These pre-bookable tours are available to groups of 10 or more and must be booked in advance. These tours focus on areas of specific interest.

To book please contact the Visits Team on 01962 857 275 or email


Cathedral Tour

See the Cathedral come to life with this guided tour. Experienced guides will point out some of the most treasured artefacts, tell some of their favourite stories and give a general overview of the Cathedral history. This is our most popular tour and offers a comprehensive introduction for first-time visitors.



Art in the Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral has a rich variety of Art; some hundreds of years old, but also more recent pieces. These include works by internationally acclaimed artists such as Peter Eugene Ball, Cecil Collins, Eric Gill and Sir Anthony Gormley. Others are by talented local artists such as Alice Kettle, Sophie Hacker and Tracey Sheppard.

This tour enables visitors to enjoy close-up interaction with a number of works in a range of media. All have been carefully selected and placed within the sacred spaces of this time-honoured building.



Chantry Chapels – Our Hidden Places

The Cathedral is famous for its chantry chapels.  However, as access can sometimes be difficult they are usually kept locked and can only be seen from the outside.  On this tour the chapels will be open and visitors will be allowed inside to see, at close quarters what they contain.



Close Encounters – Exploring the Close
Walk the Inner Close in the footsteps of Benedictine monks and explore over 1000 years of history.  From monastic times, through the turbulence of the Civil War, up to the present day.  Enjoy ‘Close Encounters’ with the people who lived in and walked through the close and step briefly into their lives.



Conflict and the Cathedral Tour

The Cathedral was born out of conflict between Saxons and Normans and stands along with the other fourteen English Cathedrals commissioned by William the Conqueror as a permanent landmark to a revolution without parallel in church architecture. Since its early beginnings when the first stone was laid in 1079 our Cathedral records and bears the marks and memories of conflict throughout the ages from the Hundred Years War,  the Wars of the Roses, the English Civil War, overseas campaigns and wars to the truly awful First and Second World Wars to the current conflict in Ukraine.  This tour showcases one of the most comprehensive collections of military and war memorials in the country and takes visitors up into the bell ringing chamber, the loft space above the Nave, and through the rich collection of memorials in the main body of the Cathedral to the humblest of war memorials in the Crypt.

If considering this tour you should be aware that it involves a climb up 125 steps to reach the loft space above the Nave and lasts around 90 minutes including the ascent and decent.



Face the Music

Face the music includes background musical history and examines aspects of music with in the Cathedral.  There are three types of visual clues: firstly, images in stone, wood, glass and embroidery reflecting ‘heavenly harmony’; secondly memorials and graffiti referring to specific musical personalities; and thirdly, places and objects with musical functions such as organ or the Treasury.



From Vision to Reality – The Architecture and Building of the Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral contains fine examples of all the main styles of ecclesiastical architecture which will all be seen and explained in some detail. In addition, the tour will describe the construction methods used in medieval times and how Bishop Walkelin achieved the amazing feat of completing most of the original building in just 14 years.



Hurray for Henrys

An account of some of the distinguished men called Henry who have played significant roles in the Cathedral.

Come and find out about the King who wasn’t there, and the naval Henry who saved his ship from a hurricane. The Henry who was crowned here but never reigned, and the Henry who celebrated his wedding with “crowned swans”. There was an outlaw Bishop and the man who helped save the Cathedral and build the London underground – all called Henry!



The Icons of the Cathedral

There are 12 icons in Winchester Cathedral.  This tour aims to study each in turn; the way they are made, their roots in history and the tradition which produced their artistic style, also to explore the layers of symbolism and meaning within them.



Jane Austen – Her Life and Times
Jane Austen was born in Steventon, near Basingstoke, Hampshire in 1775. She died in Winchester in 1817, in rented rooms in College Street. She knew and loved the Cathedral and is  buried in the north aisle. Her brother Henry composed the inscription for her ledger stone.  This tour offers an intimate and often amusing insight into her life and connections within the Cathedral. Please note that the tour includes a short walk, weather permitting, outside the Cathedral precinct. If you do have mobility issues, please let us know when making a booking.



Just Williams

What have the last conqueror of England, his son, a Victorian diver, a local boy made good, the 1st headmaster of Eton, a carpenter from Norwich, and a Parliamentarian general have in common, apart from their association with Winchester Cathedral? The clue’s in the name. Join us for this delightful variation of the normal floor tour, hearing the stories of just some of the many movers and makers of the Cathedral over the centuries who’ve all been called ‘William’.



Literary Links

On this tour you will discover some of the many literary links we have in the Cathedral, including ‘literary legends’ who are buried here and other writers with memorials. The building itself has inspired novelists such as Thomas Hardy and most recently Tracy Chevalier. Medieval conflict, Tudor intrigue and Victorian scandal have provided writers with some great material. Come and learn about these literary connections and listen to extracts spanning over four hundred years of Literature from Shakespeare to Hilary Mantel.


Pestilence penitence and Putrefaction: A Medical History of Winchester Cathedral

For nearly 1400 years, those associated with the Cathedrals in Winchester have played an important part in the care of the sick and management of disease. This tour recounts the history of medicine in relation to the structure of the present Cathedral and the people commemorated within it.



Stitched and Woven

(cushions and altar frontals)

With few exceptions, all the vestments, cushions and altar frontals, were made between the late nineteenth century and the present day. Amongst earlier examples are some pieces of Spanish work believed to have been used at the marriage of Queen Mary in 1554. The vestments include a treasured set designed by Ninian Comper over a century ago. Sets of cushions and the altar frontals complement the glass and stonework throughout the Cathedral. The beautiful embroidered cushions and kneelers in the Quire are the work of Miss Louisa Pesel assisted by her friend Miss Sybil Blunt and 200 volunteer broderers. Much interest has been shown in them recently since they featured in Tracy Chevalier’s recently published novel ‘A Single Thread’.



Stones and Bones of Winchester Cathedral

Are there bones under the stones? Burial Rites and Changing Customs in Winchester Cathedral.



Supertour (90’)

A unique opportunity to take an in-depth tour of the cathedral, bringing to life the events of nearly 1000 years; encompassing monarchs, bishops, monks, plague, Reformation and civil war together with the work of medieval and contemporary craftsman.



This Royal House of Saxon Kings and Saints

Return to the roots of the Kingdom of England. Visit the Anglo-Saxon Minster and learn about its role in the birth of the English nation, the historic figures who ruled, reigned and are remembered here, and the traces of their world which remain visible today. Part of this tour is outside on slightly uneven ground, suitable clothing and footwear should be worn.



Touch tour with storytelling, designed for the blind and visually impaired

The Cathedral Building and its Treasures

The Cathedral was built nearly 1000 years ago, close to the site of Old Minster, the Anglo-Saxon church. The original Norman architecture remains in parts of the cathedral, with Gothic remodelling and additions from the 1200’s and 1300’s. This tour will provide you with a history of the building and the stories of some of those who worked here or are buried here. There will be opportunities to touch the stone that makes up the fabric of the building, and some objects that will enhance your understanding of the architecture of the Cathedral and some of its treasures.

The recommended maximum tour size is 3 visually impaired visitors. Preferably, each visitor should have a companion but the Cathedral on request can provide one.

The tour will take a little over an hour. You will be able to visit the Kings and Scribes exhibition after the tour if you wish. There are exhibits there, which you can touch.



The Victorian Story – Vision, Virtue and Infamy

The Cathedral was cold, dismal and colourless when Queen Victoria came to the throne. This tour traces its transformation and introduces colourful Victorian personalities associated with the Cathedral including Soapy Sam; the Bishop of Borneo; the anti muckabite Dean Garnier and the inspiration for one of Trollope’s characters.



Walking on Winchester

The famous tile pavements of Winchester Cathedral enable us to track the stories behind the Cathedrals history and the tales of the people who influenced its development.

We’ll walk where pilgrims and the famous have been before us, explore what they were trying to tell us through these designs and how the tiles reflected the life and times.

It’s an intriguing tale from 1093 through to today.



The Winchester Diver (William Walker)

One of the most fascinating stories around Winchester Cathedral is that of William Walker “the diver who saved the Cathedral with his own hands”.  In the early years of the 20th century, alarming foundation defects appeared in the east end of the Cathedral and desperate measures were needed to safeguard it for the future.  In the end the hero of the day was William Walker, who worked in atrocious and dangerous conditions for over 5 years.  The tour will describe in detail this unique project, one of the greatest engineering preservation feats of its time. Evidence still visible will be highlighted both within and outside the Cathedral, as will the commemorative statues to William Walker, a truly remarkable man.



(Wood) Artistry in Wood

This tour explores the exceptional riches of the Cathedral’s woodwork, ancient and modern. We discover wood furnishings and decoration from as far back as the beginning of the thirteenth century, and examine exquisite pre-Reformation carving in the Lady Chapel. A highlight of the tour is to look in some detail at one of the Cathedral’s greatest treasures, the fourteenth century choir stalls, described as “the most beautiful in Northern Europe”. The tour lasts 60 minutes.”



(Wood) What Happened to William the Conqueror’s Wood?

This tour provides an opportunity to visit the forest of massive timbers above the vault of the Nave, whose origins provoked amazement in William the Conqueror. Equally amazing is the Victorian engineering which lifted heavy timbers from resting directly on the vault underneath. Please be aware the visit involves a climb up and down 130 steps. The tour continues with highlights from the “Artistry in Wood” tour and overall lasts 90 minutes.