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Campsites in Winchester, Hampshire

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173 bookable campsites within 40 miles of Winchester

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Why visit Winchester?

Introducing England’s ancient capital 

First it was the capital of Wessex, then it was the capital of England. Now, Winchester is merely the capital of Hampshire – but maybe that’s a blessing, as few major cities are able to maintain the old-world grace and natural beauty that you’ll find around this compact county town. (And, if you ever do miss the bright lights of the big city, London is only about an hour away by car or rail.)

Winchester’s ancient and medieval history means that timeworn monuments and landmarks are scattered all around its streets, from gorgeous Winchester Cathedral – the longest Gothic church in Europe – to the tumbledown stones of Wolvesey Castle, the once-grand abode of Norman bishops. 

This quiet and cultured town is also closely associated with Alfred the Great, whose statue towers above the high street to this day, but you’ll also find traces of King Arthur here – head to the Great Hall to catch a glimpse of the legendary Round Table. (OK, it’s not quite old enough to have been taken from Camelot, but it does date back to the 1200s, which is still impressive.)

Riverside rambles and country trails

A walk through Winchester’s water meadows is an excellent antidote to the stresses and strains of everyday life – keep an eye out for ducks, swans and kingfishers as you wander by the water’s edge, stopping to gaze into crystal-clear chalk streams where trout swim unhurriedly against the flow. 

Moving away from the river, take a hike up St Catherine’s Hill for panoramas over the cathedral and the old city centre, or head along the old railway line and across the Hockley Viaduct to spot birds of prey circling overhead. 

Gateway to the South Downs National Park 

Winchester is also an excellent location for exploring the South Downs National Park. The 100-mile-long South Downs Way walking trail starts here and runs along a ridge down to Eastbourne, East Sussex

After leaving Winchester, the path twists and turns through the spectacular Meon Valley past thatched cottages and country pubs. Many of the villages here have bus services that link up with Winchester if you fancy exploring a short one-way stretch. 

Winchester is also within easy reach of the New Forest National Park, the edge of which is roughly half an hour’s drive away on the other side of Southampton

The best things to do in and around Winchester

In town 

  • Peer at illuminated manuscripts and admire Antony Gormley sculptures at Winchester Cathedral.

  • Take a stroll around the grand old barracks at Peninsula Square and explore Winchester’s well-preserved military museums.

  • Visit one of England’s oldest working water mills at City Mill, just off the high street. 

  • Take the kids to the hands-on exhibits at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium.

  • Sample Hampshire’s finest fare at Winchester farmers’ market (held by the cathedral on the last Sunday of every month). 

The best things to do within an hour’s drive of Winchester 

  • Make friends with the animals at Marwell Zoo and then head for a pub lunch a mile down the road in Owslebury (15 minutes’ drive.)

  • Happen upon rare plants and glorious wildlife at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey (20 minutes).

  • Launch yourself over to the Isle of Wight from Lymington, or stick around to browse high-end chandleries and swim in the saltwater baths (45 minutes). 

  • Stroll around the grand gardens and elegant interiors of Highclere Castle, Newbury (30 minutes).

Delve Deeper

Winchester’s best nature reserves

  • Avoid the crowds with a trip to Winnall Moors Nature Reserve, a secluded patch of wildflower meadows and reedbeds just outside Winchester city centre. 

  • Keep an eye out for kestrels, egrets and red kites on Chilbolton Cow Common, a site of special scientific interest on the way to Andover

  • Hike up Beacon Hill, a national nature reserve 20 minutes’ drive from Winchester that’s surrounded by undulating South Downs countryside. 

Winchester College

Winchester College, one of England’s most prestigious public schools, has been teaching young men here since 1382. 

Guided tours are available if you’re interested in exploring the chapel, college hall, cloisters and 17th-century school buildings, but you can also see much of the college just from the street – including the house next door where novelist Jane Austen lived out her last days in 1817. 

St Cross Hospital and Hockley Railway Viaduct 

The Hospital of St Cross is around a mile from Winchester city centre and can be accessed via a footpath that runs along a peaceful chalk stream. This ancient monastic building is still home to monks today – and, if you ask nicely, they might provide you with the traditional wayfarers’ dole of a free drink of ale and a slice of bread. 

Here’s how

Whether you’ve set your heart on Winchester for your next break or are just looking for somewhere where you can visit for the day, Pitchup has a great selection of campsites in the South Downs and holiday parks in Hampshire to match your style and budget. 

Use the tick-box filters on this page to browse by themes, features and facilities, or have a look at some of our most popular options below: 

Thinking of embarking on a tour of the South East? For heritage-focused camping breaks, check out other historic spots like Portsmouth or Salisbury, or stick to the South Downs with a trip to Chichester, Eastbourne or Arundel