Walking through the streets of Winchester, it's impossible not to soak in the rich history of what used to be the capital of England.

With a population of around 35,000, Winchester is a now a quiet town, however as you walk through its streets, you can’t help noticing, with one major and many smaller reminders, that you are walking through what was once the ancient capital of England.

With its Christmas market, shops, market stalls and walking destinations, Winchester has more to offer than it's history.

Here are five things to do in Winchester this winter:

Winchester Christmas market

Running for 34 days, this year, Winchester's Christmas market starts on Friday 19 November and finishes on Wednesday 22 December. The market hosts an array of food and drink, from Bratwurst sausages to mulled wine, music, Christmas lights, chocolates, gin and much more.

Winchester Christmas market attracts over 400,000 visitors every year and is easily accessible, with a short walk from Winchester train station.

Hampshire Chronicle: Winchester Christmas Market Winchester Christmas Market

Winchester Cathedral

Known for its deep history and being one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe, Winchester Cathedral has been a place of worship for over 900 years and now welcomes over 300,000 people annually. The Cathedral offers tours with expert guides, daily opportunities to join the service, as well as visiting while the Cathedrals evening service is sung by the Cathedral Choir or a visiting choir. The Cathedral also offers tours to discover the crypt, see the Winchester Bible, take a tower tour, visit Jane Austin's grave, wander through the Close, visit the Deanery bookstall and enjoy a bite to eat at the confectionary.

To book a tour, click here

St. Catherine's Hill

St. Catherine's Hill is a 110 acre Site of Special Interest on the outskirts of Winchester. With stunning views expanding wide and far, the Hill is a perfect walk in all weather conditions, but preferably while the sun sets. The top of the hill is ringed by the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort, while in the centre, a cops of beech trees which contain the site of the 12th-century chapel of St. Catherine.

Marwell Zoo

With 100s of animals and five adventure playgrounds, Marwell Zoo is a great family day out. The zoo hosts animals from Giraffes, Penguins, Tigers, Meerkats, Snow Leopards, Sloths and many, many more.

Watch the giraffes being fed from 10:30am until 12:30pm daily, find out more about Santos the Sloth from 10:00am until 4:30pm daily and find out more about feeding time at the Information Cabin. You can also bring your own picnic to the zoo, or explore the zoo's Cafe Graze, which offer delicious hot meals, snacks and drinks, which are all available to take-away. To choose your time from 10am - 3pm or 11am - 4pm, visit here to purchase tickets and view information.

Hampshire Chronicle: Zebra and a foal at Marwell Zoo Zebra and a foal at Marwell Zoo

Winchester shops, bars and restaurants

Just like every city, Winchester hosts its own selection of impressive shops, which can guarantee you leave with everything you have been looking for. Here you can find: White Stuff, Space NK, Fat Face, Marks & Spencer, Dinghams Cookware, The White Company, Joules, Mint Velvet and many more. Shops open from 9:30am and close at 5:30pm.

Winchester is also very popular for its selection of bars and restaurants, from the recent arrival of The Ivy and Turtle Bay, Winchester also host Rick Stein, No. 5 Bridge Street, The Chesil Rectory, Brasserie Blanc, Zizzi, The Stable, Dim T, Josie's and many more.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Ivy, WinchesterThe Ivy, Winchester