Walking Tour of Winchester City Centre with Your Dog

Exploring Winchester city centre on foot is a delightful way to experience its rich history and vibrant atmosphere while spending quality time outside with your dog. Many of the attractions don’t allow dogs inside buildings but here’s an itinerary for a memorable walking tour with your furry friend:

Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, Hampshire
Winchester Cathedral

Start at Winchester Cathedral

  • Historic Marvel: Begin at the iconic Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. While dogs aren’t allowed inside, you can wander around the beautifully maintained cathedral grounds, taking in the impressive Gothic architecture.

Wander to Wolvesey Castle

  • Norman Ruins: Just a short walk away, you’ll find the remains of Wolvesey Castle, once the palace of the Bishop of Winchester. Though mostly in ruins, Wolvesey Castle provides a picturesque setting next to the cathedral and is dog-friendly, allowing you to explore the ruins together while absorbing the medieval history.

Stroll Down the River Itchen

  • Riverside Paths: Follow the riverside paths along the River Itchen towards the City Mill. This picturesque walk provides lovely views and opportunities for your dog to sniff around in the greenery.
  • City Mill: Unfortunately, the National Trust’s Winchester City Mill does not allow dogs. This working water mill is one of the oldest in the UK and has been restored to full working order. It’s managed by the National Trust and offers visitors insights into traditional milling processes and the natural history of the area.

Discover the Great Hall and King Arthur’s Round Table

  • Mythical History: Head uphill to the only remaining part of Winchester Castle, the Great Hall. This medieval hall is home to what is reputed to be King Arthur’s Round Table. Though dogs aren’t allowed inside, the surrounding grounds offer a good view and pleasant walk.
King Alfred the Great Statue, Winchester
King Alfred the Great Statue, Winchester

Explore High Street and The Square

  • Bustling Streets: Winchester’s historic High Street is lined with a mix of historic buildings, high-street shops, boutiques, and eateries. It is also the site of a statue of King Alfred the Great and leads to the famous Buttercross, a medieval stone monument.
  • Spot a Plaque: As this is an old city, nearly all the buildings in the centre seem to have a fascinating past. As you walk around, look for historical plaques that provide background to many of the buildings.
  • Dog-Friendly Stops: Pop into a dog-friendly cafe or pub for refreshments, consider the NAAFI Cafe or The William Walker pub for a cosy bite to eat.

Conclude at Abbey Gardens

  • Serene Greenery: Finish your tour at Abbey Gardens, which features beautifully landscaped gardens with flowerbeds and open lawns where your dog can rest after the walk. Located near the city centre, Abbey Gardens is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic, offering a peaceful retreat from the busier parts of the city.

Tips for Your Walk

  • Dog Etiquette: Keep your dog on a lead and always clean up after them to maintain a pleasant environment for everyone.
  • Water and Treats: Bring water for your dog, especially on warm days, and maybe a treat or two for a quick energy boost.
  • Car parking: Winchester has many car parks within the city centre.
  • Public Transport: Winchester is well-served by buses and trains. The train station is within a short walk of the town centre.

Conclusion

Winchester’s compact city centre makes it an excellent walking tour destination for you and your dog. With its blend of history, green spaces, and welcoming establishments, it’s the perfect place to explore at a leisurely pace.