Winchester City Museum

254 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

June, 2018

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

Rejuvenation may not be what we look for in museums but they need to be as youthful in attitude as their youngest visitor, and as invigorating as their oldest may need.

Immediately welcomed by the knowledgeable and helpful reception desk staff, anyone has the choice of self-guidance or discreet assistance. After numerous visits to the old incarnation I was quite unprepared for the huge scale model of Winchester in 1870, a labour of love for one former resident that now fills the ground floor gallery. This more than complements the historical models (from Iron Age on) that were previously a feature of and guide to understanding the development of a significant city. In fact these now complement that in a back-and-forth reflection on the passage of time.

With family living near the new monastery chapel, now church, said to have housed the bodies of King Alfred and his queen, and certain to feature in an archaeological dig on TV, I was interested in their location. The model showed it as agricultural or horticultural land, presumably once part of the monastery holdings. There are videos with commentary for anyone wishing to follow the historical development related to the model, but there are also sequential themes in the museum itself.

Upstairs the first gallery has Iron Age, Roman and Anglo Saxon displays. The sight of broken columns beneath a quotation from the Anglo Saxon poem known to modern readers as ‘The Ruin’ is moving in its simplicity with no need of elaboration. ‘Well wrought the wall,’ reads the translation, ‘Wierds broke it.’ The convention of i before e breaking the accepted English spelling of ‘weird’ is to emphasise the otherworldly and perhaps fatalistic powers that alone could destroy the ‘work of giants’.

What was broken down is beautifully exhibited in the fragments of hypocaust and mosaic that are a feature of the museum.There is also a reconstructed Roman kitchen. Equally, what the Romans did for the Iron Age people may appear in displays relative to each. All societies have their aesthetic and brutal aspects, ours being no different to any.

It is the evocation of domestic and, later, religious life that remains from any visit either to the museum or more generally the city itself. Nor is the military aspect to be ignored, with the barracks still occupying a significant site.

Winchester City Museum is free to enter, provides good facilities for the less mobile and relies on visitor contributions to complement the City Council and Heritage support. The suggested £3 is very modest.


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.