Winchester is renowned as a creative hub, a fact witnessed across the wide range of happenings – from the Chilli & Cheese Festival in August, Hambledon Wine Festival and various art & literary exhibitions all over the city. With 2017 being the 200th year anniversary of Jane Austen's death, and as Jane is buried in Winchester Cathedral, there are, of course, plenty of events and performances celebrating her life and work.

Located just one hour from London by train, easily accessible from the M3 and A34, and 17 minutes from Southampton Airport, the city's convenient location makes it the perfect place for those seeking a great summertime trip.

Below are some of Visit Winchester's favourite summer events:

Jane's Winchester: Malady and Medicine –until 24th July

Visit the Winchester Discovery Centre for an exhibition revealing the final chapter of Jane Austen's life. On 24th May 1817, Jane arrived in Winchester to receive treatment for tuberculosis; the exhibit offers a vivid snapshot of the city during her final year, the sights and sounds she would have experienced, the hospitals and doctors that treated her, the friends and family who comforted her. The Discovery Centre will also be putting on another exhibition called The Mysterious Jane Austen. Explore Jane's life and work and her relationship to Hampshire, plus first editions of her work, personal letters and six portraits of Jane. Both exhibitions are free. 

Sitting with Jane –until 31st July

A Jane Austen inspired sculpture trail has been set up around Winchester, featuring sculptures that are all benches and each shaped like an open book. Every design is unique and hand-painted by a professional artist in a style inspired by Jane Austen's life. The trail, which you can follow using the 'Sitting with Jane App' allows visitors the chance to explore (and sit in) the often overlooked places and landscapes that were important influences on Jane's life and work.

Exhibition at Winchester Cathedral – Inspired by the Word' –until 30th September

'Inspired by the Word' is a multi-venue visual arts exhibition by contemporary artists celebrating the literature of Hampshire writers - Jane Austen, Edward Thomas and Gilbert White. The theme chosen for Winchester Cathedral's exhibition is Jane Austen and the artists who have been inspired by both the author and the Cathedral setting. The exhibition will showcase sculpture, letter carving and works in other media.

Winchester Science Festival at Winchester Discovery Centre – 28th to 30th July

Three days of science with something for everyone to enjoy, from talks to comedy to hands-on activities. On Friday 28th July there is a special focus on events and activities for children and their parents during the daytime. In addition to the main programme of talks, there will be a range of free drop-in exhibitions and hands-on activities.

Tickets: £17 per adult, Child (3 – 15): Free

Family Fun Days at the Watercress Line - 24th to 25th July & 28th August

The Watercress Line is a heritage railway which operates steam locomotives, between Alresford and Alton. A standard ticket will allow visitors unlimited travel, enabling them to explore all four period stations along the line. As well as access to hands-on and creative activities in the viewing gallery and mini tours of the workshops and yard at Ropley, visitors can also have a go at building their own 3D train or get up close to the steam engines in the yard.

Tickets: £16 per adult, £8 per child (2-16)

Magnificent Minibeasts! (and where to find them), Winchester Science Centre – 21st July to 4th Sept

Meet magnificent minibeasts from around the world and learn about the fascinating science of entomology; from physical characteristics to behaviours and life-cycles. Explore the wildlife closer to home through nature-based activities at the Centre and walking trails across Magdalen Hill Down, the adjacent butterfly conservation reserve. Take time to enjoy the hands-on exhibits and one of the live shows in the planetarium for a full-day of fun. 

Tickets: £12 per adult, £8.40 child

Wickham Festival – 3rd to 6th August

Wickham Festival is a fun-filled weekend for all the family, and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. There will be an incredible line up for 2017, including many welcome returns from the likes of The Levellers, 10cc, Seth Lakeman, Eliza Carthy, Show of Hands, and Oysterband. Tickets can be purchased here.

Hambledon Wine Festival – 6th August

Hambledon Wine Festival is the perfect opportunity for visitors to enjoy many wines from all over the world in one place – at England's oldest commercial vineyard. Take part in a wine tour, feast on local Hampshire produce or kick back and relax with a glass of wine.

Tickets: £10 per person which includes entry and a glass.

Day out with Thomas on the Watercress Line – 5th to 13th August

Visitors can meet Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends at the Watercress Line. Come and experience a ride on a real steam engine, shake hands with The Fat Controller and take part in Thomas themed activities in the Imagination Station. The travel ticket includes an entire day's travel on the big steam trains that run up and down the whole line, unlimited rides behind Thomas in his carriages or in Toad the Brake Van, and unlimited rides with Iron 'Arry and a friend of Diesel's - visitors can even get in the cab with the driver.

Tickets: £18 per adult, £12 per child, £54 per Family (2A + 2C)

The Cheese and Chilli Festival – 19th to 20th August

The 2017 Festival will see more cheese and chilies from around the world than ever before, alongside amazing arts and crafts. There will be something for everyone at the event to enjoy, and is a perfect family day out with free activities for children and adults to take part in, including quad and mountain bike stunt shows, falconry display, magic shows, Punch & Judy, chili eating competitions, real ale and real cider bars, a craft tent, sand art, balloon modelling, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and chili presentations.

Tickets: £7 per adult, Children under 16 go free.

The Great Brick Safari at Marwell Zoo – 1st August to 1st October

Visitors to Marwell Zoo this summer will experience the Great Brick Safari. Over 2 million LEGO® bricks will be used to make over 80 stunning sculptures representing 25 different species, which are being created by LEGO building company Bright Bricks. Among them will be a 1.5 tonne elephant, a life size Bengal tiger and a trio of Giant panda cubs. Other sculptures will be inspired by Marwell Zoo's own diverse collection of animals, with a red ruffed lemur, a warthog and a mob of meerkats all featuring on the trail.

Also new this summer, Marwell has just opened an exciting new exhibit, 'Lemur Loop'. The exhibit allows guests to walk through the primates' enclosure and watch them close up, like never before. The new walkthrough is home to four different species of lemur.

Tickets: Adults: £13.62, Child (3-16): £10.50, Family (2 A, 2 C): £44.50

Graze Festival – 27th August

Twyford's Graze Festival is one of Hampshire's finest music and food festivals, with lots of family entertainment. Now in its third year, Graze Festival is looking raise even more money for great local groups & charities.

Tickets: £29.50 per adult, £17.50 for children aged 13 to 17.

Alresford Agricultural Show -  2nd September

The Alresford Agricultural show is a great day out for the whole family. Events include: the sheep show, pig racing, display of vintage machinery, grand parade of champion livestock, Punch & Judy, juggling Jake, ferret racing, carriage driving, horticultural show, companion dog show, locally produced foods & catering Stands, poultry show, bees and honey Show, 150 trade stands, parade of hounds, beagles and bloodhounds, craft tent, heavy horse classes, birds of prey and much, much more.

Tickets: Adults - £15, Children (11-16) - £5, Under 11's go free.

Taste of Wickham – 10th September

The Taste of Wickham is a free festival which showcases local produce and barbeques. There will also be cookery demonstrations by local chefs using local produce, live music, over 60 stalls selling local produce, hot food and gifts as well demonstrating services, free craft activities for children, free face painting, free bouncy castle, and loads more.

For more information and day-to-day events, visit