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Things to see and do at Winchester City Mill

A hands-on milling demonstration at Winchester City Mill, with adults and children getting stuck in
A hands-on milling demonstration at Winchester City Mill | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Grab a bite to eat in our café, spot otters in the river using the otter-cam or learn about how the Mill has been such an important part of Winchester's history.

Resident otters

In 1994, three otters were reintroduced to the River Itchen. Since then, these rare and elusive creatures have thrived. Regular sightings followed, particularly near the City Mill.

In the late 1990s, a joint project between the National Trust and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust was set up to install observation equipment.


The otters’ regular adventures are captured by a series of motion-activated cameras that record them as they emerge from under the mill to mark territory during hunts for food. Visitors can enjoy clips from regularly updated archive footage and view the live feed from our cameras along the river.

Otters are so often spotted at the City Mill that TV and wildlife programmes have filmed with us or featured our footage. These include Countryfile, Springwatch, The One Show and Panorama.

Other wildlife you can spot

The crystal-clear waters of the River Itchen teem with trout and even occasional salmon. Water voles are regularly spotted, kingfishers fish off the walls outside, and a family of grey wagtails feeds on abundant mayfly and other insects in the garden.

Otter swimming on the surface of the water with its catch of fish, at Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
See if you can spot the otters in the river around the mill | © National Trust Images / Jim Bebbington

Gateway to the South Downs

Winchester City Mill showcases the special landscapes and wildlife of the Downs, suggests ideas for local walks and experiences and reveals how easy it is to explore sustainably by trains, buses and bicycle.

You will discover a wide selection of information to help you explore local walks and cycle routes, as well as attractions found within the South Downs, including many historic National Trust properties.

Local countryside treasures to discover

Since the 1930s, Winchester City Mill has been regarded as the starting point for walkers of the South Downs Way – a 160km route that follows old paths and droveways along the chalk escarpment of the South Downs. Local treasures include idyllic nature reserve St Catherine’s Hill and National Trust estate Hinton Ampner - glorious gardens with views of the South Downs and a nearby bus stop from which you can return to Winchester.

A pair of cyclists pedals along a chalky track between green fields on the South Downs Way on Bignor Hill at Slindon Estate, West Sussex
Discover the South Downs from the mill | © National Trust Images/John Miller
A view of Winchester City Mill from the riverside footpath beyond the Soke Bridge over the River Itchen.

Discover more at Winchester City Mill

Find out when Winchester City Mill is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Winchester City Mill, Hampshire, and bridge spanning the River Itchen

The history of Winchester City Mill 

Discover the history of Winchester City Mill, probably the oldest working watermill in the country, from its Saxon origins to modern-day rebirth with the National Trust.

Front view of the Winchester City Mill Café with two team members in the background

Eating at Winchester City Mill 

Visit the café in the heart of the mill for delicious baked products and a hot drink while soaking up the atmosphere of the 1,000-year-old watermill.

Children holding bags of flour that has been milled at Winchester City Mill

Family-friendly things to do at Winchester City Mill 

Whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring, discover why Winchester City Mill is ideal for a family day out.