give you some insight into what happened in the Castle – which I always find interesting.

Winchester City Mill

I didn’t actually take any photos of this (apologies) but you can take a lovely walk along the path towards the City Mill. This continues on after you wander around the Castle ruins. Therefore, again if you do just come to Winchester for a day trip then you would be able to visit all three locations easily that I have mentioned so far. Perfect for all budgets too!

The City Mill is owned by the National Trust and some basic information for you is that the mill on this site has been supplying flour to the locals since the middle ages, although the current mill was built in the 18th century. It is one of the oldest working watermills in the country.

Things to note : The City Mill is open every day from 11 am – 4 pm (except Tuesday’s) and I believe the entry is free.

The South Downs

One thing we definitely wanted to do on this trip was a hike or walk across the South Downs. The South Downs way can start here in Winchester and then extend all the way along to East Sussex I believe, so it is a long distance.

Obviously we didn’t walk all the way to Sussex I mean one I definitely was not dressed for a hike that long and two that probably would have taken a long time. We did however manage to complete a 10 mile walk (I think), and for February we did get some sunshine which was so lovely. Also yes I did do this wearing a dress and tights with my trainers, not the best choice I have ever made but it was comfy and I was fine.

If you do want to head to the South Downs you don’t have to do a 10 mile hike/walk of course. You could just walk up the hill and back down again, you still would get those beautiful views and some steps in.

Also this is near where the City Mill is so again easy to get to and begin the walk across the South Downs.

Wander around the City Centre

Of course it wouldn’t be a trip if I didn’t mention the City centre. Obviously as you can tell from reading all of this pretty much everything I have mentioned is near the City centre. This is super important to me when travelling that things I want to do are easy to get to, and that is what I wanted to share as well to others.

The City centre has a variety of shops including local quirky shops, charity shops and your normal brands too. Additionally, you have a variety of cafes, restaurants and pubs to choose from too.

So that is my 5 best things to do but I will briefly mention where we ate and stayed however, I am thinking of doing a separate post and review for these, so look forward to those after this post!

Where we ate and stayed

The Friday night we wandered into the City Centre and just walked around until we found something we fancied. We decided on Ask Italian, and this restaurant was beautiful. The décor was stunning, the waiter we had was so nice and the food/drinks were amazing.

The Saturday I actually booked us a reservation at “The Stable” which is a pizza place (they also have a restaurant in Bournemouth) and I had heard good things about it. It wasn’t quite the same experience as our Friday choice but the food was really good.

Lastly I found the Royal Hotel in Winchester for us to stay in in the City Centre. Perfect location, very traditional and just ideal for us. I will go into more detail about our stay in my review of this hotel but we would definitely stay here again!

There you have it my jam packed Winchester travel guide with the top 5 best things to do and even an added bonus of where we stayed and ate. I hope you enjoyed reading this and found it useful if you have never visited before or maybe a nice reflection of your own memories of visiting here if you have been!

I would love to know whether you have been to Winchester before? Or Give me other recommendations of places to visit (either in the UK or abroad)?

Thanks for reading,

Gemma Jayne x

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  1. What a lovely little trip! I’ve never been to Winchester before but it looks great. I’m dying for a little break like this sometime soon – like I’m pulling my hair out being in the same place for too long!

    1. It was so nice to getaway! I honestly recommend just booking a break somewhere. I agree with there and that is why I needed to get away and why I just booked somewhere haha! x

  2. I’ve never been to Winchester before but wow, it looks beautiful. You’ve shared some great places to visit I’ll defo be checking out! Thank you so much for sharing lovely Xo

    Elle –

  3. Oh I love this! I’m actually starting uni at Winchester in September and this made me even more excited for it – we actually get to graduate at the cathedral, which is super cool! I loved the feel of the city centre when I visited, and now I really want to check out that castle, which I didn’t know was there! Thank you so much for sharing x

  4. This sounds like such a fun trip! I love the idea of walking on the South Downs in the sunshine and just wandering until some delicious smell entices you into a restaurant. I would absolutely have to visit Jane Austen’s grave if in Winchester too! 🙂

  5. I’ve driven through Winchester a couple of times on the way to Southampton but never actually stopped. The cathedral is absolutely stunning – it reminds me of Bath Abbey, they’re both quite Gothic looking. Great round up, Gemma, I’ll have to allow extra time on my next visit to Southampton, Winchester looks like a must see! x

  6. It looks like a lovely weekend away trip! Winchester sounds lovely and I have heard many things about the Cathedral being something you don’t want to miss out, so we will make sure we’ll visit Winchester and use your tips Gemma x

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