FAQs


When is the Science Centre open?

Winchester Science Centre is open seven days a week, excepting 25 - 26 December when it is closed.


Standard opening hours:

Monday to Friday: 10am - 4pm 

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays: 10am - 5pm 

Look out for extended opening hours during Hampshire school holidays.

Evening lectures and special events can be found on the the What's On guide.

There are occasional school days when the planetarium cinema is not available due to special events or private bookings.

 


How long should I plan to be in the Science Centre?

It depends on your stamina! Some people spend all day at the Science Centre but most probably spend about half a day, including a visit to the planetarium cinema. As well as the hands-on exhibits and the planetarium there are indoor and outdoor picnic areas, an outdoor play area, a café and a shop.

You might also like to explore the neighbouring Butterfly Conservation reserve behind the Centre.

 


What does my admission ticket cover?

General Entry covers entry to the two floors of interactive, hands-on exhibits, including the exciting and immersive Explorer:Space zone. Keep an eye out for live science shows and themed activities at weekends and during school holidays, which are also included in admission. Check the What's On guide for information.

The admission ticket does not include entry to the planetarium cinema, but it gives you a reduced rate when adding planetarium cinema shows to your visit.

 


Why is the planetarium not included in the admission ticket?

Not everyone wants to go into the planetarium (i.e. families with children under 5 yrs) so visitors have the choice rather than automatically adding this cost to every entry ticket. Furthermore, some visitors may wish to see more than one show.

However, your ticket to the hands-on exhibition gives you a discount off the standalone price should you wish to add a planetarium show.

 


Can I just come to the planetarium cinema without paying for the exhibition?

Yes, any standard daytime show can be bought as a planetarium-only cinema ticket. 

Please be aware that planetarium-only cinema tickets do not allow entry to the exhibition area.

For show times, prices and further information, see the planetarium schedule.

 


Can I book tickets in advance?

Yes - we recommend booking online at least three days in advance to save 25% on admission.

If you would like to buy a ticket as a gift, the Science Centre can provide a gift voucher. The voucher will not have a specific date so the recipient can choose when to visit. Call 01962 891902 to arrange this.

 


Is Winchester Science Centre suitable for under 5s?

The exhibition is aimed at children aged between 5 and 12 yrs. However, younger children still enjoy playing with the hands-on exhibits, just in a less structured way. Many parents appreciate having a safe, interesting environment in which their children can express their natural desire to explore. Steps are available for younger children to help them reach, though toddlers may have to be lifted up to access some of the exhibits.

The planetarium cinema is not recommended for children under 5 yrs as the experience can be quite overwhelming, but if you'd like to bring them in then Chatterbox Shows are the best - these are special showings where children can chat or even call out without being asked to leave. Chatterbox Shows are available every day during holidays and weekends and are marked with a pink circle with a 'c' in the What's On guide.

On busy days (i.e. school holidays and wet weather days) the exhibition space can become quite busy and loud.The quietest time to visit tends to be after 2pm on school days.

 


Is there a café?

Yes, the Hub Cafe offers a variety of hot and cold drinks, light lunch options and snacks, including sandwiches, toasted paninis, jacket potatoes, nachos, cakes, fruit, biscuits and more.

 


Is there anywhere to eat a packed lunch?

Please feel free to bring a packed lunch with you. There is an outside picnic area accessed from the Hub Café with views of the beautiful South Downs National Park.

There is also an indoor picnic area downstairs which visitors are welcome to use. Please note space is limited, so at particularly busy times (i.e. school holidays) it may not be possible to provide enough room for all visitors.

Please note the seating in the Hub Café is reserved for those eating food purchased on-site.

 


How is the Science Centre funded?

Winchester Science Centre is an independent educational charity which does not receive subsidy from Winchester City Council or Hampshire County Council. The income generated from visitor admissions, the shop and corporate facility hire is used to cover running costs and to subsidise the work undertaken with schools.

Winchester Science Centre relies on fundraising to generate the money needed to develop new exhibits, to refurbish the ones already here, and to purchase new planetarium cinema shows.

If you or your organisation are able to offer any support then please get in touch!

 


What is Gift Aid?

If you are a UK taxpayer and you make a donation that is 10% more than the standard admission charge, the Government will give the Science Centre an extra 25% on top of your donation. This is the same for all charities.

This extra income makes a massive difference to charitable attractions like Winchester Science Centre. The extra money goes towards the upkeep of the site, building and new developments.

 


What is the STEM Ambassador Programme?

The term ‘STEM’ groups together the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These are all interlinked in solving many of the challenges facing modern society.

Winchester Science Centre coordinates the Central South England STEM Ambassador Hub to help inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

STEM Ambassadors cross all ages and backgrounds, representing thousands of different employers across the UK. Our Ambassadors include apprentices, zoologists, set designers, climate change scientists, engineers, farmers, geologists, nuclear physicists, and architects. They help to open the doors to a world of opportunities and possibilities which come from pursuing STEM subjects and careers. They not only inspire young people; they also support teachers in the classroom by explaining current applications of STEM in industry or research.

“It has been a fantastic learning experience for me as a teacher. I would encourage others to say "Yes, I'll do it" and jump in at the deep end. It's amazing how others help you float.  The Ambassadors were modest about their own knowledge and talents. The students warmed to them straight away whilst building self-esteem and excellent team-working skills. This will benefit them in any career choice” A STEM Teacher 

Please get in touch to find out how we can help you inspire your young people or to find out more about motivating young people by becoming a STEM Ambassador. 

To find out more please go to www.stem.org.uk/stem-ambassadors

The UK-wide STEM Ambassador programme is managed by STEM Learning, which operates the National STEM Learning Centre and Network, alongside other projects supporting STEM education www.stem.org.uk


Can I buy a Gift Card?

Yes! Gift Cards can be purchased and pre-loaded with any sum of money you wish. Please call the reception team on 01962 863791 and they can help you with this. Please note Gift Card terms and conditions:

Winchester Science Centre Gift Card Terms & Conditions

  1. Validly activated gift cards purchased via Winchester Science Centre are redeemable in full or part payment for services or merchandise from Winchester Science Centre (Excluding the Hub Café). Gift cards cannot be used for online bookings.
  2. Winchester Science Centre reserves the right to refuse the use of gift cards for specific one off events which are run at the centre.
  3. Winchester Science Centre gift cards may not be exchanged for cash, vouchers or as a deposit
  4. No change or refund will be given but any remaining balance may be applied to future purchases.
  5. The gift card will expire 24 months after the last use or balance enquiry and any remaining balance will be deducted.
  6. A Winchester Science Centre gift card remains the property of Winchester Science Centre.
  7. Winchester Science Centre gift cards are not cheque guarantee, credit or charge cards.
  8. Winchester Science Centre cannot be held liable for gift cards, once activated, which are subsequently lost, stolen, damaged or defaced.
  9. Winchester Science Centre reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions from time to time where it reasonably considers it necessary to do so (e.g. to change the scope of the gift card service, notify of the service's withdrawal or in the event of circumstances beyond its control). Reasonable notice of such changes will be given where possible.