Explore Winchester’s hidden heritage for free

Press Release: 23/08/2007

Front cover of Winchester Open Weekend 2007

Winchester Open Weekend (WOW) returns for its seventh year this September with a host of FREE events and activities allowing everyone a peek into some of the district’s most intriguing buildings.

The event is co-ordinated by Winchester City Council’s tourism service and runs alongside the Civic Trust’s annual Heritage Open Days; a scheme which aims to encourage the public to take an interest in the architectural and cultural heritage on their doorstep.

New for 2007 are visits to the recently opened Royal Military Police and Naval Regulators’ museums on the Southwick Park estate, and a guided coach tour of the Itchen Valley with Winchester’s official tourist guides.

The programme - running from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 September - offers something for everyone, whatever their age, interests or background. In the city highlights range from medieval music at the Westgate Museum to re-enactments by the Rifles Living History Society at the Rifles Museums at Peninsula Barracks.

A new entrant this year is Norton Park Hotel near Sutton Scotney. The hotel has been undergoing major renovations since last year and visitors are being offered the opportunity to view the work for themselves by joining a pre-booked tour of the Manor House, tithe barn and stables.

Elsewhere in the district, the historic town of Wickham hosts an intriguing family treasure hunt by bicycle along the old Meon Valley Railway and an extra special tour around Park Place Pastoral Centre. A range of other events and activities will take place in Southwick, Twyford, Alresford and Bishop’s Waltham.

Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Tourism, Cllr George Beckett, said: “WOW is one of the most popular events in the district’s calendar and with free entry to all locations it is the perfect opportunity for residents to rediscover the history that lies on their doorstep.

“It is also a chance for visitors to look ‘behind the scenes’ of some of our best-known attractions, and with so much on offer it is clear why Winchester, and the surrounding area, continues to be such a popular destination.”

Winchester City Council’s Special Events Officer, Elaine Robbins, said “This is such a popular event which is eagerly anticipated by everyone, so tours get booked up quickly. Go to the website for up to date information and last minute additions; in fact pre-booked tours of Northington Grange have just been added. This is one of the earliest Greek revival houses in Europe and the interior is not normally open to the public, so it is a fantastic chance to see inside.”

Programmes containing complete listings of all events and activities for the weekend are available from Winchester Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01962 840 500, email tourism@winchester.gov.uk or visit the website at www.visitwinchester.co.uk.  Programmes are also available from local parish council offices and libraries.


  • Winchester Open Weekend takes place between Thursday 6 and Sunday 9 September.
  • Further information about Winchester Open Weekend is available from Winchester City Council Special Events Officer, Elaine Robbins, on 01962 848 361, email erobbins@winchester.gov.uk  
  • For further information on other openings in Hampshire go to www.hants.gov.uk/heritage
  • For further information about the national Heritage Open Days scheme call 0870 240 5251 or go to www.heritageopendays.org.uk