Winchester City Museum
Winchester City Museum

This small museum is located in the centre of Winchester, between High Street and the Cathedral. It traces the rich archaeology and history of the city and region through a series of displays dating back to the pre-historic period.

In addition to showcasing historic artefacts, the museum vividly recreates the emergence of Winchester as a local business and shopping centre through a recreation of Victorian and Edwardian shops.

There are plenty of hands-on things to keep children (and adults) interested. You can make a brass rubbing, create a Saxon pot design, try on period fashions, and try your hand at a children's quiz. There are special children's guides and under-5's are catered for.

If you've paid close attention to the time periods we mentioned, you'll note there are large gaps in what City Museum covers! This is because the museum holds the city's displays on Prehistory, Saxon, Medieval, and Victorian Winchester, while the Westgate Museum holds displays covering the Tudor and Stuart period.

City Museum interior
City Museum interior


First Floor

The museum has taken 'a picture paints a thousand words' to heart. Large parts of the museum are devoted to dioramas and models. The central part of the 1st floor is dominated by a four-part model of the layout of Winchester showing changes in the course of the river and the size and style of the city in Saxon and Medieval times. The surrounding walls have glass cases of well-chosen artefacts, and activities for children.

Ground Floor Exhibits

Most of the ground floor is taken up with shop fronts, reflecting the renewal and increasing prosperity of the city during the Victorian period. The surrounding walls have information plaques on important city issues, such as sewage. Increasing population density meant that the smell was unbelievable, and cholera was rampant. But getting proper drainage for the city became a 30 year fight between the Muckabites and Anti-Muckabites.

Second Floor

The 2nd floor is devoted to Roman Winchester, and has everything you'd expect to find -- mosaic floors and glass cases showcasing Roman artefacts. The room, however, is dominated by a table covered with the types of food the Romans would eat -- all made from lego.

Summing up Winchester City Museum

This museum really gets my vote as the museum least likely to cause museumitis. It's small. It's spacious and filled with light. The displays and information boards are informative without being overwhelming. It will restore and put heart into your children, as there are plenty of activities to engage their interest, buttons to push and lots of good-quality historical dress-up clothing.

More Photos

About City Museum
Address: The Square, Winchester, Hampshire, England, SO23 9ES
Attraction Type: Museum
Website: City Museum
Location map
OS: SU481294
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

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