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 2023

  • Alice Loxton: UPROAR! Satire, Scandal and Printmakers in Georgian London - Thursday 7th September 2023, at 19:00.
    Join Alice Loxton, 27-year-old historian, writer and presenter, in this unique opportunity as she delves into the delights of her new book UPROAR! Satire, Scandal and Printmakers in Georgian London. A brilliant new history of Georgian Britain through the eyes of the artists who immortalised it.
  • Silver at Winchester College: Five Centuries of Collecting with Dr Richard Foster - Thursday 14th September 2023, at 19:00.
    An hour-long talk by Keeper of College Collections and Fellows’ Librarian, Dr Richard Foster, exploring how Winchester College came to acquire its magnificent collection of early English silver from across the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Dr. Foster delves into what the silver was for, who gave it, and how much has been lost over the centuries.
  • Guided Tour of Winchester College - Various times across Thursday 14th – Saturday 16th September 2023
    This one-hour tour, led by experienced and trained guides, concentrates on the medieval heart of the College including: Chamber Court, Chapel, College Hall, Cloister and the 17th-century School building.

  • Guided Tour of War Cloister - Friday 15 September 2023, at 14:45.
    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. Join Christopher Normand, Old Wykehamist and Director of Winchester College Society, and listen to their stories and the origins of the creation of this wonderful memorial.  

  • 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.

  • Not just Eggs, The Story of Faberge - Friday 15th September 2023
    Kieran McCarthy F.S.A, curator of the last year’s sell-out Fabergé exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum and director of the court jewellers Wartski, will talk on the glittering history of Carl Fabergé, goldsmith to the Imperial Court of Russia.

  • Guided Tour of the Archives - Various times across Thursday 14th – Saturday 15th September 2023
    Join Suzanne Foster, College Archivist, on this hour-long tour as she opens the sealed doors to the school's archives, offering a rare insight into the college's historic documentation collection which paints a holistic picture of the transformation of the campus across the centuries.

  • Guided Tour of the Fellows’ Library - Friday 15th and Saturday 16th September 2023, at 14:00 and 15:00.
    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 15 September 2023, 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. 

  • Treasury Museum - Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 September 2023, 12:00-16:00,
    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

  • Family fun in the Marvellous Middle Ages - Saturday 16th September 2023, at 15:00-16:00.
    This event encompasses a variety of children's activities exploring medieval cooking, clothing, and entertainment within the College's 14th-century dining hall. Sample and marvel at the medieval culinary delights, followed by trying on some authentic medieval costumes, and the opportunity to experience traditional recreational pursuits.

  • Winchester College Campus Tour: A Winchester Pupil’s Insight - Saturday 16th September 2023, at 13:45.
    See the College through the eyes and insights of a current pupil, bringing the campus to life in an unseen and unique way.

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