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Click on the points below to explore The Pilgrims' School and surrounding areas

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Wolvesey Castle

Cathedral Close

As you drive in to the Cathedral Close you will come through St Swithuns' gate, one of the original archways which gave access to the medieval city. Look for the huge wooden gate, which is locked securely at night. On your right is the old court house of Winchester, now the Headmaster's home. The wattle and daub building beyond was once the old stables, and is now our music department. On your left, the Judge's Lodgings, one of the most sought-after accommodations for High Court judges out on circuit - apparently because they can listen to the Choristers practice while they have breakfast. Ahead of you, the Priory, home to the Dean of Winchester Cathedral, with one of the best secondhand and rare book shops you will find anywhere. Proceeds fund a choristership, so do call in for a browse. As you go back through the archway, look up and see if you can spot the church on your left, possibly the only working church built above a medieval gate. Welcome to our living history.

Winchester Cathedral

As the Cathedral school of Winchester, we are privileged to be able to use the stunning Cathedral as our chapel. The boys know the Cathedral well, especially the 22 Cathedral Choristers, of course, but also the whole of the school, boys and parents, as we hold several of our school services there. We mark the start and end of each academic year with an Evensong in the Quire, and we fill the nave almost to overflowing at our carol service. The Pre-Prep visit it regularly, for assembly and to explore its wondrous space.

Riverside walk to Abbey Gardens & the High Street

Cafes & independent shops this way

Our sports pitches

Our sports pitches are adjacent to the school and have possibly one of the finest views that any parent can enjoy while watching their son play in a match - surely no other prep school can boast of having a real castle behind the wicket! Wolvesey Castle is owned by English Heritage and you are welcome to visit - or just enjoy looking at it from one of our benches by the Alex Halliday Pavilion, with a cup of tea and homemade cake during match tea. We have an extended break on Wednesdays and many of the boys pop down to the pitches to enjoy the abundance of space. It's also a great place for our boarders to let off steam in the evenings!

Winchester College

One of the oldest public schools in the country, many of our boys end up going "over the road" for the next step of their education. The Quiristers, the trebles who sing for Winchester College Chapel Choir, are Pilgrims, and we are very fortunate to have use of some of the College's facilities.

College Street

Kingsgate Village

Our historic neighbourhood, clustered around the Kingsgate arch and the convergence of two beautiful Georgian streets, Kingsgate and College Walk. A tea room, a print shop and framer, an award winning pub, with rooms, a grocery and fine provisions store, a gift and homewares shop, a bookshop and bookbinders, and Jane Austen's house. All on the doorstep and very handy for the school run. Pilgrims' Chamber Choir traditionally sing carols for the Kingsgate Village community when they switch on their Christmas lights.

Wharf Hill

Our front door and visitor parking

To Q School

Q School, 63-64 Kingsgate Street Boarding House for the Quiristers

The Cathedral Close

The Octagon

The Octagon sits in the Quad, in the middle of the school. It leads a busy life, as assembly hall, Pre-Prep dining room, performance space, hospitality room for match teas and open days, art gallery, judo room. In contrast to all the bustle of the day, it even reinvents itself as a quiet place in which to practice yoga.

Our Pre-Prep

The Puddle

The Grid

The Grid is an all-weather, bouncy surface made of environmentally friendly recycled tyres. It is used for hockey practice, football, Pre-Prep sports skills training, our annual pancake races, and fun at break time. It is enclosed by the Puddle (our outdoor pool) and changing rooms, the Design Technology workshop, a climbing wall, and our Pre-Preparatory

Adventure Playground

The Quad

The Quad is where it all happens! Boys and teachers meet each other around its perimeter on their way to lessons, and its central lawn is used constantly. Groups appear on the grass for outdoor lessons, after school clubs, open air concerts, family picnics, barbecues, and school community events. It is particularly popular at break when the boys spill out from the classrooms to play mini cricket, boules, 'It Build-up', conkers, diabolo - whatever the latest craze and weather dictate. Many of our senior teaching rooms have French windows which open on to the Quad, allowing the classrooms to enjoy an abundance of natural light and air. The ICT suites, the Briggs Library, a giant chess board and the Octagon concert hall mark its perimeters.

Briggs Library

Main School boarding

Main School Boarding House

Main School

The main building of the school dates back to the 17th century and has been modernised to accommodate the school's administrative offices, the Head's study, Main School boarding house, the boys’ Common Room, the dining room, and our catering facilities.

The Pilgrims' Hall

The medieval Pilgrims' Hall is where we gather for school assemblies, concerts, plays, lectures, PPA quizzes and external exams. Built in 1310, this is where the pilgrims would take shelter for the night, before visiting the Shrine of St Swithun in the Cathedral. Its magnificent timber roof is England's earliest surviving example of 'hammer-beam' construction, complete with splendid carved heads, one of which may be the young King Edward II. It is open to visitors and we are delighted to be included as a part of Winchester Heritage Days each year.

Our river bank

Beyond the Grid, a tributary of the River Itchen flows through the Outer Gardens. Boarders enjoy the peace and quiet of reading by the riverbank, scientists analyse the river water for aquatic life, Forest School cook damper bread over an open fire, and fishermen practice casting - but they fish further downstream, away from our resident otter who has first pick of any fish.

Music rooms

Occupying nearly the entire length of the Yard, the music rooms are housed within the former Priory Stables, which have been carefully adapted to provide outstanding facilities for music - several practice and ensemble rooms, a sound-proofed studio, a music technology suite, and a teaching room.

The Yard

Boys head to the Yard at break to play Pitpat, which is a practice for Fives, basketball, and Yard cricket, with rules known only to those playing at the time. The games room, known as The Priory, leads off the Yard and has table tennis, a pool table, a table top football, and a drum kit tucked under its wooden eaves. The Yard is where the boys sign out at the end of the day, and where most parents come to pick them up, arriving either through the Close or by the school's other two entrances on College Street.

IT suite

The school has two dedicated IT suites, equipped to the highest standard with interactive white boards and individual PC workstations, which are used for teaching computing and for lessons when each boy requires access to his own computer. Every classroom in the school has a networked computer with internet access for invaluable online resources. All rooms have projectors and in many cases, the latest in touch screen technology with our Smart Interactive Panels. We also use iPads to enable us take our learning anywhere and to document field trips.


Through the St Swithun's arch, and tucked away from view in the historic Cathedral Close, The Pilgrims' School benefits from a wonderful sense of privacy and security. Visitors are often surprised by the spaciousness of the school site, and the abundance of grass play areas and open vistas which they discover behind our front door.

Design and technology


Prep (homework) is kept to a minimum and is used to underpin and consolidate specific areas of learning. Up until Year 4, it will mostly be reading, spelling, and times tables. Much of the prep is timetabled and done during the day, and boys have the option to stay on after school to finish their prep in the library. The boarders do their prep together after supper, in a classroom. They are supervised, so help is always at hand. In Year 8, the boarders are given a Toy, an individual study desk in a room which is also called Toys. This helps them to adapt to the more independent style of working that they will encounter at their senior school.

Our front door and visitor parking

Our Location

We are blessed with a truly idyllic location. Just an hour south of London by direct train, with easy access to all the major travel hubs, and yet we are surrounded by the stunning countryside of the South Downs National Park. The school is tucked away between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, within the secure and secluded Cathedral Close. Moments from our front door is the heart of the historic city of Winchester, or step through our back gate to find water meadows, countryside, and the South Downs Way.