Winchester is one of Hampshire’s most desirable areas to live, and there are many reasons why! With so many great places to explore, fantastic cafes and restaurants, historic venues to have drinks with friends as well as beautiful walks around this historic city. There’s also a vibrant arts and cultural scene. What’s not to love?
There are many festivals in Winchester all through the year but as you’d expect, Summer is when most of them occur, and there’s a mixture to suit all tastes. The Chilli and Cheese Festival comes to Winchester in early June, with a varied mix of cheese and chilli suppliers, free samples to try out at the event as well as homemade ciders, live music and chilli eating competitions. This has become a very popular event with all ages! In July, the UK’s longest running outdoor arts festival comes to town when The Hat Fair takes place, this internationally acclaimed event really draws in the crowds as the streets come alive with performers! Artists, musicians, and performers of all kinds set up shows all around the city in many outdoor locations, this is so full of energy and so unique, one not to be missed!
There are also other smaller food related events such as Fizz Fest in late July. This is a smaller event but worth checking out in the sunshine with friends. At this iconic Fizz Fest, visitors have the opportunity to taste over 20 Hampshire sparkling and still wines from local winemakers and vineyard owners. There’s live music, delicious food from street food stalls, as well as the opportunity to book vineyard tours and masterclasses for keen enthusiasts too. In August the Boomtown festival comes to Winchester. This popular music festival has many types of music from mainstream to more underground and emerging talent. Boomtown has a long history of celebrating the best in reggae, roots, folk and world music as well as being home for ska, metal and punk. It also represents the electronic spectrum from house, disco and techno to drum n bass, jungle, hip-hop and heavier styles of gabba and hardcore!
If you want a more chilled out summertime and a chance to walk and take in all the city has to offer The South Downs National Park is a great place to start. It’s filled with woodland, hills, secret valleys, and plenty of trails where you can either hike or bike. St Giles Hill to the east of the city centre has the best view of the city too, so well worth a stroll up the hill! You’ll never be short of ways to spend your time in Winchester, on a rainy or cooler day the local cinema is owned by the Everyman independent cinema chain and is set in a beautiful old church in the St Cross area of the city. The Theatre Royal also hosts drama, dance, comedy, music, children’s theatre and a Christmas pantomime so there’s plenty of opportunities to sit back and relax.
When it comes to shopping, you’ll find one of the largest farmers’ markets in Hampshire on the second and last Sunday of the month. There are over 80 produce stalls, and they sell a vast selection of items including fruit and veg, cheese, meats, fish, bread and cakes. The high street has a host of well-known shops such as M&S, Boots, The White Company, The Body Shop, Hobbs, Mountain Warehouse and many more. There’s also the Brooks Shopping Centre with retailers such as Primark and Parchment Street, which has specialist shops, designer stores and boutiques to explore.
When the sun goes down, you’ll be spoilt for choice with places to eat and drink! For a gourmet meal, stop by The Chesil Rectory for amazing British cuisine, set in an exposed beam restaurant with stripped floor dining and a fireplace, it’s not to be missed, and they pride themselves on using seasonal ingredients to create fantastic gastro food. Or for something entirely different, meet up with friends and try out Kyoto Kitchen for superb Japanese food in stylish settings. The Ivy Winchester Brasserie is also a really good choice with its super cocktails in a decadent art deco style restaurant, and for special occasions the champagne afternoon tea service is great. There’s also a host of more regular restaurants such as Pizza Express, Zizi, Ask, The Stable and Joe’s Pizzeria and some great pubs such as The Old Vine, the Black Rat and the Wykeham Arms. The best local restaurants include the Hotel du Vin and The Plough at Sparsholt is a popular local gastro pub, just a short drive away. If you’re looking for a superb pub garden to enjoy the good weather whilst in the city, The Willow Tree pub does not disappoint, it has a fantastic sunny beer garden with a stream trickling through it.
For drinks after work or on a sunny weekend, try Greens bar and kitchen, well known for amazing cocktails and whilst a small bar, they have live DJs on a weekend and a friendly atmosphere. Greens also offers up a fantastic brunch, lunches and Sunday roast menu too! Across the road you’ll find Winchester’s oldest pub, the Royal Oak. This is a more traditional pub that serves drinks and food, and is a great meeting place to start the evening as it is set at the top of the hill and afterwards you can make your way down the city, walking past the historic butter cross, where locals sold local produce such as butter, milk, and eggs back in the 16th century, now a popular landmark in Winchester, and head onward to the many bars or pubs, such as The William Walker, Alfie’s, Pitcher and Piano, or treat yourself to more superb cocktails at Incognito!
Winchester is also very well connected, with London only an hour away by train if you fancy getting further afield with friends or family. Southampton, Portsmouth, Weymouth, and Bournemouth are just some of the other places easily accessible by train or car from Winchester too.
Winchester is a vibrant place to live, with so much to see and do, so if you’re looking for a new place to call home summer, why not take a look at our Kings Barton apartments? If they look like the ideal home for you, call and book a viewing today! Visit www.yourvividhome.co.uk/kings-barton to take a virtual tour and find out more now!
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