Hampshire SO23 9AP
At the top of the High Street and only yards from Winchester Castle’s Great Hall, one of the last fortified main medieval gates into the ancient city of Winchester has been refurbished into a fascinating museum and brass rubbing centre.
The city’s rich history, particularly from the medieval period, is on display. There is armour, weapons, household objects, and a painted ceiling created for the marriage of Mary I to Philip of Spain in 1554. In addition, there is a fascinating collection of old weights and measures. Visitors can also try their hand at creating a brass-rubbing.
Although the Westgate was rebuilt in the 12th century and modified in the 13th and late 14th centuries, there is still visible a small portion of the original Anglo-Saxon wall. The 14th century modifications included the installation of a portcullis in the western façade and two inverted-keyhole gunports intended for use with handheld cannon.
When the defensive needs of the city declined, Westgate was put to use as a gaol and debtors' prison. Grafitti carved by prisoners can still be seen in the upper chamber. From the late 19th century Westgate has been used as a museum and secure storage for city archives.
Traffic flowed through the Grade I listed gate until 1959 when the High Street was routed around it.
The Westgate Museum houses a small collection of replica Hampshire medieval church brasses which can be rubbed for a small to moderate fee (see below).
Admission to the tower includes free hands-on activities for families and children such as a spotter quiz, trying on medieval costumes and climbing to the roof top to admire views over the city.
February half term - March:
- Saturday: 10:00 to 16:00 hours
- Sunday: 12:00 to 16:00 hours
April - October:
- Saturday: 10:00 to 17:00 hours
- Sunday: 12:00 to 17:00 hours
Closed November to February half term.
Unfortunately this Grade -1 listed building is not wheelchair accessible due to its age, and there are steep stone steps from the street entrance.
Guide dogs are permitted.
There is a hearing loop.
For those with visual impairments there is a 'touch and hear' information point.
Brass Rubbing at the Westgate
After seeing the medieval church brasses, you can have a go at making your own brass rubbing to take away as a souvenir of your visit. You will be given an information sheet which will tell you all about the brass you have rubbed, and translate any inscription.
- Prices include the cost of materials
Full details and costs at Web: Westgate Museum/ Brass Rubbing External Link
Accommodation - Search & Book through Agoda here: External Link
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1962 869 864
Hampshire Cultural Trust External Link
Google Maps - Westgate Museum