Winchester is the perfect place for a group of young students to explore:
- It's safe. It is a small, friendly city where your students can safely experience life in England.
- It's interesting. It is England’s ancient capital and full of historic buildings, monuments and museums.
- It's beautiful. It has a magnificent cathedral and lovely hill and riverside walks.
- It's fun. It has swimming, tennis, golf, a science centre and planetarium, a theatre and a cinema.
- It's less than an hour from London on the train!
If you've got a moment, take a look at this video of our beautiful city:
It's also very easy to get to lots of other fantastic places from Winchester - including Stonehenge, Portsmouth, Southampton, the New Forest and the Isle of Wight.
It's very easy to get to London - and the main London airports - from Winchester.
Activities and Excursions
See our Group activities page for information about how we can help to arrange activities for your group.
Places to visit
There is a wide range of places you can visit, starting with local visits and then places further afield.
Local places you can visit on foot
Winchester Cathedral and the Round Table
Winchester's world-famous cathedral is remarkable for its hidden treasures: Anthony Gormley's Sound II statue in the crypt, the Winchester Bible and Jane Austen's tomb. Parts of the film of the “Da Vinci Code” were shot in and around the Cathedral.
Repainted in its present form for King Henry VIII, the Round Table has for centuries been venerated as the mysterious table of the 'Once and Future King' Arthur. The names of his 24 knights are written around the edge of the table, surmounted by King Arthur on his throne.
Walk through the Winchester Water-meadows to St Cross
The Winchester Water Meadows is a large and beautiful green space with riverside walks. Starting in the town centre, walk along the river through the water meadows to St Cross Hospital. Admire the medieval architecture, explore the nature reserve, see a cricket match (or stop for a game of rounders) and take part in a 900-year-old tradition as you receive the Wayfarer's Dole.
Walk from the High Street to St Giles Hill or St Catherine’s Hill
If you have an energetic group, you can start on Winchester High Street, climb St Giles Hill (accessed by steep steps at the very bottom of the high street) or St. Catherine's Hill (reached by a footpath and steps from the water meadows). Both hills give you great views of Winchester. St Catherine’s Hill is an Iron Age Hill Fort with an ancient mizmaze cut into the earth at the top.
Other places to visit in Winchester:
The Arc, Winchester
Winchester's modern library is an excellent resource with exhibitions and galleries, free internet access and a cafe.
Uncover Winchester's past at the friendly City Museum.
A fortified medieval gateway which served as a debtors' prison for 150 years. It has splendid rooftop views across Winchester.
The City Mill
Perched over the fast-flowing River Itchen, Winchester City Mill has regular milling demonstrations, children's quizzes and an interactive exhibition.
Believed to be the oldest continuously running school in the country, Winchester College boasts some illustrious alumni including the author Anthony Trollope and the Everest mountaineer George Mallory.
Winchester Military Museums
Home to one of the most sizeable collections of regimental history outside London in the form of five museums.
Places to visit in the surrounding area
Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium
A hands-on interactive science and technology centre. Float through the universe with out-of-this-world digital theatre presentations in the UK's largest planetarium.
Marwell Wildlife Park
Set in one hundred acres of parkland, Marwell Zoo is a beautiful setting for some of the World's rarest species.
Easily reached by coach or public transport
Winchester is on an express train line to London. Trains take one hour to reach Waterloo Station, which is on the south bank of the river Thames, very close to many of the main sights, including the River, Houses of Parliament (Big Ben), London Eye.
Stonehenge and Avebury
Stonehenge is one of the most fascinating ancient monuments in the world - of great interest to those who love ancient history, mystery and science. It is situated not far from Winchester, near Salisbury, in Wiltshire. It can be visited by coach, train+bus or using local buses, changing at Salisbury.
Stonehenge is very famous, but don’t overlook Avebury – another famous Stone Circle, to the west of Stonehenge. You can easily visit both in one day.
The naval city of Portsmouth is easy to get to by train.
Historic Dockyard. You can go aboard Nelson’s ship, the HMS Victory, and the 1860 HMS Warrior.
Gunwharf Quays. Great for designer clothes, this Portsmouth retail park also has water side bars and restaurants
Spinnaker Tower. The views are great from the top.
15 kilometres from Winchester, this pretty market town has a Norman Abbey and a fascinating range of local shops. It is situated on the River Test, a very famous trout-fishing river.
Around 12 kilometres from Winchester, another market town with beautiful pubs, shops, tea-rooms and gift shops. Famous for the production of water-cress (a type of salad) and for the “Watercress Line”, a preserved steam railway for tourists.
Other places you can visit by train or coach
- Brockenhurst (New Forest)
- Dorchester (Thomas Hardy country)
… and many other places of interest.
Visits by mini-bus or coach:
(places not easily visited by public transport)
- South Downs, Chichester
- Paultons Park – Theme Park
Other local activities
River Park Leisure Centre – a public sports centre, with swimming pool and gym. Take students swimming or to use other facilities.
Tennis – there are lots of public tennis courts.
Golf – organised by arrangement, including group sessions where students are taught the basic shots.
Sing-songs – we can organise a young guitarist to meet your group and get them singing some English songs!
Cinema – Winchester only has one cinema, “The Screen” but it has a good programme, published in advance.
Car boot sale – every Sunday morning, near the station. Second hand things for sale by individuals. A good opportunity to buy some cheap, interesting things and chat in English!
Getting around is easy for groups based in Winchester.
Winchester itself is a small city, and the centre and other places of interest (the Water Meadows, by the river) and St Cross (monastery) can easily be visited on foot. For groups wanting to walk further, there are also fantastic countryside itineraries on foot of between 3 and 15 kilometers.
You can visit some very interesting and attractive towns, for example Romsey (a small market town on the river Test) or Alresford (a very pretty town famous for its production of water cress, a type of salad) by local bus. Fares are reasonable, though more expensive than similar journeys in most other countries.
Winchester has direct connections with:
- Brockenhurst (New Forest)
- Dorchester (Thomas Hardy country) …
and many other places of interest.
Train travel in the UK is not cheap, but special fares are available for groups.
A private coach gives you total flexibility and is the best option for groups of 30+