Winchester Heritage Open Days

Taking place every September Winchester Heritage Open Days is a free four-day festival celebrating Winchester’s history, cultural heritage and architecture.

It’s part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme, England’s largest heritage festival and for the past 24 years has been England’s contribution to the European Heritage Day.

The Winchester Heritage Open Days festival team is led by local volunteers Nicky Gottlieb and Becky Brown, and hosted by the City of Winchester Trust. The festival is funded by a combination of sponsorship and local authority grants; the main sponsor being Winchester College.

Nicky Gottlieb said: “This year’s Heritage Open Days festival is bigger than anything we’ve put on so far. We’ve grown year on year, and the support from the local community is overwhelming. Last year, over 10,000 attended our events, and this year, with more than 100 free events, we hope many more will enjoy what’s on offer. We are very grateful for the support of Winchester College, the City of Winchester Trust, our local councils and many other businesses and volunteers who help make this happen.”

2018 event


13th-16th September 2018

Winchester Heritage Open Days provide a wonderful day out for the whole family; this year we have guided walks, special talks, behind the scenes tours, Heritage crafts, pop-up performances, Anglo Saxons & Vikings in the Cathedral close, Medieval Knights at the Westgate and a chance to see and hear about Winchester’s very own Shakespeare First Folio at Winchester College

“Heritage Open Days champions everyone’s story and everyone’s history,” says national HODs Manager, Annie Reilly. “This year, we’re shining a spotlight on Extraordinary Women, encouraging people across the country to share stories of women who’ve shaped their places in ways large and small. It’s an exciting opportunity to celebrate not just queens, famous writers and inventors, but also the women who put the ‘ordinary’ into extraordinary.”

Here in Winchester we have organised more than 40 ‘Extraordinary Women’ events, highlights include Radio 4 Women’s Hour presenter Dame Jenni Murray in conversation with The Very Revd Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester about ‘A History of the World in 21 Women’

Dr Jane Robinson, Dr Fern Riddell and Professor Emma Rees leading suffrage talks, and Historian Emma Muscat hosting a suffrage tea at Winchester College General Sir Anthony Walker KCB leading a talk on ‘What did you do in the War, Mummy’ 2TimeTheatre’s world premiere of ‘Sir Walter’s Women’ at The Great Hall, and Blue Apple’s ‘Fragments of Winchester’ at Pilgrims’ Hall

The programme is now available from Winchester Tourist Information Centre and also online. Some events you can just turn up to but others need to be booked in advance via our online box office. Not surprisingly, tickets are already flying out the door for many of our special one-off events as well as the much-coveted behind-the scenes tours of buildings not normally open to the public. Do visit our website now and book early to avoid disappointment.