Category Archives: What’s On

Preview – Exploded Circus at Theatre Royal Winchester

The big top at the end of the world

Theatre Royal Winchester will be welcoming the formidable Mimbre and their touring production Exploded Circus, 7 – 8 September, 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Here’s a preview for the must see event:

Mimbre is a female-led contemporary circus company. They use their unique blend of physicality and narrative to tell intimate stories about human connections.

Featuring a breath-taking mix of acrobatics, surprising aerial feats and masterful juggling, The Exploded Circus weaves a story without words, where six women come together to seek order in the chaos and create a new normal. In this new production, Mimbre’s Joint Artistic Director Lina Johansson joins forces with critically-acclaimed designer Loren Elstein and experimental composer Quinta.

The Exploded Circus invites audiences into a moment where an explosion has been frozen in time, the remnants of a big top caught mid-air – with everything from the circus ring, sequins and fairground horses suspended above the ground. With striking imagery and subtle humour, the show explores themes around change, hope and belonging.

Director Lina Johansson comments, With a feeling that the world around us is on the cusp of big changes, I want to create a performance reflecting on this in a microcosm. Be it Brexit, global warming or the refugee crisis, there is a strong feeling of change and upheaval around us. I want to use the show to reflect, as well as imagine what could come from this change and how we can use it to grow. I want audiences to feel the palpable uncertainty around us, but also nurture a feeling of hope. The Exploded Circus mixes spectacle and visual impact with heart and personal stories. The risk and trust inherent in circus – the falls and the balances of the performers – allows me to explore a physical narrative that the audience feel in their bodies as well as follow with their minds.

Mimbre’s work pushes the boundaries of contemporary circus with a cast made up of six versatile artists: French performer Alice Allart on trick bike and slack rope (Stumble Dance Circus, Keziah Serreau, Ilmatila, Osborne&What); physical theatre actor and aerialist Farrell Cox (London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies, Charles Chipperfield Circus, LAS Theatre); physical performer Coral Dawson who specialises in corde lisse and aerial harness (Cirque Bijou, Citrus Arts and Full Tilt Aerial), Canadian acrobat Arielle Lauzon with Chinese hoops and slack rope (Festival Montreal Complètement Cirque, Cirque Eloize), aerialist Rebecca Rennison (Upswing,The New Vic Theatre, The London Cabaret Club) and juggler Lynn Scott (Gandini Juggling, Upswing).

Composer Quinta (The Paper Cinema, Rambert/Cunningham, Ockham’s Razor) creates an ethereal score – combining her flair for improvisation, non-conventional scoring, electronic interfacing and work with new instrumentation. Designer Loren Elstein (Rent, Hangmen, The End of Longing) ingeniously creates a three-dimensional world inspired by artworks such as Cornelia Parker’s Exploded Shed, David Spriggs’ Half Explosion and Ori Gersht’s Time after time photographs.

The show is supported by Arts Council England through a Strategic Touring grant, Foyle Foundation, PRS Foundation, 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space, Worthing Theatres, Imagine Luton, Merchant City Festival, Brewhouse Arts Centre Burton upon Trent, Lancaster Arts and Circus250.

Fri 7 – Sat 8 September
Fri 7.30pm
Sat 2.30pm, 7.30pm

To book tickets, please visit the theatre website here or telephone 01962 840440.

Win Guide to August

It’s sizzling out there. Here’s our Win Guide to a chilled out hot summer in the city of Winchester:

The Winchester Guildhall is running a Summer Film Fest, with a great programme of family films.

For a full programme or to book tickets, visit the website here.

For a relaxed folk music treat to distract us from the heat, the Wickham Festival is on, 2-5 August. It’s a bumper line up this year. For full details, visit the website here.

Fancy getting involved with the Chesil Theatre? Find out what’s behind the Little Red Door on the first Saturday of every month in an open morning, 10.30am-12.30pm. Visitors can learn about what goes on behind the scenes and meet members of the theatre as well as finding out how to sign up. The next session is on 4 August. Visit the website for more details here.

There are some great community events on at the Theatre Royal this August. Support Hampshire Hospitals Got Talent on 11 August. Money raised will go to the Winchester Hospice charity. Ricnic Hampshire is staging the musical great Gypsy, 22 – 25 August. Petersfield Shakespeare Festival present The Taming of the Shrew, 29 August.

The Boom Town Fair Festival is back between 9-12 August on the Matterly Estate in its 10th Anniversary Edition. Gorillaz will be headlining and other music highlights include Damon Albarn, Jimmy Cliff, DJ Goldie and Limp Bizkit, and many, many more.

Hampshire Open Studios runs between 18 – 27 August.

Check out the local arts scene as over 500 local artists open their doors to show original artworks. For a full programme visit the website here.

Celebrate Cheese and Chilli in the Cheese and Chilli Festival, 18-19 August. There will also be plenty of other entertainment to amuse the family, including pig racing,  face painting, magic shows and live music.  Visit the website here for more details.

The City Mill will be hosting their annual Grand Duck Race, back by popular demand on 25 August.   Complete your ‘Design-A-Duck’ sponsorship certificate to take part in the ‘Best Dressed’ racing duck competition. Submit your design by 25 August and the winner will be announced, along with the fastest race finishers, on the duck race day. The fun starts at 11am. With cake and craft stalls, food and drink, fete games and chances to win prizes, there is plenty for all the family to enjoy and take away.

Graze Festival returns this year, 26 August in Twyford.  There will be live music, food stalls and entertainment for children. For details, visit the website here. Here’s a trailer from last year’s festival for a flavour of what you can expect to graze upon:

We’ll be bringing you more highlights throughout the month on Twitter @Win_Guide.  Have a great summer one and all…

Win Guide to March

March started with the Beast from the East and an Amber weather warning. We hope our fellow Wintonians managed to stay warm and dry in the snow.  A big thank you to Trinity Winchester, local carers, emergency services, public sector staff and neighbours who cared for the vulnerable during an unexpected freeze.

As the snow melts and we return to the beginnings of Spring, here’s our Win Guide to March:

Handbags at the ready, The Original Theatre Company will be visiting the Theatre Royal Winchester with a delightful production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, starring Gwen Taylor, 5 – 7 March.  For more details or to book tickets, visit here. Other theatre highlights this month include Slightly Fat Features, think Monty Python meets Cirque du Soleil, 11 March. Lloyd and Rose Buck will be giving a talk, Our Life with Birds, 13 March.  There will be a rare opportunity to meet Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, hawks, owls, starlings and many more, in the theatre! Jason Donovan will be at the Theatre Royal on 16 March, along with his mid-life crisis.  For the younger audience members, don’t forget to book for Peppa Pig, 17 – 18 March.  The Winchester Comedy Festival will be presenting a Comedy Gala, 17 March.

The University of Winchester students will be teaming up with the Theatre Royal for Scratch Shakespeare on 19 March.  With four directors, four theatre companies and four performances inspired by the Bard himself, be there or be a poisonous bunch-backed toad. Our insult (Richard III) not theirs! There is also the chance to see Wessex Dance Academy, 22 March, and the Young Theatre Royal showcase on 27 & 29 March. Oh, and the Swansea City Opera will be bringing the Barber of Seville to the Theatre Royal stage on 20 March.  For full programme details and to book tickets, visit the website here.

Craig Charles, the beloved Red Dwarf actor, will be bringing his Funk & Soul Club to the Guildhall on 9 March from 10pm.  The event is for 18+ years. Support comes from The Soul Rays and Jimi Needles. For full details and to get booking, visit the Guildhall website here.

Don’t forget it’s mother’s day on Sunday 11 March.  There are still a limited number of tickets left for the Great British Gin Festival, which could be a treat.  To snap the last tickets up and find our more, visit here. There are also various offers on offer throughout the city to spoil mums with lunches, dinners or afternoon tea.  Hotel du Vin has an afternoon tea with Champagne deal on, £50 for two. Or the Holiday Inn will be offering afternoon tea with unlimited Prosecco. An 18+ age guidance of course applies.

For some more theatre fun, The Venetian Twins by Carlo Goldoni will be on at the Chesil Theatre, 17 – 24 March directed by Mark Frank.  Goldoni’s timeless comedy is a wonderful whirling confusion of frustrated lovers, bizarre fights between mistaken adversaries and devious plots that go off the rails – with a surprising bitter-sweet twist at the end. Check out the trailer:

Don’t forget to book tickets here.

Whilst we’re at the Chesil Theatre, the 10×10 Playwriting Competition is open for submissions until 30 March.  The theme is Hidden Worlds.  Ten plays will be selected for performances at the 10×10 New Writing Festival to be held in October 2018. The aim of 10×10 is to discover, promote and produce the very best new writing of ten-minute plays. 10×10 has provided a platform for playwrights and played a small but significant role in their continuing successes. For more details and to download the submission form, visit the website here.

Finally, we recommend a trip to Winchester College to hear the Winchester Symphony Orchestra and pianist Ivana Gavric on 24 March, 7.30pm conducted by Nicholas Wilks. The programme includes Jean Sibelius – Finlandia, The Swan of Tuonela, Lemminkainen’s Return and En Saga. Felix Mendelssohn – Piano Concerto no. 1 and Johannes Brahms – Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn.

We’ll be bringing you more updates throughout the month @Win_Guide.  Have a fun month, one and all.

Win Guide to August

It’s definitely summer in Winchester, despite what the weather might have us believe.  Let’s see what’s on offer this month:

Cult Screens are back this summer with some “luxurious” outdoor cinema treats in Cathedral Close. Tickets are priced according to the type of al fresco seating you would like.  There are food and drink options as well, including craft beers from independent breweries, superb wines, cocktails, fresh popcorn and fantastic food at most venues. You can also bring your own food.  For more details, visit the website here.

3 August – Back to the Future, 7pm for 8.45pm start
4 August – Rogue One, 7pm for 8.45pm start
5 August – Mama Mia, 7pm for 8.45pm start.

If you venture out of the city, the Wickham Festival celebrates its 10th birthday this year, 3-6 August, with a fabulous line-up including  KT Tunstall, 10CC, The Levellers, Seth Lakeman and many more. Rated one of Britain’s best boutique and family friendly festivals by the Guardian, it’s well worth a visit.   Camping tickets have sold out now, but there are still day and weekend tickets available.  To find out more, visit the festival website here. Elsewhere, the Boomtown Fair is back at the Matterley Bowl, 10 – 13 August.  Chapter 9 acts include M.I.A, Cypress Hill, AJ Tracey, Alix Perez and more.

We’re rather intrigued by the Cheese and Chilli Festival taking place at the North Walls Recreation Ground, behind the Leisure centre, 19-20 August. Activities include; Live Music, Motorbike, Quad and Mountain Bike Stunt Shows from the amazing Jez Avery, Falconry display, Magic Shows, Punch & Judy, Inflatables, a Chilli Eating Competition, Real Ale and Real Cider Bars, Craft Tent, Sand Art, Ballon Modelling, Wine Tastings, Cooking Demonstrations, Chilli Presentations, not to mention all the amazing produce and crafts for sale at the show. For a full schedule of activities, visit the website. Children 16 and under get free entry and tickets are cheaper if you purchase them in advance.

Aside from running its theatre workships for young people this summer, the Theatre Royal will be presenting local youth theatre company RicNic’s West Side Story, 23-26 August.  Watch the Jets and the Sharks battle it out in Bernstein’s much-loved musical. For more information or to book tickets, visit the website here.

There are a couple of drinks events of note this month.  The Hambledon Vineyard is hosting its wine festival 6 August, 11am -4pm. Tickets are £10 and available to book here. The Whiskey Affair is taking place at the Guildhall on 26 August, with two sessions running 1-5pm and 7-11pm.   There will be Scotch, Bourbon, Worldwide Whiskey and Cocktails to try out with some live entertainment, a photo-booth and food available to buy.  For more details visit the website.

We’ll be bringing you a preview feature on the September Heritage Open Days later in the month.  And don’t forget the Littleton and Harestock Show taking place Saturday 2 September at the Littleton Recreation ground, with gates opening at 11am. It’s a must if you are looking for a traditional village fete, a part of the village life since 1921!

Meanwhile, keep an eye on twitter @Win_Guide for more tips on what’s on in August. Have a wonderful summer, whatever the weather…

Win Guide to June

Summer is here at last, and Winchester will not disappoint.  Hold on to your summer hats, it’s going to be a busy June:

WheatusRemember the band Wheatus?  Take a trip into some nineties nostalgia at the start of the month on 1 June with a chance to see them live at the Winchester Guildhall.  Tickets are available to book online and the show is advertised for 14+ years old. It’s also a Pin Drop Comedy double edition at the Guildhall this month.  The regular Pin Drop open-mic night will take place on Thursday 8 June from 8pm, with free entry and the Wintonian bar open throughout.  And on the 15 June there will be a Summer Special event with comedy from Norman Lovett, the original Holly from BBC’s Red Dwarf and also an Edinburgh preview from David Ephgrave. Tickets are £10 and available to book here, although it is advised that the line-up may be subject to change and audiences must be 18+ years.

The Chesil Theatre will be presenting Shell Shock by Neil Warkin, adapted by Tim Marriott, in association with Sussex Armed Forces Network. Shell Shock is described as a stunning personal realisation of one soldier’s experience of learning to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The production is running 31 May until 3 June at 7.45pm.
After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tommy Atkins’ observations on the absurdities of every-day life on civvy street are frequently comic, occasionally absurd, sometimes violent but always poignant.

Festival season is in full force this month.  The brilliant Winchester Speakers festival takes place 3-4 June at the Discovery centre, with some big names on the roster.  Speakers include Kate Adie, Nick Clegg, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Tom Mangold, Peter Conradi, Iby Knill and Dan Cruickshank among others. For more details or to book talks, visit the website here.

It’s Ginchester Fete time.  Hosted by the fine connoisseurs at the Cabinet Rooms, this festival of gin will take place at the Great Hall.  Fittingly scheduled for the 10 June (World Gin Day), there will be two sessions available at 12pm or 3pm. Enjoy gin tasting and summer fete frivolities.  For full details or to book tickets, visit here.

You can follow this up with Winchestival, a day of music and comedy at the North Walls Recreation ground on 17 June. It’s billed as a family friendly festival in the heart of the city. On the main stage acts include Eliza and the Bear, Richard Morris, Josh Savage, Daughters of Davis, Sean McGowan and many more. In the comedy tent choose from Hal Cruttenden, Rob Deering, Jen Brister, Tom Deacon and more. Tickets are available here.

Hat Fair is here! Starting Friday 30 June and running until Sunday 2nd July, Hat Fair is the UK’s longest running festival of outdoor arts and takes place across the historic city of Winchester. The event is free although donations in hats are welcome. Events take place across the city on Friday and Saturday with a day of food and finales at Oram’s Arbour on Sunday. For the full bumper line-up, visit the website here.

Dulwich Opera Company is returning to St Paul’s Church with a production of Carmen on Thursday 29 June.  The Pilgrims’ school Chamber Choir will also be participating in this event.  Showcasing some emerging professional artists, this is an excellent opportunity to experience intimate opera on your doorstep.  Tickets are available here.

Plenty to enjoy in June and we’ll be bringing you more updates on Twitter @Win_Guide

Win Guide to May

Welcome to May, one and all.  Here’s our guide to what’s on in Winchester this month:

For photography fans, look no further than the Discovery Centre for the opportunity to view this year’s finalists for the Winchester Photographic Societies Annual Exhibition, at the City Space.  The event is free and donations are welcome.  The event is open until the 7 May, Monday – Sunday and times are available here.

The beautiful Ballet Black will be performing a Triple Bill at the Theatre Royal, 3 May.  Now in its 16th year, Ballet Black’s company of British and international dancers of black and Asian descent has been delighting a new generation of dance fans with its “dash, daring and joie de vivre” ( The Guardian). This is a company not to miss.

Sparsholt College, Countryside Day, 21st May, 2016

Sparsholt College will be hosting their annual Countryside day, 13-14 May.  The Taste of Hampshire Food Festival will run alongside the Countryside day stalls, rides, animal displays and live music.  The medal winning Horticulture Team will present a mock build of their entry to the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show – an exciting opportunity to see this wonderful garden ahead of the prestigious show. Parking is available onsite, disabled access and an early bird discount.  For more details and to find out about booking tickets, visit here.

Little people might be interested in visiting the Theatre Royal to see David Walliams’ ‘The First Hippo on the Moon’. The production has been adapted for the stage by acclaimed award winning theatre company Les Petits, sister company to Les Enfants Terribles so this should be a real treat for young space and theatre fans.  Tickets and times are available a the Theatre’s website here and the show is running between 25 – 28 May.

For adult theatre fans, don’t forget to visit the Chesil Theatre later this month for After Electra by April de Angelis, directed by Peter Andrews.  Running 20 – 27 May at 7.45pm,  this is a moving black comedy that re-imagines the meaning of family. April de Angelis’ After Electra premiered at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth in April 2015 before playing at the Tricycle Theatre in London. You can book tickets from the Chesil Theatre here.

SHOCC Dances will be bringing a Ceilidh to the Winchester Guildhall, 20 May.  Doors open at 19:15 for a 19:30 start and the dance finishes at 23:30. There will be a licensed bar serving real ale. Tickets are available here. Whilst you are at the Guildhall, The House of Gin Festival returns 27 May, with a brand new format in association with Winchester Distillery, Twisted Nose Gin and Fentimans / East Imperial tonic and mixers. The festival will have three Gin bars showcasing a wide range of Small Batch and Award Winning Gins. There will also be the Copperhead Gin and De Borgen Cocktail Bar. A £7.00 ticket entry includes your complimentary ‘House of Gin’ Rocking Glass for you to keep and use at the event. For more details, visit the Guildhall website here.

Gin connoisseurs may also enjoy the Spring Gin Dinner at the Running Horse.  Gin cocktails to taste, spring dishes to enjoy and lots of fun to be had. The evening will start from 7.30pm where you will be welcomed with a gin tipple with three delicious courses soon to follow. £33.50 per person, Saturday 27th May and you can book here.

Enjoy the spring offerings and we’ll be bringing you more tweets and tips @Win_Guide throughout the month.

Win Guide to March

Spring is springing! March is here and hopefully the sun will start to make an appearance to warm up the flowers that have started to bloom.

Let’s see how Winchester will be entertaining and amusing this month:

We're going on a bear huntWe’re Going On A Bear Hunt is playing at the Theatre Royal if you’d like to provide some storytelling adventure for little people. Running from 2 to 5 March, this adaptation of Michael Rosen’s hit book has just finished its West End run and has commenced an international tour. One to watch and please visit the Theatre Royal website for more details.  Alternatively, keep an eye out for David Almond’s Heaven Eyes, by Théâtre Sans Frontières, 6 March. The production was recommended by the British Theatre Guide as one of the Best Family Shows in the North East of 2014. If you miss these productions, fear not, for there will be a chance to see another West End hit adaptation, this time of The Tiger Who Came To Tea, 22 – 23 March.  The production is a musical play adapted and directed by David Wood, based on the celebrated book by Judith Kerr.  For more details, visit the Theatre Royal website.

Pin Drop Comedy will be hosting their monthly free open mic night on 2 March.  Doors open at 7.30pm and the bar is open throughout.  Some lucky Wintonians will be shimmying on down to the Guildhall on 4 March to enjoy the Magic of Motown. The event has sold out and will feature classic covers of the Supremes, Temptations, Jackson 5, Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie and more. Whist we are at the Guildhall, there are still some tickets left for the Real Ale and Cider Festival, 17 – 18 March.  This event usually sells out so get booking here if you are keen.

For some fresh and live music, call into the Railway Tavern this month. Fighting Caravans, the alternative rock sextet from Leeds will be on stage 10 March.  Big Boy Bloater and The Limits will be bringing their “raucous” R&B to the city on 17 March, and there are many more exciting acts across different genres booked in throughout the month. For full listings and details visit the Railway website here. 

Swansea City Opera are in town at the Theatre Royal on 15 March, performing Lakmé by Léo Delibes in English.  This opera is best known for the ‘flower duet’, so this is a great chance to restore the oft used music to its original context.  Tickets, dates and times are available here.

The critically acclaimed Bristol Old Vic production of Owen Shears’ Pink Mist  will be staged at the Theatre Royal, 20 – 21 March.  Pink Mist tells the story of three young men deployed to Afghanistan. As the physical and psychological aftershocks of war take their toll on the loved ones they left behind, Arthur, Hads and Taff find their journey home is their greatest battle. Pink Mist was inspired by 30 interviews with returned servicemen and first staged in 2015. Watch the production trailer here and visit the website for more details.

Why not treat mum to an early mother’s day treat with a Ukulele Introductory Workshop at the Theatre Royal on Saturday 25 March.    No prior experience required just pick up the instrument which should be accessible and easy to learn.  Mother’s day is on Sunday 26 March so don’t forget flowers, chocolates, lunches and gifts for all those super mums in the city.

We’ll be bringing you more tips @Win_Guide throughout the month. Have a great month, one and all.

 

Win Guide to January

It’s a new year in the UK’s number one city. Here’s our guide to starting your 2017 in the finest Wintonian style:

1upThe Railway Inn has a weird and wonderful selection of events on offer to tempt city folk out this month.  The weekly free Poetry Platform runs on the first Tuesday of every month, Winchester’s longest serving poetry open mic. This month’s event is on 3 January at 8.30pm. Or for the gaming community, 1 Up Retro Video Gaming night is Winchester’s first pub-based retro video games event. From Master System to the Gamecube there will be classic games available every week, with tournaments and leader boards. 1 Up will run every Friday from 8.30pm, starting on Friday 6 January and entry is free. Hip Hop duo, Dr Syntax and Pete Cannon will be live on 20 January from 8.30pm.  For more details, visit the website here.

wsc-web-content-event-or-film-banner-splendiferous-science-2Winchester Science Centre will be hosting BBC Bitesize science presenter Jon Chase for a Splendiferous Science Weekend, 14 – 15 January.  Participants are invited to delve into the whoopsy waffling worlds of Roald Dahl, to make James and his Giant Peach fly or discover George and his marvelous medicine. The shows will run for an hour at 11am and 2pm, and booking is advised.  The Winchester Science Centre’s science experts will also be demonstrating their own favourite Roald Dahl themed science throughout the day so there’s plenty for young people and their adults to enjoy.  For more details, visit the Science Centre website here.

imageFancy taking up a new skill?  The Discovery Centre will be running a beginner’s workshop for budding Taxidermists on Saturday 21st January, 12-4pm.  Mabel Edwards will lead students through a practical session to create a life-like mount of a mouse.  To find out more or to book a place, visit the Discovery Centre website here.

platform-4Winchester’s Platform 4 will be previewing Invisible Music: Variations on a Theme, a new project at the Theatre Royal on 24 January with tickets available for free. The project is a sound-piece inspired by a series of interviews with Winchester’s lip reading group. Booking is advised, so visit the Theatre Royal website for details here.

For more theatre, img-5107-a4-landscape-website-crop_1_origwhy not book to see the Chesil Theatre’s  Blood and Ice by Liz Lochhead, 21 – 28 January, directed by Alec Walters. Four young romantics compete to write a spine-chilling tale. Two of them are England’s greatest poets, the third a rebellious runaway, and the fourth, free-thinker, Mary Shelley. For more details or to book tickets, visit the website here.

Winchester Cocktail WeekDon’t forget to book your tickets for next month’s Winchester Cocktail Week, 6-12 February.  Probably to most decadent way to fall off the wagon, 26 different cafes, bars, restaurants and shops in Winchester will be offering discounted signature cocktails and hosting special events and parties. For more details and to book, visit the Cabinet Rooms website here.

Wishing everyone a prosperous and happy 2017. We’ll be tweeting more updates @Win_Guide throughout the month.

Win Guide to December

winchester-christmas-marketIt’s beginning to feel a lot like December, and you can’t fail to notice the lights in the city or the selection boxes and crackers that are lining the supermarket aisles.  ‘Tis certainly the season, so let’s see what our fine city has to offer in the lead up to Christmas:

Start off the month with a ho, ho, ho! at the Pin Drop Comedy ‘Christmas Special’ standup comedy night, 1 December 8pm at the Wintonian Bar, Winchester Guildhall.  It is hosted by James Ross & Andrew Johnston.  Entry is free and you can enjoy your christmassy chuckles with some food and drink from the bar.

12-days-of-christmas-1000x500We’re getting excited about the Woolly Hat Fair Twelve Days of Christmas. Throughout December, in all sorts of surprising places, 12 free events will take place inspired by the cherished carol. Events will be free to attend and will take place at 5pm every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday between 3 – 22 December. Keep an eye on the Hat Fair website for details of locations. Day 1 is A Partridge in a Pear Tree at the Winchester School of Art Gallery, with work from Live Canon, a collaboration between fashion and textiles students from Winchester School of Art and with budding poets from Winchester’s local community.

cinderellaThe Theatre Royal panto will be Cinderella this year and it’s opening 6 December until 2 January.  Oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is! There are relaxed performances, family performances and this year the Theatre Royal is offering a Touch Tour at 10am on Sunday 11 December, one hour prior to the 11am performance offering an opportunity for those who are visually impaired to experience the stage, and feel the set and costumes to enhance their enjoyment of the show. For more details and to book tickets, visit the theatre website here.

santa-runChristmas is a time for giving and there are some worthwhile charitable events taking place this month.  The annual Naomi House and Jacksplace Santa Run will be held on 3 December. Starting at the Winchester Guildhall, the 5k will run through the city from 9.30am with details available here. There’s a Charity Christmas Concert at the Discovery Centre, 9 December at 7.30pm. Winchester Fusion Choir will be singing in aid of Winchester Fusion Choir presents a concert in aid of Winchester Homestart , Winchester Youth Counselling and Winchester Friends of the Family. Tickets are available to book online here.

twilight-tower-tour-2015Winchester Cathedral will be offering their Twilight Tower Tours from 3.30pm lasting 90 minutes on various dates until 17 December.  There will be mulled wine and mince pies after the tour and it’s a fantastic way to see views across the city, Christmas market and ice-rink.  It is a climb, so the Cathedral advise sensible clothing and footwear and the event is not suitable for young children or those with walking or breathing difficulties. For dates and booking details, visit the website here. Details of the Christmas services at the Cathedral are available here including the Carol services and Midnight Eucharist.

city-museum-christmas-quizzes-robinWinchester City Museum will be hosting a festive family quiz for super sleuths.  Entry is free and there will be a tasty prize at the end (donations are welcome).  Why not follow this up with a trip to Santa’s Grotto at the Tourist Information Centre.  As this is his busy period, he’ll only be in on Saturday’s and booking is recommended. For more details, visit the website here.

Cornflowers window displayThere are some fabulous opportunities for Christmas shopping in Winchester.  The Cathedral Christmas Market cabins and ice-rink are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, a seasonal staple for a sensory trip into the spirit.  Don’t forget to stroll to Kingsgate Village for Kingsgate Books & Prints, Cornflowers Gift Shop, P&G Wells Booksellers or Kingsgate Wine and Provisions. And there are many more hidden boutiques or purveyors of luxury items so get some walking boots and knitwear on. The Square has been described by the Telegraph as “the beating heart of chic Winchester”. Cadogan & Co has certainly earned this reputation. Featured in Vogue’s 100 best shopping destinations outside London, it’s a treasure trove of couture, sumptuous service and the perfect spot for those wanting to enjoy the act of trying and buying clothes.  If you linger in the Square you could find some specialist kitchenware at Dinghams. Chococo is a must for edible gifts, and we urge you to stop off for a hot chocolate whilst there. If you want pure vintage, climb up the hill to Stardust Years for authentic ladies fashion and accessories.

Remember, Winchester is so good at Christmas it has a website dedicated to it and you can download a handy guide here. We’ll be bringing you more seasonal tips throughout the month @Win_Guide. Enjoy, city folk, and we’ll see you next month for some new year’s resolutions!

Win Guide to November

The city is treating us to a display of fiery reds and golden browns so dig out your knitwear, wrap up warm and read about what Winchester has to offer this month.

wot-no-fishThere’s a chance to see some great story telling at the Theatre Royal on the 4 November in the form of Wot? No Fish! In 1926 shoemaker Ab Solomons drew a doodle on the wage-packet he gave to his wife Celie. Throughout their marriage, right up until 1982, Ab developed his art, drawing a wage-packet picture every week for Celie.  One of Lyn Gardener’s top ten shows of 2014, this is a great night at the theatre. We saw it a the BAC and can thoroughly recommend!

Winchester Bonfire and FireworksRemember, remember, the fifth of November.  This year, the 58th annual Winchester Round Table Bonfire & Fireworks event takes place on Saturday 5 November.  Around 20,000 people will take to the streets for the torchlight procession around the city, culminating in an impressive fireworks display at the River Park Leisure Centre recreation ground.  Tickets are available to buy online now and money raised will go to charities and good causes in Winchester.

Winchester Short Film Festival

Now in its fifth year, the Winchester Short Film festival runs 4 – 12 November. Promoting emerging and seasoned talent in film-making, the festival will present a selection of films from the WSFF 2016 competition in a range of venues across the city including the Railway Inn and the Hampshire Records Office. For a full programme, or to book tickets, visit the festival website here. Our wonderful site sponsors Dutton Gregory have also kindly sponsored the WSFF festival too, a really supportive business in this fine city.

happiness-project-270x270For more culture, visit the Theatre Royal on the 10 November for the chance to see the Happiness Project. Best known in the UK for her productions for Rambert, Northern Ballet and HeadSpaceDance, international dance artist Didy Veldman launches her own company Umanoove with a choreographic investigation of western society’s endless search for fulfilment. For more details or to book tickets, visit the Theatre Royal website here.

Here’s the trailer:

Winchester Wine FestivalWhat better way to warm up the season with the Winchester Wine Festival.  It’s a chance to sample a selection of wines, curated by Winchester’s own BBC1 masters of wine, Susie Barrie and Peter Richards. There’s also the chance to stock up for Christmas or attend specialist masterclasses.  Tickets are £30 per person and can be bought online here.

Winchester Christmas Market

And finally, the crisper weather can mean only one thing – it’s time to get festive.  The Christmas lights will be switched on at the Broadway on 17 November.  Events will start at 4pm.  Winchester really knows how to do Christmas.  There’s a website dedicated to it wth a handy guide to dates and events available here. The famous Winchester Christmas market in Cathedral Close opens 18 November – 20 December boasts its open-air ice rink, which is a suitably festive family trip out (20 November 2014 to 4 January). For those who are less Torvill and Dean, more mulled wine and stollen, there are plenty of other festive distractions on offer in the beautifully lit Germanic fairytale cabins, including holiday food and Christmas gifts.

Enjoy, Wintonians, and we’ll bring you updates throughout the month @Win_Guide.