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Windhelm is the capital of the Stormcloak army, and the oldest city still standing in all of Skyrim.
This city is as historic as it is iconic, being the home of Ulfric Stormcloak, rife with drama between politics, not to mention all the quests to be done within its walls.
However, the city itself does leave much to be desired – between the bland color schemes and architecture, it doesn’t feel like a historic city.
But a couple of helpful mods should be able to help spruce up the place, to make it both historic and welcoming to the eyes and soul.
We’ll make this a proud capital of the Nords!
1. JK’s Windhelm
Like all of JK’s mods, this one improves Windhelm without heavy scripts or new models.
Using purely vanilla assets, this modder has vastly improved Windhelm as a city.
Firstly, it alters the walkways and looks of the Grey Quarter to fit the Dunmer culture of the residents within it.
It also features Ysgramor’s statue right at the entrance to the city as a symbol of pride!
And it even expands the market, and adds a public shrine to Talos in such trying political times. This mod builds upon what’s already there, without having to make models from scratch.
Another flawless execution from a passionate modder!
2. Dawn of Windhelm
Here’s a mod that’s really just a massive overhaul project for Windhelm.
It changes many aspects of the city, all without driving your computer into overheating. More specifically, it adds a few new vendors and NPCs to interact with (which you’ll notice all over the place).
And it changes every area accessible with slight visual & structural additions.
It even updates the environment of the city to reflect the outcome of the Civil War questline!
And best of all: it’s lore-friendly and script-free, meaning most of the assets are from within the game.
The new look of the city is eye-catching, and still fits the historic cultures fused into the population.
3. Snow City
This is one of the more impressive city expansion mods I’ve seen, mostly because of the total size if offers for new expansion.
It adds a whole slew of additions to Windhelm, including 25 new buildings, 60 unique NPCs, new docks, and a new residence district.
Other improvements include clothing for NPCs, a larger Stormcloak presence in city, and an expanded Gray Quarter.
And according to the creator, they actually put +500 hours into this project. No fooling.
4. The Warmstone of Windhelm
From big expansions to small additions, this mod gives us a new home added to Windhelm that isn’t a former murder house.
Specifically, it adds a substantial player home with its own story. And it works with most other expansion mods too, including most on this list.
The house comes with a variety of accommodations too, including:
– A heated bathroom
– Many weapon racks
– Smithing and alchemy rooms
– And so many beds!
And it’s located very close to the market district, so it can be made into a secondary home for followers using the My Home if Your Home mod.
5. Windhelm’s Refugee Camp
Let’s add a little character to Windhelm in the form of a refugee camp.
As the modder describes it:
“To prevent overcrowding in the Gray Quarter, Windhelm has allowed people to set up camp outside the gate.”
The residents in the camp are all Dunmer that have fled what’s left of Morrowind, mostly those down on their luck. So there’s even a good amount of lore behind this new addition.
It really does lean into lore-friendly territory, as the Nords would have the Dunmer camp out in the cold before offering to expand their already small district.
It’s a sad fact of Elder Scrolls lore – but it still adheres to the norm.
6. Capital Windhelm Expansion
Yet another massive expansion mod for Windhelm – and this one went all-in!
This changes the layout of the city completely, so it can almost feel like a brand new location. And it adds a variety of structures, new NPCS, and even new quests.
Among the additions are a pit arena, some bakeries, a museum, three new merchants, and 8 unique quests to help you explore this exciting new (redesigned) city.
All the new NPCs have voice lines and custom outfits too, with some of them being involved in the new quests as well.
Plus some features are even added outside the city walls, like new docks, floating blocks of ice on the river to help you across, and a Dunmer shanty town.
7. Windhelm Mercenary Guild
Based on the title, can you guess what we get here?
Yep, a mercenary guild.
This guild can be found across the river near the farms, right by the unique stone tower.
Inside this multi-level guildhall are a variety of NPCs, two being merchants (including the Dunmeri guildmaster) and several are actually viable followers.
All the new followers in the guild self-heal and have their own perks to make them viable companions. And you can even mod your own followers into the mix as well.
Other NPCs are here merely for flavoring the building, and all interactable objects in the guild hall are safe too.
There are several beds available here, and many storage containers to keep items safe. So it’s definitely a place worth exploring.
8. Monster of the Windhelm Pit Arena
If you just want something to update Windhelm’s with a truly unique feature, well, here ya go.
This mod adds a new location with a unique quest, something that was originally scrapped from Windhelm’s creation.
Head into the pit arena to save several combatants trapped inside – at the mercy of the monsters within.
But here’s the catch:
There are 39 different types of monsters to fight!
Some types, called “chapters”, require DLCs to function. But most are playable in the base game, and all of them are unique to Skyrim!
Each have their own challenges, and you get to choose which one to fight as you enter. And changing between them is simple if you use a mod loader.
Either way, there’s plenty here to keep you busy for hours on end.
Charge in and conquer The Pit!