Heritage Open Days

England's biggest, free heritage festival takes place every September and Winchester's participation has developed over recent years, making the city one of the most significant destinations for Heritage Open Day events. The event showcases the very best of Winchester, bringing in tourists and provides 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. 2019 was a huge success with over 1,400 people attending Winchester College events and 600 more visitors to the Treasury museum alone.



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 Fellow’s 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.

2020 Festival. 17th - 21st September 

While we will be unable to welcome visitors into the school for this year's festival due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will be working with the national theme of 'Hidden Nature' to host a small number of walking tours on the footpaths and in the countryside surrounding the College. 

In addition, we will launch two new films on our YouTube channel over the course of the weekend, offering viewers an exclusive opportunity to see parts of the school that are typically inaccessible. More details and how to book tickets will be posted here soon.

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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