Heritage Open Days

England's largest, free heritage festival takes place each September and Winchester's participation has developed over recent years, making the city one of the most significant destinations for Heritage Open Days events. The event showcases the very best of Winchester, bringing in tourists and providing free, cultural activities for local residents.

As the main sponsor of Heritage Open Days in Winchester, the school supports access to other historical sites across the city, as well as hosting an exciting selection of talks, concerts and tours at the school. 

While we were unable to welcome visitors into the school for 2020's festival due to COVID-19 restrictions, we were delighted to be able to offer two exclusive videos showing life behind the walls of the College, a new podcast, as well as in-person tours around our grounds and through the watermeadows, with our Head of Art History and our Riverkeeper.

The online content remains available to watch and listen to as follows:



Previous Year's Highlights

In recent years the school has put on a diverse programme to inspire, educate and entertain visitors and the public response has been tremendous. Past events include:

  • Tea with Lady Laura: A suffrage-inspired afternoon tea with social historian, Emma Muscat to learn more of Lady Laura Ridding, the wife of the College’s 43rd Headmaster.
  • Inside the Archives: An hour-long tour through the hidden, medieval rooms that house the documents and artefacts relating to the school's history, including the Foundation Charters and Founder’s Statutes.
  • The Fellows' Library Tour: An expert guided tour of the school's historic library looking at medieval manuscripts and rare books from the collections.
  • Winchester College Quiristers Open Rehearsal: The chance to hear and watch how the award-winning Quiristers are taught and develop their musical talents in the glorious surroundings of the College Chapel.
  • Science School Tour: An opportunity to view items from a wide range of science teaching apparatus and natural history specimens, from eighteenth century microscopes to the recent Periodic Table installation. 
  • War Cloister Talk: The beautiful and peaceful War Cloister, a memorial to Old Wykehamists who died in both World Wars and subsequent conflicts, offers a poignant setting to hear their stories and the history of the memorial's construction.
  • Shakespeare’s First Folio: A unique opportunity to view Winchester College’s own copy and to hear Dr Tim Hands explain what makes this copy distinctive.
  • A history of the world in 21 women: A talk by Dame Jenni Murray on her insights and research from her book of the same title.
  • Shifting Sands in News: A talk by Alastair Stewart on the changing nature of journalism in a digital age.

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“What a treat! An informative and interesting lecture... it was so inspirational. It enabled us to learn something new.”

Visitor • 2019