Soak up the sun or get creative indoors this summer in Winchester

Press Release: 22/07/2013

Summer Holiday Fun

With summertime well and truly here, it’s time for parents to start thinking about how to make the most of the school holidays. With a range of museums, wildlife adventures and outdoor activities, Winchester has something to suit all children of all ages and interests.

Winchester Cathedral has opened its summer holiday calendar to provide a wide range of activities and workshops inspired by the Cathedral itself. Staffed by a fully-qualified teacher, the activities run on Tuesdays 6, 13, 20 and 27 August and Thursdays 8, 15, 22 and 29 August. The cost is £2 per child, including a drink and a biscuit. Places are limited so book now on the website.

Families can spend the day getting up close and personal with the animals this summer at Marwell Wildlife - maybe even catch a glimpse of the three new snow leopard cubs. On 27 and 28 July it will host a Photographic Exhibition, with a selection of pictures from the Marwell Photographic Group. General admission to Marwell is £16.75 per adult and £12.72 per child.

Families can enjoy a day out on the Watercress Line with Thomas and Friends. He returns again this year for more fun – those on board can shake hands with the Fat Controller, meet Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, take part in Thomas-themed activities and ride the steam trains all day. There will be a free Thomas sticker and certificate for every child, as well as face-painting. Tickets cost £16 per adult, £10 per child (aged 2 – 16 years) and £48 for a family ticket (two adults and two children). For more information visit the website.

Hinton Ampner will hold a Family Fun Day on Saturday 18 August with something for all ages. Visitors can spend the day discovering the stately home’s house and gardens, as well as enjoying falconry displays, a family trail, music from Alder Valley Brass, and face-painting for the children. Those joining in the fun can bring their own picnic, or buy one from the tearoom. The event costs £7.70 per adult, £3.70 for children and £19.20 for a family ticket.

The Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson provides a wealth of military history for all the family. On 27 July it will host the ‘Great Guns of Fort Nelson,’ a guided tour and exploration of the history of the Victorian heavy artillery which protected Portsmouth from invasion by Napoleon III. On 17 August there will be the ‘Superguns,’ where guests can join Nick Hall as he reveals the stories behind the biggest guns ever made, from the medieval siege of Constantinople to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Tickets are £5 per person per event.

Winchester Discovery Centre will host a variety of workshops during the summer months. On Thursday 1 August they can discover their inner-John Keats with ‘The House was Quiet’ poetry workshop. The cost is £9 each or two for £16 for the workshop at 10am. On Monday 12 August there will be ‘Fun with Creepy Crawlies’ – a chance to look at how creepy crawlies live out their days with different activities, as well as an activity to mix the best type of creepy crawly slime. The cost is £6 per child or £10 for two for the workshop at 9.30am. On Wednesday 31 August children can develop their creative flair at the Bag-Printing and -Decorating Workshop. Children of seven years or younger must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is £8 each or two for £15 for the workshop at 1pm. For more information about these and other workshops, visit the website.

City Space gallery in Winchester Discovery Centre has a family-friendly exhibition to highlight the period between the end of the Victorian Age and the start of the Great War, entitled ‘Edwardian Summer.’ There will be an array of activities, including quizzes, art activities and a country house mystery to solve. This free exhibition is open between Saturday 13 July – Sunday 8 September, Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 11am – 3pm.

Winchester City Mill is providing special family-themed activities for the holidays, including seasonal baking demonstrations of ‘Traditional Cream Tea recipes’ on Saturday 27 July, ‘Cup Cakes and Muffin recipes’ on Saturday 10 August and ‘Best of Local Produce’ on Saturday 31 August. Tickets cost £3.90 per adult, £1.95 per child or £9.75 for a family (these are included in admission prices to the mill unless specified).

Westgate Museum provides an educational hub for the children to visit. Previously a debtor’s prison for more than 150 years with a unique collection of weights and measures, this medieval gateway museum even has a viewpoint from its roof. Activities on offer during school holidays include brass rubbing, trying on replica armour and children’s quizzes. Admission is free.

Cllr Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said:

The tourism economy is central to the prosperity of this district and our tourism businesses are also key players when it comes to enhancing the culture of our local area. The diversity of activities that are available during the summer holidays is a credit to the hard-working teams in the high quality attractions we have across the district. The City Council does its part in supporting these businesses with a £372,000 investment annually, and also runs attractions like the museums for the benefit of the community, but the flexible way that our destination management partners operate is critical and the wide range of things to do this summer is a clear reflection of that.

For more information about what’s on in Winchester, visit