Winchester’s ‘Golden Age’

A six-week programme of special events recreating the life and times of Elizabeth I kicks off in Winchester this weekend as the district looks forward to the UK cinematic release on 2 November of Elizabeth: The Golden Age.  Filmed in part at Winchester Cathedral, it stars Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen and Geoffrey Rush and is set to be one of the big autumn blockbusters.

Winchester City Council’s tourism service has co-ordinated the events programme and supporting marketing campaign in order to boost visitor numbers and media coverage during the autumn ‘shoulder’ season.  Local attractions, tourist guides, historians and re-enactors are working together to stage all manner of Tudor-themed events, offering a fresh look at the life and times of one of the country’s most fascinating monarchs. The programme includes everything from celebrity lectures and guided tours to Tudor food tastings and replica object handling.

The first events take place this Saturday and Sunday when the Tudor Group will bring history to life at the city’s Westgate Museum. Also on Sunday is the first of two special family-friendly guided walks – Tudor Winchester for all the Family – led by Winchester’s official tourist guides. Later in the autumn, Winchester City Mill becomes the temporary home of the Hungerford Household, who will demonstrate how the Tudors dressed and lived, made toys and crafts, made music and danced. The climax of the programme takes place on 8 November when internationally known author and historian Alison Weir will give a lecture at Winchester Guildhall entitled ‘Elizabeth I – the Virgin Queen?’

Winchester City Council’s tourism marketing manager Karen Brazier said, “The outstanding success of Elizabeth in 1998 has created a real sense of anticipation for this sequel, and will no doubt cause a resurgence of interest in the period from both amateur historians and ‘set-jetting’ visitors. This great example of partnership working between the district’s visitor attractions, tourist guides and the City Council should ensure that Winchester is in a position to benefit fully from the film’s release.”

Cllr George Beckett, leader of the council and portfolio holder for economy and tourism, added, “The ingenuity of our tourism businesses never ceases to delight me.  Winchester’s visitors truly appreciate the sense of history which surrounds them here, and it makes good sense to play our history ‘trump card’ whenever a good opportunity arises.”

Full details of the events mentioned above can be found on, together with a behind-the-scenes look at filming in Winchester.