Tours for visually impaired visitors

Getting a sense of Winchester College

15th August 2019

With expert help from our community partners, Winchester College has embarked on a series of new tours aimed at the visually impaired.  

Having conducting hundreds of tours over the years, Freda Bates, one of our guides decided to develop a new tour specifically designed to engage more of the senses and open up this rich heritage to blind and partially sighted members of the public.  Working very closely with a local consultant, who is blind, Freda has written a customised history of the buildings and the school, which describes the environment more fully and highlights those aspects that people can experience in different ways. 

The tour starts with a brief talk on the history and buildings so participants understand what they are about to walk through, noting the size and layout of the spaces before moving through Outer Court.  A particular highlight is the chapel where music and incense create a more multi-sensory experience.  There is also the chance to explore the silver, woodwork and vestments on display. The tour continues into the colder, more damp environment of the medieval Cloister, where there is a further talk about the use of the space and the ancient graffiti, which participants are invited to explore through touch.  The tour ends with the chance to handle various objects from the school's collections, which have been carefully selected by the school's archivist for both their historic significance and tactile qualities.  Refreshments are provided and there is the opportunity for further questions. 

The tour has been designed for those who are completely blind but partially sighted people have also thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Further tours are planned for the coming year and spaces are limited to ensure participants can get the very most from the experience.  Please email if you are interested in attending or require more information.


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