Winchester: The secrets of our city

1 Aug 2022
Students by the cathedral

In the side streets of Winchester and the quiet corners there are many hidden delights, I think living in this city for three years without discovering some of the lesser known places would be such a shame! Whether you’ve never heard of these places or you’ve just never noticed them, they’re all worth exploring. Here are some of our favourites...

Cafés and restaurants

Girls drinking coffee

Winchester is the kind of small quaint city which is seemingly built from coffee shops and cafés. Whether it’s a Costa or an antiquary with a café, there’s something for every taste (literally!)

Coffee Lab - 18A Little Minster Street

Despite being called ‘Coffee Lab’, the +Academy is more a tearoom café, specialising in tea.

Piecaramba - 11a Parchment Street

Pies and comic books? Why not! Piecaramba sell pies for everyone (including veg, vegan and gluten-free) in a relaxed, geeky atmosphere.

Winchester Piano Studios - The Loft, St Clement Street.

Learn, listen, and enjoy music at the Loft. Oh, and coffee…

Thrive Café - 95 Olivers Battery Road South

Thrive serves a huge range of vegan and veggie options, as well as the perfect cup of coffee. And they run yoga classes too!

The Dispensary Kitchen - The Square

Why not try one of their mouthwatering showstoppers?


High street with bunting hanging across the rooftops, busy with people walking in the sun

Vintage and independent shops are very popular in Winchester. Some of them have excellent deals, whereas others are slightly out of our student budgets. Here I’ve listed most of the reasonable shops, with some aspirational if you feel like treating yourself.

Winchester Book Shop, 10A St George’s street

Three floors of antique and second hand books. You can find copies of texts from £5 to beautiful copies for over £150.

The Deanery Bookstall of Winchester Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral

Run by volunteers, with all profits donated to the cathedral choirs.

P&G Wells Ltd, 11 College Street

An independent shop near the cathedral.

The Hambledon, 10 The Square

Slightly upmarket if you usually buy your home decor from Ikea, but perfect for gifts or for making your student house feel more like a home.

Catkin and Pussywillow, Winchester Railway Station, Station Hill

You’ve probably seen this florist on the way to Winchester train station.  They sell beautiful flowers and gifts for all fancier occasions. Or apologies...

Gardens, historical sites, and scenic areas

Garden area in spring within Winchester Cathedral grounds

There are so many historic places in Winchester. From ancient burial sites to castles, historical and scenic places are in abundance.

Flowerdown-Barrows, Littleton, Winchester, SO22 6PS

A 4000 year old Bronze-age burial site, just outside of Winchester.

Winnall Moors Nature Reserve, North Walls, Winchester

With the River Itchen flowing right through it, this place feels like you’re in the middle of the countryside without even leaving the city.

Winchester City Mill, Bridge Street, Winchester, SO23 9BH

This is the oldest working watermill in the country, and they run baking demonstrations! You can even buy their flour from the shop.

Wolvesey Castle, Winchester, S023 9NB

Located close to the cathedral, this Medieval castle is now in ruins but still very impressive.

St Catherines Hill, Hillside Garnier Road, Winchester SO23 9PA,

Not quite a secret but worth a mention! Don’t be put off by the climb, with views of Winchester from the top and the picturesque countryside it’s well worth it!

Hospital of St. Cross, St. Cross Hospital St. Cross Road, Winchester, SO23 9SD

The hospital started in the Middle Ages as a charitable house, originally to house 13 poor men and feed up to 100 each day. Now the Church, gardens, tea room, and shop are all open to the public depending on the time, day, and season.

Everything else

Clue Capers, Upper Floors, 1 The Broadway, SO23 9BE

Escape room! Fun if you’re, uh, good at puzzles.

Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium, Telegraph Way, off Alresford Road, Winchester SO21 1HZ

A science centre, home to the UK’s largest stand-alone planetarium. They even run over 18 evenings once a month, perfect if you’re looking for something different to do.

About the author

Corinna Williams - BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing

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