Tag Archives: Discovery Centre

Win Guide to Half term

It’s half term in Winchester and time for some entertainment ideas. Here’s a Win Guide to what this week has on offer for families:

It’s all gone Boo at the Zoo. That Zoo of course is Marwell, where a resident wizard Lowedalf will be assisting aspiring flyers to earn their Level 3 broomstick license. Sessions last 20 minutes and will be taking place on the front lawn of Marwell Hall. For more information about this and other special events, as well as details about admission prices, visit the website here.

The Winchester Science Centre will be Firework and Fairground themed for half term week. What gives fireworks their different colours? Why do they go whizz and bang? Explosive live science shows will run hourly from 11:00am until 15:00pm. Visitors are invited to create fairground rides from recycled materials in the inventors studios. The week will finish with a big flourish on Friday 26 at 5pm in the form of a sing-a-long screening of The Greatest Showman in the  planetarium. It will be a relaxed screening for younger viewers and costs £2 if you have paid to visit the centre, or £5 if you just want to sing like you’re Keala Settle or Hugh Jackman.

There’s a lot of entertainment on offer at the Theatre Royal this half term.  Pigtails Productions, Polka Theatre and Oxford Playhouse present How to Hide a Lion based on the story by Helen Stephens, 22 – 23 October. Iris embarks on a mission to squash her new friend into a variety of sneaky tight spots as the misinformed town folk try and track him down. Suitable for viewers 3 years and upwards. Check out the trailer here:

Young Theatre Royal is offering a musical theatre workshop, Sing it in A Day for children aged 8 to 18 years on 24 October.  All abilities are welcome.

Milkshake! Live arrives at the Theatre Royal on 25 October, 11.30am and 2.30pm. Starring Milkshake! favourites; Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Shimmer & Shine, Pip from Pip Ahoy!, Winnie and Wilbur, Wissper, Milkshake’s very own Milkshake! Monkey and two Milkshake! presenters, this all singing, all dancing, musical masterpiece, will take audiences on a journey through the world’s favourite fairy tales. And just in case all those celebrity character names didn’t give you a flavour, here’s a trailer:

Time-travelling magicians Morgan & West return to the stage with a marvellous magic show full of crazy capers for the young, old and everyone in-between! Morgan & West: More Magic for Kids is recommended for children aged 5 years + but all are welcome. And you can round a week of family theatre off with the 45th Anniversary of Pam Adams’ best selling book There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.  It’s the perfect treat for anyone aged 2 to 102. For more details or to book tickets, visit the Theatre Royal website here.

The Discovery Centre is offering some Gruffalo storytelling and craft sessions all week. Half term is a great time to get down to the library. On 20 & 27 October, join the Let’s go! Construction Club for all budding lego builders aged 5 years and over. Duplo and colouring will be available for younger construction fun seekers. Nick Cope will be performing his family concert on 27 October at 10.30am. Nick has over 20 years of experience in music, including international success as lead singer and songwriter with The Candyskins in the 1990s. He now writes and records music for families. Tickets are £6 and available to book online here.

Join the #SpookyWinch Winnie the Witch word search trail around the city organised by Winchester Bid. Pick up your trail from the Winchester Tourist Information desk or the Discovery Centre, or download one here.

Winchester Cathedral is offering a Family Stained Glass trail this half term. Pick up a trail from the entrance desk and discover the beautiful shimmering stained glass that can be found around the Cathedral. Finish up at the craft table where you can create your own ‘faux’ stained glass window. Children under 16 go free but must be accompanied by an adult. For more details and times, visit the Cathedral website here.

Visit Winchester City Mill for the Hansel and Gretel trail. Things are getting spooky with the tale of Hansel and Gretel and their battle with the Wicked Witch. Explore the Mill  to spot the trail of hidden breadcrumbs that Hansel has left. Use these to solve the cryptogram and lead you to the Wicked Witch’s cottage where there might be something sweet to take away. There will also be some Halloween pumpkin carving, 23 & 25 October from 11am – 3pm. Don’t forget to bring a pumpkin! Mike Rogers will be telling spooky stories on Friday 26 October. For more details, times and prices, visit the mill website here.

We’ll be bringing you more half term tips on Twitter @Win_Guide. Enjoy, one and all!

Win Guide to Easter

king_alfred_perfectEaster greetings, “practically perfect” Wintonians.  Our secret is out, Winchester has been recognised by the Sunday Times as the number one place to live in Britain.  We are an “historic, cultured, foodie city”, with a strong sense of community, great restaurants and schools. With this extra spring in our step, here’s our Winchester guide to what’s on this Easter.

Chococo Chococo milk chocolate C181 robot eggLooking to buy THE egg?  Chococo’s C181 Chocholate Robot Egg has been featured in the BBC Good Food 2016 great taste test. Alternatively, the Milk chocolate Heavenly Honeycombe Easter Egg has been featured in Hello Magazine’s ‘Ultimate Easter Egg & chocolates gift guide’. And just to make the dilemma a little more perplexing, the Studded milk chocolate Butterfly Egg has been featured in Great British Chefs – ‘The best chocolate Easter eggs for 2016‘ and the Woman & Home’s Easter Collection 2016. 

Easter BrioThe Easter bunny hop returns over the Easter weekend.  Pick up a trail sheet from the Tourist Information Centre or from Chococo and search the city for egg-shaped clues in order to crack the bunny hop clue. Participating locations include Chococo, The Entertainer, Childhood’s Dream, Winchester Discovery Centre, The Old Fashioned Sweetie Shop and Creative Crafts.  Aside from the trail there will be Montezuma’s goody bags (while stocks last) and a Brio Play Event in The Brooks shopping centre offering children the chance to play with wooden railways 31st March – 2nd April. Watch out too for some singing Eggs on Legs and Egg Decoration on Saturday 26th March 10am – 4pm. Finish the trail at Chococo to claim an Easter treat whilst entering a draw for the chance to win a celebrated Chocolate Dinosaur egg.

National Trust Cadbury's Egg HuntWinchester’s Museums also have some Easter activities planned for some egg-ducational bunny and chick related activities.  The Westgate Museum will be holding an Easter spotter quiz throughout the easter holidays.  There will be some bunnies hiding throughout the museum and children can win a small tasty prize if they spot them all.  The museum is open 10am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday and 12pm – 5pm on Sundays. The Gurkha Museum will be offering an Easter chick hunt with a treat for explorers and normal admission fees apply. Winchester City Mill will be offering a Cadbury’s Easter egg hunt with clues hidden around the 17th-century working corn mill, part of a UK National Trust Cadbury’s egg hunt.

Marwell egg huntFor egg-splorers willing to travel that little bit further, Hinton Ampner will be inviting young Indiana Jones’s to hunt for giant eggs in the grounds with a Cadbury’s Egg head as their egg-grail.  There will be free face painting on offer over the easter weekend too. Marwell Zoo is advertising its Wild Egg Hunt for a chance to meet the Easter Bunny in his burrow and enjoy a free chocolate egg. Again, normal admission fees apply.

Cathedral Easter Buscuits
Cathedral Easter Buscuits

For a guide to Easter holy week at Winchester Cathedral, please visit here. Aside from the services on offer, the Cathedral have also hidden ten giant eggs for ‘eggspert’ egg hunters to find, with a chocolate prize to collect from the gift shop at the end.  The trail is available during normal visitor opening hours, Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 5pm and on Sunday 12.30pm – 3pm. Cathedral entry fees apply. Free for annual pass holders (£7.50 adult annual pass, free entry for children under 16 visiting with family). The Cathedral refectory will be offering a ‘drop-in’ easter biscuit decorating session, Sat 26, Sun 27, Mon 28 and Sat 2 and Sun 3 Apr. There is no need to book in advance with a suggested donation of £1 offering exploring adults the chance to sit down with a cup of something whilst the sugar-seekers get creative.

Henry-VFor some theatrical tonic to relieve the easter overload, and while you are visiting the Cathedral, don’t forget to book your tickets to see Antic Disposition’s Henry V by William Shakespeare on 18 April at 7.30pm.  The play marks both the centenary of the First World War and the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.

Travels with my AuntFor another evening of entertainment, book tickets to see Creative Cow’s Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene, adapted by Giles Haverga at the Theatre Royal.  The production, directed by Amanda Knott, takes us on a journey with Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager with a penchant for dahlias, in a madcap dash around the world. Our Win Guide editor will be bringing you some more details soon on the production, running 28 March – 2nd April.

Enjoy the bountiful easter experiences our number one city has to offer, city folk, and stock up on toothpaste.

Win Guide to March

March is here signalling the welcome departure of winter and the eagerly anticipated arrival of spring. Expect festivities aplenty in the lead up to Easter in Winchester this month:

Women GOLiveDonald Hutera has curated Women GOlive at the Discovery Centre as part of the Theatre Royal Winchester’s programme on Thursday 10 March at 7.45pm, with an exciting roster of artists including Avatara AyusoSusan KempsterSarah KentAlice LabantGloria Sanvicente Amor and Lorna V. Tickets are available to book online here.

Tiff Stevenson
Tiff Stevenson – Madman

Why not go for the double on the 11 March and head back to the Discovery Centre for comedian Tiffany Stevenson’s Madman Tour.  The show was one of the best reviewed at the Edinburgh Festival 2015 receiving ten 4* and 5* reviews. Stevenson has appeared on Mock the Week, Drunk History, The Apprentice: You’re Fired and People Just Do Nothing or heard on Radio 4 Extra, 7 Day Saturday, Woman’s Hour and BBC Radio Scotland. Tickets are available here and the show starts at 8pm.

Round and round the gardenFor a thoroughly entertaining week, don’t forget to book tickets to Talking Scarlet’s production of Round and Round the Garden by Alan Ayckbourn, the master of comic relationship drama.  Norman is intent on making all the women in his life happy. Without considering the repercussions, he simultaneously attempts to seduce his sister-in-law Annie, charm his brother’s wife Sarah and still keep his own wife Ruth happy.  Starring Natasha Gray and Kevin Pallister from Emmerdale and showing at the Theatre Royal 7-12 March at 7.30pm.  Tickets are available here.

Juno and PaycockSean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock opens at the Chesil Theatre on 12 March running until 19 March, directed by Cecily O’Neil.  The Boyle family is struggling for survival in a Dublin tenement room during the Irish Civil War. “Captain” Jack Boyle – the “peacock” of the title – spends his time avoiding work and drinking with his sidekick, Joxer, while his wife, Juno, tries to keep her family together. For more information and booking details, visit the Chesil Theatre website.

Winchester Cathedral Modern Art Tours
Winchester Cathedral Modern Art Tours

Winchester Cathedral has introduced its inaugural Modern Art tour on Saturday 12 March, to guide visitors through the building’s rich art objects, including works by internationally acclaimed artists Peter Eugene Ball, Cecil Collins, Eric Gill, Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth and Justin Knowles, as well as renowned local artists Sophie Hacker, Tim Harrisson, Alice Kettle, Tracey Sheppard and many more.  Tickets are available from the Cathedral Box Office, priced at £12.50.

Vintage ParadeIt’s the Easter Vintage & Makers Fayre on Sunday 13 March at the Guildhall, Winchester’s biggest indoor celebration of the charm of 1930s-1980s vintage fashions and paraphernalia. Visitors can expect an incredible team of vintage traders offering fashion, accessories, collectibles, textiles and housewares – a good place to visit for an alternative to chocolate easter gifts.  Entrance is £2 and children under 12 are free. For more details visit the website here.

Simon CallowThe great Simon Callow will be presenting the magnificently interesting Orson Welles at the Theatre Royal on Thursday 17 March.  This is part of Callow’s tour of his book, Orson Welles: One-Man Band.  Callow describes Welles as “one of the most completely, improbably, extravagant human beings who ever lived.” He attempts to “make the reader feel as if they’d met him”. To book tickets for a deliciously intimate evening, visit here.

Welcome to Ginchester
Welcome to Ginchester

The Winchester Real Ale and Cider Festival at the Guildhall has completely sold out 18-19 March.  If you managed to book a ticket, have a wonderful time and enjoy the beer.  If you missed out this year, why not try Welcome to Ginchester at the Green Man Pub on 18 March 7-9pm. Organisers the Cabinet Rooms have teamed up with Winchester Distillery’s Paul Bowler for an expert introduction to the world of gin.  Do book in advance to avoid disappointment as places are limited.

Plenty to amuse Wintonians so far we think and we’ll be bringing you an egg-citing Win Guide to Easter later this month…

Discover Women GOlive in Winchester

Women GOLiveby WinGuide editor Donald Hutera
They’re fabulous but flawed, fertile…or is it febrile? Maybe a little freaky or finicky, and sometimes fraught or fragile, too, but frankly funny and fantastic. 
And they’re all female.
Under the auspices of Theatre Royal Winchester, veteran dance writer, theatre-goer and arts-loving journalist Donald (The Times) Hutera hosts an evening of performances on March 10, 2016 in celebration of International Women’s Day. Featuring a handful of artists, a selection of small but stimulating performances will occur just across the road in the cosy auditorium of the Discovery Centre from 7.45pm
GOlive was born in Kentish Town in 2013 as a month-long, dance-based performance festival,  As it has evolved it has become a creative arts laboratory for a wide range of women and men who are interested in taking risks, making discoveries and generating fresh thoughts and serious fun. GOlive landed in Winchester on two previous occasions: in 2014 by special invitation to the University of Winchester and, the following year, to the venerable and welcoming Chesil Theatre. It has since visited Oxford where, having been hosted for four nights by Oxford Playhouse in the Burton Taylor Studio last summer, it will return this coming July 13-16 at The Old Fire station. There are also plans to venture further afield in the UK and abroad. 
Specialising in short, sharp and surprising works in an intimate setting, Women GOlive – as I’ve dubbed these specifically all-female evenings – offers up an assortment of global flavours from a uniquely female perspective. This one-night mini-festival at the Discovery Centre is a chance to spend time in the company of a handful of inventive, enquiring and highly entertaining women who span several generations. 
I didn’t plan on becoming the curatorial version of a feminist brother or, as I now call myself with tongue only partly in cheek, a ‘fembro.’ It came about quite organically when I first started selecting and presenting live work at the invitation of GOlive co-founder and producer George Sallis. Most of the submissions we received were from female choreographers, performers and makers. As GOlive has developed it’s become increasingly obvious that many of the plum opportunities elsewhere in the dance sector continue to be offered to men. Meanwhile there are boatloads of women who, for numerous and rather complicated reasons, are being overlooked or given short shrift. I don’t claim that Women GOlive will solve all or, indeed, any of the bigger socio-economic issues. But what it can do is shine a light on some truly gifted people and, in its own modest yet vital way, maybe help redress the balance. 
The roster of artists taking part in the show at the Discovery Centre on March 10 features many GOlive mainstays. They include, in alphabetical order:
*Avatara Ayuso, originally from Spain, is currently a key member of Shobana Jeyasingh’s eponymous dance company. She’s also an authentic force in dance in her own right. Avatara is creating a new work abroad this month, but in Winchester she’ll be represented by a deliciously tasty film called ‘Dance, Pumpkin, Dance!’
*Susan Kempster hails from Australia but spent decades based in Madrid before settling in the UK. Often a figure of tragicomic daring, in Winchester she’s presenting a beautifully low-key solo called My Own Private Movie which involves gentle and revealing audience participation.  
*Sarah Kent, formerly Time Out’s visual arts editor, has since she left that magazine to become a defiantly funny improviser. This brainy, lithe and witty septuagenarian is keen to share a scintillating slant on the world and her place in it. 
*Alice Labant is petite but her onstage presence carries a potentially titanic impact. Not yet a household name, this young French woman’s solo Je m’appelle Reviens is set to a whirring machine soundtrack that we plan to experimentally extend with the help of a small ‘orchestra’ of household appliances. 
*Gloria Sanvicente Amor, also from Spain, is a multi-disciplinary performer who exudes an aura of sensual, possibly dangerous mystery and yet she can be a clown, too. 
*Lorna V, of Greek-Cypriot heritage and another Time Out alumnus, is a self-scripted performer with a blazing personality. We’re proud that GOlive has kick-started this savvy writer’s acting career. In Winchester she’ll introduces audience to Aliki, the incomparable Greco-Argentine dance diva to the stars.
Altogether I’m hugely pleased that GOlive has attracted a group of women so varied in terms of their backgrounds, skills and temperaments, and so engaging. It’s going to be a fun night.

Peta Lily: The transformative power of Imperfection

Interview by Winchester Guide editor Donald Hutera
Peta LilyPeta Lily is one of my favourite performers, but also one whom I’ve known personally as both colleague and friend for thirty years. I’ve happily presented several of her self-written solo shows, including Invocation and her Macbeth-inspired The Porter’s Daughter, as part of the various GOlive Dance & Performance Festival programmes I’ve been curating since 2013. Her work is funny, serious and wise, and it has a smart physical edge. 
Peta is not just a fine writer and actor but also an experienced teacher, mentor and director. Her good-natured directness and honesty as a performer and a person have always appealed to me. Much to Peta’s credit, she’d probably be the first to admit that she’s full of Imperfection.
Yup, I’ve used that last word in the singular, and with good reason. It happens to be the title of a book of Peta’s poetry which, in turn, is also the major source material for her solo show of the same name. 
ImperfectionAudiences in the Winchester area can drink in Peta Lily’s Imperfection in all its intimate glory at the Discovery Centre, where it’s being presented under the auspices of the Theatre Royal Winchester on February 11 at 7.45pm. 
I threw a few questions in Peta’s direction, via email, about herself and the show. With any luck her answers will whet your appetite enough to go see the woman in action.  
An image-inspired writer…
Donald: Did writing the poems come first and then the idea to perform them, or…?
Peta: A couple of things happened but I’m not sure in which order. 
I’ve been capturing images of ‘lost corners’ using my iPhone – images of damaged or drear (or bright) things that have a strange, compelling vibrancy and an almost totemic quality, or so I felt. And the people I’ve shared them with seemed to find them interesting too.
I’m a big believer in the accidental. If I look back on my career path, there were pivotal points that were completely random but had huge repercussions and yielded large gains. So ‘following the accidents’ intuitively became the backbone of my photography practice. A friend suggested I write about it, and from that came the titular poem Imperfection, which begins: ‘the broken, the chipped, the darkly lit…’
Also I love my local library. I go there sometimes in search of particular things and sometimes just walk to the shelves and see what jumps out at me. I picked up a copy of CharlesBukowski’s New Poems Book 4 that way. I just loved his honest, muscular voice and relentless recording of whatever was to hand. Waiting, uncertainty, resentment…he even makes depression looks like a thing of spiritual beauty. Plus he was writing poems about the process of writing poems himself, and the process of calibrating one’s own success. (Actually that’s not true, because he always has his own unquenchable value of his work and his practice.) 
I also went to my library to read about Stevie Smith. After a youth where I wanted to taste a wider life as lived by the Bloomsbury Group, or Anais Nin, I now live a quiet life. Happily so. At moments lonely, but the Saturday and Sunday supplements tell me that loneliness is endemic now so at least I’m not alone…in feeling alone. 
I’d been writing a poem a week on various fractured corners of life for a while, and collected a bunch together to offer my director/dramaturg Di Sherlock (who directed Linda Marlowe in Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife). Di edited them, putting put in poems I wouldn’t have included and dropping others. ‘This is the art, death and alcohol show,’ she said. I’m no Bukowski, but I enjoy a glass of wine and at a certain point the Dionysus poem (‘Each night I meet with Dionysus/but I don’t meet him as I should…’) turned up – a nice follow-on from previous show Chastity Belt where I explored Diana/Artemis. There was a scratch showing at the Lost Theatre in Vauxhall, London of what was to become Imperfection, and an exhibition of the photographic images I’d been producing. People said they thought the images should be included in the show, and I made a short film of the images which now happens inside the show.
Opening up to risk… 
Donald: How is it for you to take an audience on this trip into your sensibility – what are the challenges and rewards?
Peta: I trust Di, having worked with her a number of times over the years. Also, since making my first autobiographic show Topless in 1999 I realised that risk can pay off. That if I open up and speak about awkward or strange things I’ve noticed, done or felt (things I may not say socially), then other people step forward after the show and tell me, or tell otheraudience members about things that have happened to them. 
It’s important when working with personal material to make sure you’ve ramped it to a universal perspective by going to the essence of the thing. By going to the most honest place, you can get the ludicrousness of something. By putting your hand up to your own faults there can be a strange pathos released (or so they tell me). One of the poems in this show is still quite a risk for me to perform – I didn’t really want it to go in. I was uneasy how people would ‘read’ it. But others have endorsed it. It seems they resonate with the sentiments, the predicaments. We are all imperfect. People get it.
Biographical obsessions…
Donald: Tell me about you…
Peta: Actress turned physical theatre performer. Occasional playwright. Mime-trained (in good company with the late Mr. David Bowie). Physical theatre and clown teacher, director, creative mentor and, um, poet? Photographer? A friend once used the word polymath – very nice of them. Someone quite close to me once called me a dilettante. Hey, I’m a suburban Aussie-born girl actually living in London – and making stuff!! Creativity! There’s a YouTube interview where the late Mr. Alan Rickman says ‘Theatre is (sort of) my religion’. Yeah. And then there’s magic, the way that Grayson Perry talks about it. You have to have your own magic, talismans, obsessions.
Not perfect…
Donald: Have you been writing all your life, essentially, and why do you do it? Is there a need involved, or…?
Peta: As a small girl I wanted to and tried to and did write. But felt a failure. There was no model for me apart from fairy stories – it wasn’t a literary household. Later a high school teacher included creative writing in the syllabus. And he made us read, too. When I first discovered Nin’s autobiographical writing I was really impacted by her showing what was under the skin – the actual stuff, not the presented self of formal memoirs by heroic men and women. Nin had secrets, flaws, obsessions, shortfalls. Not perfect.
Coda: a (mysterious) compulsion…
Donald: What about the images you capture – how’d you characterise that work in a nutshell?
Peta: I have a website for my photography, thank you for asking (www.petalilyphotography.com). People can follow me on Facebook too  ( as Peta Lily) where I post images that strike me as a record of the day, or as a kind of communication or gift to others (if that doesn’t sound too grandiose). On Instagram I am petalily and my by-line is ‘to the mysterious’. Ultimately everything is mysterious, even the banal – don’t you think? I’ve been trying to write about what my compulsion to photograph is about recently, and found myself writing about how in my solitary childhood, often in boring or unsatisfactory surroundings, I would go off into a kind of blank trance trying to find some meaning in what my surroundings were presenting me with… There may be no meaning, but if there was one wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was magical somehow? What is a compulsion anyway – when something grabs you, gets your attention, is ‘talking’ to you? It’s rude not to pay attention, no? 
I had a French boyfriend when I was seventeen and he got me to read Jean Genet. You couldn’t get much less suburban Australian than that, could you? Genet’s philosophy was to take things that were vilified (including himself) and elevate them. Something there, perhaps, in my wanting to honour the humble and transform the mundane.

Win Guide to January

January – the month of belt tightening and post-festive blues. Here are a few suggestions from the Win Guide to brighten the month:

Fugitive OrchestraTreat yourself to a meal at the Winchester Canteen on 12 January and you’ll be entertained whilst eating by the ‘Fugitive Orchestra’ described as a fusion of Alternative, Jazz-infused, Bluesy Hip-Pop, which draws inspiration from the likes of Paul Simon, Jeff Buckley, Elvis Costello, Kate Bush and many others. Music Set times are 7.15 – 8pm and 8.15pm- 9pm.

Cirque du Glow8-10 year olds are in for a treat by the sounds of it with Cirque du Glow at the Discovery Centre.  Creative Palaver have put together a programme over 10 weeks offering coaching in outdoor performance skills, circus skills, graffiti, costume making and much more.  All that sounds a bargain at £30 for 10 weeks.  Visit here for more details.

Fancy joining the Green Man Book Club?  A group meet and chat over a glass of something on the 1st Wednesday of every month at 7.45pm at, you’ve got it, the Green Man Pub on Southgate Street. Drop an email in advance to organisers, with full details available here.

Reindeer MonologuesGallows Productions return to the Theatre Royal with the Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode.  Definitely an adult comedy, put the festivities well and truly behind you with some reindeer rumours about the real North Pole.  Tickets are a tenner and performances are at 7.30pm on 19 & 20 January.

Sparsholt College will be holding a Lambing weekend on the 30 – 31 January. It’s a fun family event offering the chance to see the fluffy bundles of joy as they enter the world and also explore the college tractors and farm machinery, whilst having your face painted, riding a pony and enjoying a selection of food.  Visitors are warned to wrap up warm as it’s getting a bit wintry out there. Entry is £6 for Adults and £4 for children, or family tickets are available at £16 for 2 Adults and  2 Children, under 3’s are allowed in for free.

Bouncy Cathedral

It’s the first ever “Bouncy Cathedral” on 31 January in the nave at Winchester Cathedral, with giant games, puppets, drumming and a picnic area. The event will launch ‘Children’s Church’, a brand new Sunday school initiative for 4-11 year olds which will take place on Sundays during term-time.

Stay warm Winchester and enjoy the fun…

Win Guide to May

Oyez, oyez, oyez: it’s the May bank holiday, the Duchess of Cambridge has successfully given birth to a princess (fourth in line for succession) and we’re well on the way to Summer.

The Queen Inn
The Queen Inn

You can toast the royal birth and celebrate the long weekend at the Queen Inn on Kingsgate Road where they’re hosting the annual Mayday bank holiday Beer Festival, 1st – 4th May. With thirty-five beers from Dorset & Somerset, five ciders, a bbq and hog roast on offer and served in outdoor marquees in the spacious and award-winning garden, complete with fish pond, it’s well worth a visit. Plus families are welcome.

Thursday 7th May is the General & City Council Election day, so make sure you have your polling card at the ready. Here’s a guide from Winchester City Council.

Big Sleep Out 2015
Big Sleep Out 2015

On Friday 8th it’s the Big Sleep Out, a sponsored sleeping event in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral in aid of Trinity Winchester and Winchester Churches Nightshelter local homelessness charities. Registration is £10 per person, or groups of 4 or more can submit a team entry for £30 with a minimum of £100 sponsorship. Register online here. Live music, games and competitions will take place over the evening, and to which everyone is welcome to attend. It’ll be ‘Sleepers’ only from 10pm bedding down in the grounds of the magnificent building. The Big Sleep Out is open to people over 11 years of age, although any participant under 18 years of age require adult supervision. It’s also a strictly no-alcohol event. You can get involved in other ways too, by creating cardboard dens at home with the ‘Big Sleep In’ (please visit the website for more info) or with event partner’s Hotel Du Vin special ‘Sleep In’ rate. It’s all about raising awareness and lots of cash for an important local issue and the two fantastic charities trying to tackle it.

Sleeping Rough Photographic Exhibition by Joe Low
Sleeping Rough Photographic Exhibition by Joe Low

Also on at Winchester Cathedral until the 9th May is the evolving photographic exhibition ‘Sleeping Rough’ by Joe Low, a presentation of some of the empty spaces where the homeless people in Winchester sleep. Over the journey of the exhibition additional photographs are being introduced. Some homeless people have agreed to be photographed with their most treasured possessions.

Alresford Watercress Festival
Alresford Watercress Festival

In celebration of a famous local crop, food fans will find a worthwhile reward if they travel to Alresford on 17th May for the Watercress Festival. The Hampshire Farmers Market will be taking place too, alongside local chefs showcasing the many uses of watercress in mouth watering dishes.  There will also be arts, crafts and household goods on offer in a street market festival atmosphere.

Teddy Bear Parachute event
Teddy Bear Parachute event

To carry on the fundraising activities this month, children are being invited during the half-term holiday to toss their teddies off the roof of Winchester Cathedral between 10.30am and 1.30pm on 29th May.  Parachutes will be provided, and a minimum sponsorship guide of £25 per teddy has been suggested.  Funds raised will be donated to Action for Children. Once they’ve safely landed, the bruised bears and their proud owners can explore the Cathedral grounds and participate in a teddy bears’ picnic. There’s a £5 registration fee per bear.

Boomtown Kidztown
Boomtown Kidztown

Boomtown’s Kidztown returns on the 26th – 27th May with a two-day event for local children and families to participate in a variety of free creative carnival workshops at The Discovery Centre. KidzTown will be working in partnership with Bassline Circus on giant costume-making and carnival dance activities. Workshop participants are invited to perform with the carnival on Sunday.  It’s suitable for 5-11 year olds and 11-16 year olds and their families.

Happy May, one and all, and please May-ke it a good one!

Ode To Autumn

Keats Walk leaflet, Winchester City Council
Keats Walk leaflet, Winchester City Council

It’s feeling a bit fresh outside, not to mention the cascading downpours of rain that edged their way into the ‘summer’ bank holiday. This can mean only one thing: summer is on its way out and autumn is making a comeback.  The good news is that Winchester knows how to do autumn. Keats made us famous for it with his Ode ‘To Autumn,’ composed whilst walking in Winchester as documented in a letter to J H Reynolds dated the 22nd of September, 1819: “How beautiful the season is now. How fine the air — a temperate sharpness about it… This struck me so much in my Sunday’s walk that I composed upon it.” ~ Poetical Works of John Keats, ed. H. Buxton Forman, Crowell publ. 1895. You can follow in Keats’ footsteps on this 2-mile walk in what the Telegraph describes as a “win-win stroll”.

There’s plenty going on in September to tempt city-folk out of the post-sunshine blues. Here’s a selection from the Win Guide

Winchester College War Cloister
Winchester College War Cloister

Presumably as a nod to Keats’ ‘seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness,’ Winchester is offering its inaugural Poetry Festival 12th-14th September.  Predominantly based at the Discovery Centre, but with events happening at the United Church (Jewry St) and Winchester College, the poetry festival will feature the likes of Patience Agbabi, David Constantine and Brian Patten, among many others. The Wilfred Owen Association is sponsoring a commemorative reading event in Winchester College War Cloister, in which Michael Longley is taking part. Fans of Owen will be delighted to hear they can follow this up by visiting the Theatre Royal for the Blackeyed Theatre tour of Stephen MacDonald’s celebrated ‘Not About Heroes’ 11-14th September.


NTlive Medea, National Theatre
NTlive Medea, National Theatre

The Theatre Royal is holding its Centenary Gala on 28th September at 7.30pm with an evening of variety and film.  The event is free, courtesy of the generous support of Lady Jennie Bland and the returning performers and creative team who will be offering their time voluntarily. Donations are welcome at the box office. And the National Theatre is coming to the Everyman cinema in Southgate Street on 4th September with the NTlive streaming of Euripides’ Medea, featuring Helen McCrory and directed by Carrie Cracknell.  If Greek infanticide tragedy isn’t your thing, NTlive will also be streaming the Young Vic’s fastest-selling production to date ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ later in the month on 16th September featuring Gillian Anderson and directed by Benedict Andrews. Win Guide editor Donald Hutera saw the latter show live in London last month and tells us it’s “a steamy and emotionally stinging sensation”!

SC4M Festival 2014
SC4M Festival 2014

To get you in an Americana mood don’t miss the SC4M 2014 Music Festival at the Railway Tavern on Sunday 7th September, 2-11pm.  The line-up includes Danny And The Champions Of The World,
 The Rails, 
The Travelling Band and 
Peter Bruntnell, with many more treats in store.

Be sure to catch the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition running at the Discovery Centre until 21st September.  And, if you’re inspired to get snapping yourself, the Winchester Photographic Society’s new season commences on the 2nd of September 2014.  One of the largest societies in the South, members meet on Tuesday evenings 7:30-10:00pm from September to May at the Performance Hall ( again in the Discovery Centre).

If you’re feeling in a back-to-school mind-set, why not take some French or Spanish classes with Language for Fun? Visit their free taster session in Hyde Parish Hall on 2nd September 8-9pm for a chance to try out a class and meet fellow students over a glass of vino or cup of coffee.

Winchester 100
Action Winchester 100

Finally, for those of you who’ve already doused yourselves in iced water and are still craving more action for charity, why not join the Winchester Memory Walk at the North Walls Recreation Ground on September 13th at 10am? The event is in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, and participants can choose between a one-mile walk around the park or a more challenging six-mile stretch; both are pushchair and wheelchair-friendly. There’s a Zumba warm-up and also post-walk live music, entertainment, homemade cakes, tea, coffee and games. Later in the month get pedaling with Winchester 100, in aid of Action Medical Research for Children. Taking place on 21st September, this event offers an organized opportunity to experience a ride in the New Forest that passes through three counties and a number of stunning hamlets.

Given all of the above, it’s obvious that there’s no dearth of splendid and sometimes blood-stirring activities to keep us busy as we make the gradual transition to cooler weather. Enjoy!