Gates, tunnels and turmoil in Winchester

Press Release: 22/02/2005

What do gates, tunnels and turmoil all have in common in England's ancient capital? They are the exciting and varied subjects for the 2005 programme of speciality walks on offer by Winchester's Blue Badge Tourist Guides.

A brand new leaflet announcing the line-up has just been produced by Winchester City Council's tourism service. This year's highlights include a journey of discovery into the old Chesil railway tunnel; a closer look at Winchester's four medieval gates; a glimpse back at the city's Murders, Myths and Legends and special Civil War tours called Winchester in Turmoil to mark the anniversary of the battle of nearby Cheriton.

For locals wanting to delve a little deeper into the history on their doorstep or for visitors who have already enjoyed a regular city tour, these themed tours are ideal.

Summer sees a series of evening walks, venturing Beyond the City Walls with walks to Hyde, St Cross, Oram's Arbor and St Giles' Hill. The Winchester Festival Walks in July explore Georgian Winchester and trace the footsteps of famous author Jane Austen. The season finally comes to a chilling close with the Hallowe'en Tour on 31 October.

Elizabeth Proudman, Chairman of the Winchester Area Tourist Guides Association, said: "These tours will lead you to some of the lesser known corners of Winchester and will help you discover more sites and stories around our fascinating city."

The new leaflet also outlines services available for groups, foreign language speakers and customer with disabilities - one option being an Armchair Tour for those who prefer not to walk or who are seeking a more specialised talk or lecture.

This year Winchester Tourist Information Centre (TIC) has teamed up with Shopmobility to offer the hire of wheelchairs and powered scooters by anyone who has difficulty in getting about and would like to take part on a tour. You can book a vehicle in advance by phoning 01962 842626.

Winchester City Council's Tourist Information Centre Manager Alison Woods commented: "To meet customer demand our talented Blue Badge Guides are constantly developing the range of tours offered. Themed walks get more and more popular each year and to avoid disappointment I would strongly advise pre-booking."

Most of the themed walks leave from inside Winchester Tourist Information Centre (TIC) and tickets cost just £4 for adults, £1 for children. Regular city tours are £3 for adults with accompanying children free.

The new leaflet with full details of all these walks, as well as the regular, year round, city tours is now available from Winchester TIC on Broadway on tel 01962 840500 or email tourism@winchester.gov.uk or by logging onto www.visitwinchester.co.uk/GuidedToursLink.shtml