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.

The theme for Heritage Open Days 2023 is ‘Creativity Unwrapped’ and will take place 8 - 17 September.

Tours and Events 2022

  • John Barclay: The Origins of Cricket  - Sunday 11 September 2022, 14:00 - A unique opportunity to hear John Barclay, President of Sussex County Cricket Club and former Sussex County Cricket Captain and President of MCC.  To coincide with the 250th anniversary of the first recognised first-class cricket match, played at Broadhalfpenny Down in June 1772 we welcome John Barclay to speak about the invention of this great game. 
  • Winchester College and the Invention (twice over) of the British Public School - Thursday 15 September 2022, 19:00 - An hour-long talk by Headmaster, Dr Tim Hands which explores the history of Winchester College, the oldest British school in continuous operation. In 1382 William of Wykeham created an institution of visionary ambition, scope, and influence. Over the centuries, Winchester, like many other schools and universities, slightly lost its way. Discover how it regained its prestige and vision in Victorian times.
  • Astounding Inventions: Wired and Wireless Communication in the 19th Century - Saturday 17 September 2022, 14:15 - An electrifying hour-long talk and demonstration by renowned Physicist Jeremy Douglas that brings to life one of the great stories of 19th century science. 

  • Brewing – a Divine Discovery - Saturday 17 September 2022, 19:00 - An hour-long talk by Miles Jenner, a multi-award winning Head Brewer and President of the Brewery History Society.  From its origins to the advent of commercial production and beyond, this light-hearted talk will highlight a series of accidental discoveries that led to the development of some world famous beers.  

  • Winchester College Gardens Tour - Friday 16 September 2022, 10:45 and Saturday 17 September 2022,16:15 - A chance to look behind the walls and walk through the beautiful hidden gardens of Winchester College. The tour will be led by one of the school’s experienced gardeners and include a look at a traditional college ‘quad’, a quiet sitting garden for the old College sick house and stately trees which frame the campus. The tour will conclude with a unique look at the ‘Warden's Garden’, with its herbaceous borders, woodland and chalk stream.

  • Guided Tour of Winchester College  - Various times - This tour concentrates on the medieval heart of the College including Chamber Court, Chapel, College Hall, Cloister and the 17th-century School building. A temporary exhibition in Cloister, ‘More than Just a Mountain’ will also be on show to commemorate the achievements of three former pupils who played leading roles in the British attempt to map, survey, and summit Mount Everest. One, George Leigh-Mallory, would die in pursuit of that effort. 

  • Guided Tour of War Cloister  - Friday 16 September 2022, 14:45 and Sunday 18 September 2022, 15:45 - Within the precincts of Winchester College is the beautiful and peaceful War Cloister, a memorial to former pupils who died in both World Wars and subsequent conflicts. Listen to their stories and the story of the creation of this wonderful memorial. 

  • Guided Tour of the Archives  - Thursday 15 September 2022, 14:15 and Friday 16 September 2022, 15:15 - This hour-long tour allows a rare opportunity to view two medieval rooms which house the school’s archives. Documents and artefacts relating to the school’s history, including the Foundation Charters and Founder’s Statutes, will be on display. 

  • Guided Tour of the Fellows’ Library - Thursday 15 September 2022, 14:00 and Saturday 17 September 2022, 11:45 - This 45-minute tour includes part of the Warden’s Lodgings, home to the school’s historic library. There will be an exhibition of medieval manuscripts and an opportunity to see the study of John Harmar, one of the translators of the King James Bible. 

  • Open Rehearsal with the Quiristers - Friday 16 September 2022, 13:30 - The Quiristers are part of the original foundation of Winchester College, and have been singing here since the 14th century. Watch them rehearse in the beautiful surroundings of the College Chapel, and find out how these young men are trained to become one of the leading choirs in the country. 

  • Choral Matins in Winchester College Chapel - Sunday 18 September 2022, 09:45 - This service of Choral Matins, sung by the choir of Winchester College, will remember and celebrate the life of Bishop Thomas Ken (1637-1711), who was educated at Winchester College and wrote some well-known hymns. 

  • A Tour of the Science Collections  - Saturday 17 September 2022, 13:30 and 15:15 - Enjoy the unique opportunity to explore Winchester College’s Science School, guided by the keeper of the science archive. Learn about the history of a range of science teaching apparatus, including an ‘Astounding Innovation’, or two, our natural history specimens, some eighteenth century microscopes and our present day Periodic Table installation. 
  • Treasury Museum - Thursday 15 and Friday 16 September 2022, 14:00-16:00, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September 10:00-16:00 - The Winchester College Treasury houses the outstanding collections of art and archaeology belonging to the school. The converted medieval Warden’s Stables contain four galleries filled with objects from around the world. Children’s trails will be available for younger visitors. Find out more

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. To see the full programme of events and book a free place, please visit: Winchester Heritage Open Days

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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