WITH the school summer holidays now in full swing, parents may be getting stuck for ideas on how to entertain children in Winchester without spending loads of money.

While all children love a trip out, sometimes these can end up very expensive if you have to pay for tickets to get in somewhere.

Here, we have compiled a list of 12 free activities and things to do in the area with children over the six-week holidays.

River Itchen
Running right through Winchester, the River Itchen offers many places for a great walk. 
You could pick up the trail at Itchen Abbas, St Catherine’s Hill or the Itchen Circular.
For more details, visit: visit-hampshire.co.uk/explore/rivers-and-canals/river-itchen.

Winchester City Mill
National Trust Winchester City Mill is right in the middle of the city. 
You get to see how bread was made, how the mill works and the future of the mill. 
This museum is free if you are a National Trust member.
For more details, visit: nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/hampshire/winchester-city-mill.

Hampshire Chronicle:

The Brooks Shopping Centre
For younger children there is a free soft play area in the shopping on the lower level next to Primark - be warned you will need to get past both The Works and The Entertainer to get there. Both shops have eye-catching window displays and great ranges of toys. 

Abbey Gardens play area
The play area recently re-opened after an extensive refurbishment. 
As well as a wide range of swings and slides, it includes a communication board to help non-verbal children.
The pictures on the board include photographs of play equipment, as well as questions such as ‘who?’, ‘what?’, and ‘why?’. It also includes some emotions, such as happy and sad, and instructions such as ‘watch’, ‘look’, and ‘listen’. 

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St Catherine’s Hill
With its vast landscape and stunning views, St Catherine’s Hill is a great day out for the whole family. 
You don’t have to walk to the top of the hill either to get the best views of the city.
On the way down look out for some of the 25 species of breeding butterfly that call it home.
For more details, visit: hiwwt.org.uk/nature-reserves/st-catherines-hill-nature-reserve.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Twyford Down
Next to St Catherine’s Hill, Twyford Down used to house a fort and chapel back in Roman times and was a well-known route for travellers in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Farley Mount Country Park
Just outside of the city, Farley Mount is a beautiful downland that is great for hiking, playing and cycling.
Bring a picnic in the summer months for a full day out.
For more details, visit: woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/woods/farley-mount-country-park-1/.

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Winnall Moors Nature Reserve
This 64 hectares of grassland and marsh is home to roaming cattle and horses. 
The whole walk is almost five miles long and overlooks the water meadows and Fulling Mill.
Winnall Moors has long, surfaced paths and boardwalks, making walking with a pushchair easy.
For more details, visit: hiwwt.org.uk/nature-reserves/winnall-moors-nature-reserve.

Winchester City Museum
Starting from the Ice Age right up to the Anglo‑Saxon, Winchester City Museum is a great and fun day out. It includes a scale model of Winchester in 1871.
It’s interactive and details about what it was like living in these times. 
For more details, visit: hampshireculture.org.uk/winchester-city-museum/.

Wolvesey Castle
The remains of the castle are a fascinating remnant into a medieval structure.
It was the 12th century palace of Bishop Henry of Blois, brother of King Stephen.
For more details, visit: english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/wolvesey-castle-old-bishops-palace/.

Watch trains
It’s a simple activity which costs nothing.
The bridge near the railway station is perfect for watching trains roar underneath.

Adjutant General’s Corps Museum
The Adjutant General’s Corps Museum is located in the former guardroom of Peninsula Barracks, situated at the top of the High Street.
The building also houses Joe’s Café and the visitor’s information point for Winchester’s Military Quarter. 
The museum displays the history of the antecedents and modern Corps through text, images, objects, and dioramas.
There is also a dressing up box, a floor game, and quizzes for children.
For more details, visit: agcmuseum.org.uk/visit-us/.