Located in the heart of the historic city of Winchester, City Museum tells the story of England’s ancient capital, the seat of Alfred the Great.
From its origins as an Iron Age trading centre to Anglo‑Saxon glory, the last journey of Jane Austen to the hunt for King Alfred’s remains, explore the sights and sounds of Winchester past and present in the museum’s three galleries.
Things to do
There are plenty of hands‑on activities for all the family to enjoy during your visit.
- Become an amateur archaeologist and handle real artefacts
- Turn detective and solve our museum spotter trail
- Pretend to be a Roman or Saxon and try on the costumes they would have worn
- Browse the museum shop with Winchester souvenirs and local produce
The Winchester model
Start your trip to the museum with the Winchester Model, a breathtaking scale model of the city in Victorian times.
The model was built by former County Planning Officer Roger Brown, who left it as a legacy to the city and its people. It is a unique record of Winchester from 1870, when the population was less than a third of what it is now, when the magnificent Guildhall was yet to be built, and when it would be another 30 years before the statue of King Alfred would be erected on the Broadway.
Be transported back in time to the city’s Victorian streets with our film, then find out more about the model, the buildings it depicts and the people who worked and lived in them using our interactive tablets.
In May 1817, Jane Austen travelled to Winchester to seek medical help. On 18 July 1817, aged just 41, she died at 8 College Street and was buried in Winchester Cathedral on 24 July. There are only a handful of items that survive today which actually belonged to Jane. On display at City Museum – just a short walk from her Cathedral resting place – are two of her purses and her personalised ivory spool case.
Alfred The Great
Winchester was capital of Alfred’s Wessex. In 1901, an extensive programme of events was held to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the great king’s death, culminating in the unveiling of Hamo Thornycroft’s iconic statue, now one of Winchester’s most recognisable landmarks. The original maquette – a small scale model – of the sculpture is on display in the museum today.
Winchester: people and trade
Dickie Frost may not be a name familiar to everyone, but not only was he a well‑known trader in Winchester in the early 1900s, he was also one of Britain’s greatest ever amateur cyclists. There are other fascinating stories to discover about Winchester’s tradespeople, and you can also take a look at the original shop front of Foster & Son Tobacco Blenders, which opened in the city in 1871.
By the 3rd century AD, Winchester, or Venta Belgarum as it was known, was the fifth largest city in Roman Britain. The Venta Belgarum gallery tells the tale of Roman Winchester. Here, you can discover how its inhabitants lived and died, view a near‑intact mosaic discovered at Sparsholt Roman Villa, see exquisite Roman jewellery and look into the face of a man who died in Winchester 1700 years ago.
During Saxon times, the Old English name for the city was Wintanceaster. In the gallery dedicated to the 1000 years of history spanning the Anglo‑Saxon and medieval periods, are four impressive models showing how the city grew and developed. Jewellery in the Winchester Art style, sculptures and silver coins sit alongside more everyday objects including a child’s leather shoe and a medieval mayor’s wooden toilet seat.
Volunteer with us
Do you want to meet new people and learn new skills? Whether you are interested in working with our collections, maintaining the museum or greeting visitors, there is a volunteer role to suit you.
Joint Ticket: City Museum and Westgate Museum
|JOINT TICKET||PRICE - PAY ONCE, VISIT ALL YEAR|
|Child (5-15 years)||£10.50|
|Family Ticket (up to 5 people, max. 2 adults) - discount applied at checkout||£49.00|
Pay once, visit all year! With your ticket, you can enjoy unlimited visits to City Museum and return as many times as you like for a whole year!
|TICKET||PRICE - PAY ONCE, VISIT ALL YEAR|
|Child (5-15 years)||£4.50|
|Family Ticket (up to 5 people, max. 2 adults) - discount applied at checkout||£21.00|
Prices exclude some special events and activities which may be charged separately – please check our What’s On for details. Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
Find out more about our concession and discounted tickets.
Hampshire Cultural Trust is a charity and so, with your help, we’re able to benefit from the UK government’s Gift Aid scheme. Find out more about Gift Aid.
The museum is fully accessible, with a lift to all three floors. There is on‑street parking for Blue Badge holders next to the museum.
Assistance dogs are welcome, as long as they are clearly identifiable.
To arrange a group visit to City Museum, please call 01962 863064.
We are able to accommodate both assisted and self-led school visits. Please contact us to find out more. We also offer a joint experience with 878 AD. Click here to find out more.
Educational Loans Boxes
Hampshire Cultural Trust’s educational loans boxes offer an exciting collection of costumes and artefacts for use in the classroom. By using imaginative role play and experiencing physical objects close up, education can come alive for students of all learning styles across a broad syllabus.
For more information visit https://www.hampshireculture.org.uk/education/loans-boxes
Animated films made by children for Winchester Museums:
By car: City Museum is located in the centre of Winchester. Use City Centre Park and Ride services.
By public transport: City Museum is just a ten minute walk from Winchester railway station. By bus, please take a local bus to central Winchester and the museum is located in the city centre near the cathedral.