Exploring Winchester High Street

Exploring Winchester High Street is a delight, a visitor's dream. To the locals it is their city and they are proud of it with good reason.

Within all this history is the modern Winchester High Street. Up to date as can be, bustling, interesting, sometimes unique, shops selling both upmarket and ordinary goods, jewellers, fashion, antiques, chemists, cafes etc. Upper High Street is pedestrianised.

From the bridge over the River Itchen, through Broadway and King Alfred's Statue to the Castle at the other end. An ancient street with centuries of footsteps by the ordinary and the mighty from the Romans to the present.

At the eastern end the street is wide with King Alfred and a car park in the middle.

Chesil Rectory

Chesil Rectory now a restaurant
Photograph © Copyright M Temple

Walk further eastwards from King Alfred to the Bridge over the River Itchen, the City Mill is to one side and a pretty footpath alongside the river to Wolvesey Castle and Palace is on the other. In Chesil Street you will find the Chesil Rectory, nowadays a fine restuarant, but dates from 1459

Bishop on the Bridge Pub, Winchester

The Bishop on the Bridge Pub by the City Bridge, Winchester
Photograph © Chris Talbot

No 1 High Street belongs to the Bishop on the Bridge pub. Good place for a pint or a lunch on the side of the river. Nice views they say from the beer garden and the terrace and they are right!!

Coming back past the King again and looking towards the castle there is a delightful park, Abbey Gardens, to the left, lovely spot just to sit and relax. (Bring your lunch!) Alongside in the High Street is the stop for the National Express coaches and some buses. The bus station itself is on the other side of the street.

Pretty park Winchester

A very pretty park alongside the Broadway
Photograph © Copyright M Temple

Abbey House is alongside Abbey Park. When it was built in 1750 it faced the other way into the gardens. Only stayed that way a few years for in 1771 the current front was built. Originally it was part of St Mary's Abbey but is now the residence of the Mayor of Winchester. Useful place as he/she does not have far to go to work, the Council Buildings are quite close behind the Old Guildhall!

Old Guildhall Winchester

Old Guildhall
Photograph attributed to Wrydlight,
in the public domain

A little further along and on the same side as the park is the old Guildhall, built in Victorian times but Old Gothic Revival in style, now a modern venue combining the old with the new. This is also on part of the site of the Abbey which was originally founded as a Nunnery, Nunnaminster (the earlier name for St Mary's Abbey) by Ealswith, widow of King Alfred the Great.

Upper High Street is pedestrianised giving ambience, legend of times past and scenic beauty to this streetscape that in places has not changed from the thirteen and fourteen hundreds. Look up and around as you wander. People looked out from those older windows above centuries ago. Thousands of lives and loves inhabited those buildings. Who built them? Marvel at the skill of the builders.

The Butter Cross, Winchester

The Butter Cross, Winchester
Photograph © Nigel Mykura

The Butter Cross stands here more or less at the entrance to The Square. Dates from the 1400's and restored in 1865. At one time it was the place where goods were sold as in many towns. Useful spot in those days as lots of folk lived around here in those old buildings around and about the cross and The Square. Would have been bustling!

Look at those beautiful old timbers supporting the buildings by the Cross - how old are they - a thousand years - may be more?

The Westgate dominates the end of the High Street. In modern memory all vehicles went through that arch!!! The Westgate Museum has been in the building for many years.

Beside the Westgate is the Castle Great Hall well worth a visit. Have a peek at the excavations.

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Places to visit in Winchester

Winchester Cathedral

The iconic site of Winchester, its wonderful Cathedral. Wander in and around the lovely old architecture. To find out a little of the history of the Cathedral before you go you might like to click here.

Beyond Eastgate

The small area behind King Alfred's statue where you will find The City Mill, Chesil Rectory, the bridge over the River Itchen and the path down to Wolvesey Castle.

Wolvesey Castle aka Old Bishops's Palace

Amble down the river footpath that can be found at the side of the B3404 opposite The City Mill. The Castle is a delightful ruin that Cromwell knocked about a bit. Was the residence of the Bishops of Winchester for hundreds of years and saw the history of England made.

Winchester City Mill

Can be found near King Alfred's statue. A delightful place to visit, a working flour mill alongside the chuckling River Itchen.

The Square

Can be found off the High Street near the Butter Cross. Leads through to the Cathedral.

Winchester Castle Great Hall

The only part of Winchester Castle that now exists. It is an interesting museum as well as an example of fine architecture, was the 'edge' when it was built! Replica of Arthur's Round Table is housed in the Hall.


The old gate at the top of the High Street. Inside the Westgate there is the Westgate Museum. Go up on top, there is a fine view of the city.

St Cross Hospital and Almshouses.

A serene place in the water meadows. Can be found by travelling down Southgate St that becomes St Cross Road.


This lovely old gate with St Swithun's Church above. Winchester College and Jane Austen's House are also here. A hidden shopping area.

Hyde Abbey and St Bartholomew's Church in King Alfred Place. There is only the gatehouse left of the Abbey. King Alfred is buried at the east end of St Bartholomew's.

Winnall Moors Nature Reserve. close to Hyde Abbey and North Walls. Peaceful.

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Pages that may be of interest

St Mary's Abbey

There is little left of they Abbey that once looked out on to Abbey Park, that pretty little park on the Broadway. Just what is now the Mayor's residence and some exposed foundations in Abbey Passage. Once called Nunnaminster it was built by King Alfred's wife.

Winchester Mint

With Winchester once being the capital of the country it is not surprising that there was a mint near the Royal Palace. Nothing exists of it now, but at one time it was very important.

Domesday Book

aka The Book of Winchester. When the Domesday Book was originally written it was housed in the Royal Treasury in Winchester. It did not have a name to start with and was called by where it was kept, although it travelled round with the Royal Court from time to time for easy access. It was the population that nicknamed it The Domesday Book!

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God Begot House, Winchester

God Begot House, High Street, Winchester c1050
Photograph © Peter Facey

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Useful Information

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Travel Wessex is a Guide.

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This is a developing map. Some areas have better coverage.

To find the nearest Electric Vehicle Charging Point please click here.

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Public Transport

Park & Ride. Very useful except there are no rides to the city on Sundays or Public Holidays which is a shame. Less traffic in the city then.

The bus station is in the High Street not far from King Alfred's statue.and very handy indeed.

National Express Coaches stop in the High Street on the other side to the bus station and next to the park.

Winchester Station is in Station Hill.not far from the centre.

National Rail Journey Planner is useful to get to Winchester and back.

There is a good taxi service in the city.

Car Hire Winchester. Handy location next to the station.

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Traveline is a very useful resource for public transport throughout Wessex, even local buses. In fact all over the United Kingdom.

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