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Please note: Due to a technical fault, our lift is currently out of service. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to your visit.
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.