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Once England's capital, Winchester today is a graceful cathedral city with some stunning Elizabethan and Regency architecture, and beautiful green countryside surrounding it. This is a great place for a simple city break for folk who want to see a bit more than London, and the best places to stay in Winchester are ideal for relaxing breaks involving great food and some scenic strolling.
Winchester's position, in a charming river valley, is one of the reasons this Celtic hilltop fort finally became a Saxon city and was proclaimed capital by King Alfred - and it stayed the capital until the Norman invasion of 1066.
So, as you might imagine, there's plenty of fascinating local history to discover while you're strolling around the old City Centre, the Cathedral, and Winchester Great Hall, the only surviving part of the 13th Century castle, and home to what is supposedly King Arthur's famous round table.
Winchester also has a working water mill, museum, several beautiful gardens and parks and two surviving medieval city gates.
It's a popular destination, so if you're planning an escape, get organised and book early if you want to reserve one of the best places to stay in Winchester.
For central location
- The Hotel du Vin Winchester deserves special mention for being the first Hotel du Vin, in a beautiful Georgian building in the heart of town. The 24 rooms are elegant, the bar buzzy, the food is good and the wine list is extensive.
For country house hotel
- Lainston House is a 50 room country house hotel just outside Winchester. Converted from a red brick 17th Century mansion, surrounded by lovely grounds and parklands, this is a peaceful spot popular with keen fishermen and romantic breakers.
Still not sure? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Winchester, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice. Or widen the net and take a look at all our recommendations in Hampshire.
Best Hotels in Winchester
The Black Hole B&B 10 rooms from $111Winchester (Hampshire)
Quirky prison-themed B&B that’s both stylish and comfortable with 10 ‘cells’ and nearby sister wine bar, The Black Boy and Michelin star restaurant, The Black Rat. City bolt hole for couples who want something a bit different or solo travellers after solitary confinement! Children are welcome.Foodies - With an excellent wine list and Michelin starred restaurant The Black Rate moments away: foodies will love.City Style - A quirky stay in traditional Winchester.Sights nearby - Winchester Castle and Cathedral are must visits.Full of character
The Westgate 10 rooms from $111Winchester
The Westgate is located in Winchester, just a 20 minute drive from Southampton Airport. This pub with rooms offers boutique, unfussy accommodation decorated using plenty of neutral tones. Each room also comes with a coffee table and a flat screen TV. Truly excellent cuisine. An intimate city stay!City Style - The Westgate is an ideal choice for those looking to get to know WinchesterFoodies - Enjoy splendid grub at their wonderful restaurantGreat walks - Go for a hike up St Catherine's Hill or simply meander around the city getting a feel for the placeLocal markets - Head along to the lively Farmers' Market on the second and last Sunday of each month
Lainston House 50 rooms from $169Winchester, Hampshire
Modernised 17th century country house set in lovely parklands. Large rooms with antique furniture, sash windows and some with four poster beds. Excellent award winning cuisine, cosy bar and fragrant gardens. With plenty of countryside activities nearby, it's the perfect romantic luxury escape.Country Escape - A 17th-century country house escape, set in 63 acres of stunning Hampshire parkland with tennis courts and lovely gardens.Great walks - Wander the charming gardens on the estate, and further afield into the lovely Hampshire countryside.Cooking classes - Make the most of the excellent on site chefs with the in house professional cookery school.Fishing - Hire a ghillie for fishing on the Test or Itchen, a perfect days outing.Recommended by - Frommers, Small Luxury Hotels, Michelin Travel
The Old Vine 5 rooms from $169Winchester (Hampshire)
This four star inn is brilliantly placed for people wanting to explore Winchester by foot. The relaxed vibe throughout the hotel makes it great for families whilst charming rooms mean couples will like it too. Hearty meals, fine wines and ales are served in the bistro pub. A welcoming stay.Sights nearby - Winchester Cathedral is round the corner.Full of character
The Wykeham Arms 13 rooms from $182Winchester (Hampshire)
An award winning centrally located pub with comfortable individually decorated guest rooms is well situated, close to the cathedral, for city sight-seeing. Couples will love the cosy romantic feel and friendly, helpful service.Sights nearby - Winchester Catherdral is just a few minutes walk away. Winchester Castle is also worth visiting.Great walks - Embark on a guided walk through historic Roman and Saxon Winchester.Restrictions on children - Children not permitted.Full of character
Hannah's B&B 3 rooms from $254Winchester (Hampshire)
In an ideal location close to the centre of Winchester and perfect for couples escaping for a city break. Three individually decorated rooms feature charming design quirks such as antique mirrors and lighting, refurbished doors and bedheads and reclaimed Victorian radiators.Great walks - Follow in famous footsteps along the Keats walk. You might just pen a verse or two.Local markets - Winchester Market has a vibrant spread of locally sourced goods.Restrictions on children - Children cannot be accommodated at the hotel.Sights nearby - Winchester Cathedral is a must visit.
Hotel du Vin Winchester 24 rooms from $285Winchester, Hampshire
The original Hotel du Vin, well located in a fine Georgian building in the town centre. Elegant rooms mixing period features with contemporary design. A warm and welcoming bistro and buzzy bar complete the picture. An excellent base for local exploring.Local exploring - A lovely Georgian property in a central location, ideal for exploring Winchester on foot.Local markets - Winchester plays host to the largest farmers market in the UK, head along and pickup some local treats.Sights nearby - Make a trip to the impressive Cathedral or Wolvesey Castle, both within walking distance.Great walks - The New Forest National Park is a great day trip for all the family.