Built by William the Conqueror, Winchester Castle was the seat of power of medieval monarchs. The Great Hall, one of the finest medieval halls in England, and the Westgate, which served as the castle’s primary defence, are now the sole survivors of this once magnificent historical site.  

The Great Hall

Where legend and history meet

Discover age-old stories of heritage, myth and lore, uncover the hall's battle scars and immerse yourself in the history of ancient secrets at Winchester's Great Hall.

Take in the impressive, majestic surroundings and historic architecture, watched over by the iconic Round Table of Arthurian legend, which takes pride of place within the hall.

From its life as a royal residence, to a defensive stronghold, a courtroom and now a thriving tourist destination, discover the place where history was made, and heritage is felt.

Admission - save 10% when you book online

The Great Hall with Westgate Museum ticket

Pay once, visit all year! With your ticket, you can enjoy unlimited visits to The Great Hall and Westgate Museum and return as many times as you like for a whole year!

Please note, The Great Hall with Westgate museum is a cashless venue.

Adult £8.00 £7.20
Child (5-15 years) £5.50 £4.95
Concession £7.25 £6.52
Under 5s Free Free
Family ticket (up to 5 people, max. 2 adults) £26.00 £23.40

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.


Historic Winchester: Super Explorer

Four attractions, one ticket

Purchase a Super Explorer ticket to enjoy entry to four historic Winchester attractions, The Great Hall, 878 AD, City Museum and Westgate Museum, as many times as you like for a whole year.*

Adult £21.50 £19.35
Child (5-15 years) £15.00 £13.50
Concession £19.25 £17.32
Under 5s Free Free
Family ticket (up to 5 people, max. 2 adults) £69.50 £62.50

Historic Winchester: Explorer

Three attractions, one ticket

Purchase an Explorer ticket to enjoy entry to three historic Winchester attractions, The Great Hall, City Museum and Westgate Museum, as many times as you like for a whole year.*

Adult £12.50 £11.25
Child (5-15 years) £8.75 £7.87
Concession £11.25 £10.12
Under 5s Free Free
Family ticket (up to 5 people, max. 2 adults) £41.00 £36.90



The Castle

Though mostly in ruins, the castle's Great Hall still remains. Built in the 13th century during the reign of King Henry III, The Great Hall is one of the finest surviving medieval great halls in England. It is an impressive structure with a magnificent hammer-beam roof and large, stained-glass windows. 

Some parts of the castle, such as the royal apartments and fortifications, have largely disappeared over the centuries due to various factors including demolition, decay and reuse of materials. The castle's strategic importance diminished over time and it was eventually repurposed for other uses. 

Underground Sally Port

Glimpse the secret passages created to surprise an enemy or to return to the safety of the castle in times of battle and siege. 

The Great Hall

The Great Hall is one of the finest, surviving medieval aisled halls of the 13th century and was once part of the magnificent Winchester Castle. The castle was founded in 1067 by William the Conqueror shortly after his victory at the Battle of Hastings. In 1222, Henry III, with his love of architecture, began the construction of this, one of the earliest Gothic styled medieval halls. Admire the soaring Purbeck marble columns and beautiful Gothic pointed archways. 

The Round Table

The Great Hall also houses the legendary Round Table of King Arthur, which is displayed on an end wall. While the Round Table was actually made in the 13th century, it adds to the hall's allure and historical significance. 

Thomas Malory, the 15th century author of Le Morte d’Arthur, identified Winchester as the site of Camelot. Here, dominating The Great Hall, is the iconic Round Table - famously linked to the ancient legends of King Arthur and his Knights. From historians to poets, its mystique has captivated people’s imaginations for centuries. Uncover its unique role and the influence it had on kings throughout history.  

Queen Eleanors’ Garden

Relax in a recreated medieval garden named after the queens Eleanor of Provence and Eleanor of Castile. Featuring a tunnel vine arbour, turf seats and a fountain, surround yourself in this peaceful oasis with its scented herbs and plants that were abundant in the 13th century. 


Long Gallery

Meet the heroes and villains of The Great Hall’s past from kings and queens to judges and executioners. 

Engage, educate, entertain

Activities for children and families

  • Trail: Take up a challenge and tackle one of our children’s trails of villains, heroes and ghosts. Collect from our welcome desk. 
  • Dress-up: Pose in our amazing costumes of characters from the castle’s past, from an escaping bishop, a gallant knight or a splendidly dressed king trying to impress his queen. Release that inner child and just imagine…

Westgate Museum

A medieval gateway to Winchester

Located at the top of the High Street in the historic city of Winchester, Westgate Museum is housed inside a surviving, fortified medieval gateway. The museum tells the story of this remarkable building and the history of Tudor and Stuart Winchester. It also offers unrivalled views over the city from its roof. 

A debtors’ prison for 150 years, this beautifully refurbished, ancient scheduled monument is the last of the main medieval gates into the city. Today, Westgate Museum’s displays include a famous collection of pre-imperial weights and measures and a fine painted ceiling commissioned by Winchester College in anticipation of a visit by Mary Tudor and Philip of Spain on the occasion of their marriage in Winchester in 1554.

There are plenty of hands-on activities for all the family to enjoy during your visit. Try on a replica coat of armour and Tudor costumes and pose for a photograph! Make a brass rubbing to take away and have a go at the Westgate spotter trail. Throughout the year, we run a programme of fun, family-friendly events and activities.

An ancient city gate

Explore the medieval Westgate Museum, dating mainly to the 12th–14th centuries, which stands on the site of earlier gates stretching back to Roman times. Climb the stairs to the atmospheric Westgate chamber, where you can see the portcullis arch and gun ports that were part of the city defences, the earliest in the country. Look out for graffiti carved by debtor prisoners from the 16th–18th centuries and view the unique set of Winchester standard weights and measures, once used to prevent short measures. Climb up the ancient steps onto the Westgate roof to imagine yourself as a city guard looking out over views of the city.

A Tudor royal wedding

Westgate Museum features displays telling the story of Winchester in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1554, Queen Mary I married Philip of Spain in Winchester Cathedral, and Westgate Museum is now home to a beautiful Tudor ceiling commissioned by Warden White of Winchester College, with a frieze probably added by him on the occasion of the royal wedding. A portrait of Ralph Lamb who attended the wedding can also be seen, dressed in the finest Spanish style.

The Castle

The Westgate once served as an entrance to the city of Winchester. A fortified stronghold, the monument also protected Winchester Castle from potential attacks.

The medieval gateway still stands proudly on the high street, serving as a poignant landmark, reflecting the city's rich history.

Seventeenth century Winchester

The city suffered during the English Civil War, with Oliver Cromwell capturing the castle and later demolishing it. In 1648, on his way to trial and execution in London, Charles I was presented with the city mace at the Westgate by the royalist mayor; his son, Charles II, planned a great royal palace in the city. Civil War armour, King Charles II’s boot and a staff belonging to Oliver Cromwell’s son and successor, Richard Cromwell, can be seen in the museum today.

Westgate chamber

In a corner of the Westgate chamber hangs a gruesome set of gibbeting irons reputedly used to display the executed body of Jack the Painter, a notorious traitor who was caught trying to burn the docks in Portsmouth at the time of the American War of Independence. Leg irons hang from the walls as a reminder of crime and punishment in former days.

Prisoner's graffiti

For 200 years, Westgate Museum chamber was used as a debtors' prison, with Little Ease - to the left of the original door in the archway - used as a lock-up for drunkards and petty criminals. The prisoners whiled away their time cutting their names, dates and pictures on the walls of the room and these can be seen today, carved into the softer chalk. There is even a prisoner’s inscription carved onto a floorboard.

Weights and measures

Westgate Museum is home to a unique set of standard weights and measures, used in the city to prevent unscrupulous traders from ‘giving short measure’. In Anglo-Saxon times, a law decreed that all measures must agree with the standards kept in London and Winchester. From that time, the bushel for weighing dry goods became known as the ‘Winchester Measure’; the Winchester Bushel is still in use in the United States today.

What is the nature of your enquiry?
  • Worth a visit if you're staying in Winchester! The Great Hall has a beautiful interior and a real sense of history thanks to the round table which is displayed at one end. 

    Phil M
Sign up to our newsletter to hear about our upcoming exhibitions, events and newsSign up