Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Win Guide to September

September is here, the summer holidays for some have come to an end but fear not, for Winchester is offering plenty to amuse and entertain us all this month.

Winchester Heritage Open Days

You have hopefully read our Heritage Open Days guide but just in case you missed it, don’t forget to visit some of the many free events on offer locally to celebrate our heritage, 7-10 September. Over the four days there will be more than 70 events: everything from guided walks and labyrinths to storytelling and river dipping for families, and gin and cider tastings for the over 18s. You can even make your own Medieval encaustic tile. Remember all events are free of charge although some you will need to pre-book as numbers are limited. There are also competitions including a chance to win one of the first Monopoly Winchester Edition games. For more details, visit the website here.

Pin Drop ComedyPin Drop Comedy will be hosting their monthly open mic night at the Wintonian Bar in the Guildhall, 7 September.  The bar is open throughout, so come down, relax and enjoy comedy straight from the street. Entry is FREE.

Later in the month look forward to the Winchester Jazz Festival. The festival runs 21st – 24th September with acts performing at various venues throughout the city.  Head along to the Guildhall on 22 September for an evening of jazz provided by a swinging band and try your hand at Lindy Hop, as instructed by dynamic duo Bic and Simone from The Lindy Club. Dance the night away or sit back and enjoy the music! Tickets are available here. For a full programme of festival events, visit the Winchester Jazz Festival website here.

The Theatre Royal has a number of treats on offer this month, including its Open Weekend, 16 – 17 September. The theatre is throwing open its doors for all the family to enjoy behind the scenes tours, theatre workshops and craft activities.  The event is FREE and you can drop in between 12 – 4pm each day.  Why not book tickets for ‘Austen Undone’ running throughout the open weekend, a promenade performance through the city presented by Natural Theatre Company.  For full details, visit the website here.

It’s the Michaelmas Fair at the Hospital of St Cross, 23 September from 9.30am – 4pm.  Medieval knights will be demonstrating their skills alongside falconry displays by Falconhigh display team and a static display of at least 12 birds of prey. There will be 20 craft stalls to be found in and around the beautiful buildings and grounds of The Hospital of St Cross. Refreshments are available and parking is free. Entrance is £3, or free for children 12 years and under.

You might visit the Chesil Theatre as part of the Winchester Heritage Open Days but if not, it’s worth looking out for Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, 16 – 23 September, directed by Tom Williams. Charles Condomine invites medium, Madame Arcati, to hold a séance at his home. The unintended consequences lead to a merry dance of mayhem, mischief and murder. Later in the month The Railway Plays offers a collection of eight short plays: an enticing smorgasbord of style, subject and theatrical approach, performed back-to-back in under 90-minutes. The plays have been written and directed by Nicholas Joseph, a playwright/director and senior lecturer at UoW. For more details or to book tickets, visit the Chesil Theatre website here.

Don’t forget to visit the Hampshire Harvest Festival, 30 September – 1 October, a fun packed family event celebrating local produce and farming. Activities include live music, children’s have-a-go activities, vintage tractors, falconry displays, farm animals, horse-drawn wagon rides, Hampshire Fare market, local beers and ciders and, new for this year, an afternoon tea tent offering wonderful cakes, scones, tea and even a glass of fizz. A special Evensong service celebrating harvest will take place in the Cathedral at 3.30pm on Sunday afternoon, all are welcome. There is also a Scarecrow competition with full details available here.

It really is a bumper September in Winchester so there’s no time for end of the summer blues.  We’ll be bringing you more updates on twitter @Win_Guide. Enjoy, one and all!

Win Guide to March

Lainston House
Lainston House

Ladies and gentlemen of Winchester, spring has nearly sprung! And it’s about time too.  According to the astronomical definition, the first official day of Spring in 2015 is on March 20th.  Some of you will be celebrating this momentous burst of growth and sunshine with the Winchester duathlon on Sunday March 22nd which this year is being held at Lainston House.  It’s a 2.5km run, a 7.5km bike race and a further 2.5km run, followed by a private bbq.  Billy the falconer will be on hand with his birds of prey to keep the children (and adults) entertained.

Others might prefer to celebrate with the  CAMRA Winchester Real Ale and Cider Festival, which is being held at the Winchester Guildhall on Friday 20th & Saturday 21st March.  Tickets are running low so do book in advance to avoid disappointment.  There will be tutored beer-tasting sessions available introduced by writer and beer expert Adrian Tierney-Jones and over a hundred different real ales, ciders, perries and foreign bottled beers to behold.

Cream teas on the Watercress Line
Cream teas on the Watercress Line

Mum’s the word on Sunday 15th March, and the Watercress line is offering a traditional afternoon cream tea onboard a steam train. Don’t forget to order some spring flowers from the divinely named Mills in Bloom Florists & Vintage Interiors, where Mother’s Day local deliveries are available all day on Saturday 14th March.  Other gifts on offer include vintage items, pictures, glassware & china. The aforementioned Lainston House will be offering a homely 17th century barn or 3AA Rosette awarded restaurant lunch, and a champagne tea. All guests attending the three-course Sunday lunch will also be treated to a free falconry display. The Winchester Hotel and Spa are also planning lunch or afternoon tea treats, with a prize draw to win a luxury spa day for two. The whole party will receive a free glass of fizz – or non-alcoholic fizz for the kids and non-drinkers. And the day can be rounded off with a few giggles at the Theatre Royal Winchester which will be presenting Richard Herring and his take on death, love, religion and spam javelins at 8pm.

The Cathedral’s newly refurbished and relaunched Refectory will be hosting a special evening on the 13th March at 7pm to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s fourth novel, Emma. Tickets are £40 and include a glass of sparkling wine on arrival, a three-course meal and tea or coffee. After dinner, Dr Nigel Paterson will give an illustrated talk about Austen and what we know about her from circa 1815. Some ideas will also be given about following in Jane’s footsteps around places she would have known 200 years ago. Dr Nigel Paterson regularly gives after-dinner talks about Jane Austen and other topics of cultural interest. Educated at Winchester College and then Jesus College, Cambridge, he was later a Senior Lecturer in English for the University of Winchester.

Captain Finn and the Pirate Dinosaurs
Captain Finn and the Pirate Dinosaurs

Les Petits Theatre’s Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs will be on offer for young theatre fans at the Theatre Royal between Wed 25th – Thurs 26th March (Wed 4pm & Thurs 1.30pm, 4pm).  And if you’re keen to ‘cultivate’ your kid, don’t forget to call into the City Museum, which has plenty available for children such as sorting artefacts like an archaeologist, brass rubbing, Anglo-Saxon pot design, quizzes and the opportunity to try on all sorts of period costumes and see what you’d look like as a Roman, a Saxon, a Victorian gent or an Edwardian lady. Adults welcome too! The museum has just acquired a large collection of locally collected archaeological items, due to go on display in Autumn 2015.

FIGURE GROUND - Yorke Dance Project
FIGURE GROUND – Yorke Dance Project

Finally, our editor recommends the Yorke Dance Project ‘Figure Ground 2015’ at the Theatre Royal on 24th March. Founded by dancer-turned-choreographer Yolande Yorke-Edgell, the company’s lush and lively mixed bill features the quartet Lingua Franca, the first new work in a decade by the American-born UK modern dance giant Robert Cohan OBE. No spring chicken but still a sharp-witted creative, Cohan turns 90 on March 27th. The programme also includes Yorke-Edgell herself in the revival of a Cohan solo dating from 1978, a sextet by the promising (and, at 17, certifiably young) Charlotte Edmonds and a septet by Yorke-Edgell set against a computer-animation backdrop. You can read more on the company and its work later this month on this website, but for now we can all start to kick up our heels in anticipation of the impending season.

Win Guide to February

Chococo Winchester
Chococo Winchester

Winter is dragging its heels, isn’t it? But February is not without its charms.  It’s a short month, which means Spring is on her way at last.  The word February unsurprisingly comes from Latin ‘februa’, a cleansing or purification ritual in readiness for Spring – which explains the rain.  The Anglo-Saxons called it ‘Solmonath’, which can be translated as ‘Mud Month’, and according to the scholar ‘Bede’ was also known as the month of cakes, after the old English custom of offering cakes to the gods to promote fertility as they sewed the seeds and ploughed the fields.  If that’s an excuse to indulge in the cold, we’ll take it. We’d recommend the gluton-free carrot cake at Chococo, washed down with their classic hot chocolate.

Theatre Alibi presents I Believe in Unicorns
Theatre Alibi presents
I Believe in Unicorns

If you know a 6 to 12 year – old, there’s an opportunity to inspire their love of storytelling and reading this month.  Theatre Alibi will be presenting Michael Morpurgo’s popular children’s story ‘I Believe In Unicorns’, adapted by Daniel Jamieson, 5th – 7th February at the Theatre Royal Winchester.  Running at one hour, it’s described as a 4 – star ‘evening of thrilling theatre’ by The Guardian. Whilst you’re in a theatre going mood and if you fancy a trip to London, Winchester – based theatre director Deborah Edgington’s (Chesil Theatre, Forest Forge) critically acclaimed production of Muswell Hill by Torben Betts is running 17th February – 14th March at the chic North London Park Theatre, recipient of the Best Fringe Theatre in The Stage Awards 2015.

February is, of course, Love month, which might explain the exponential increase in bugaboos recently, so with Valentine’s Day looming on 14th February, there’s no shortage of restaurants ready to welcome the lovers in. Lainston House Hotel is offering a £110/head eight – course tasting dinner, including bubbles and canapés on arrival. The Black Rat is offering a sumptuous £50/head set menu, and the River Cottage set menu is £35/head. Booking is obviously advised. Alternatively, folk/punk singer-songwriter Frank Turner will be playing on home soil at the Guildhall.

Shrove Tuesday
Family Bushcraft – Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday  – or pancake-day – also features this month on 17th February, which marks 40 days before Easter and is a chance for a feast before going without for Lent (if you’re that way inclined). The Sir Harold Hillier Arboretum and Gardens is offering an event called Family Bushcraft – Shrove Tuesday Cooking On the Fire. The morning session is sold out, but there’s an afternoon session now available 1.30pm – 4pm, £10 per child with an accompanying adult and suitable for 3-12 – year – olds. It’s part of their half-term fun activities at the Gardens. They’re also offering a Children’s Falconry Day on 19th and family nature trails every day.

For some indoor half-term fun, Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium will be holding an exciting, daily programme of special events for the holidays, from Saturday 14 February to Sunday 22th February. Holiday opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday , 10am to 5pm. The City Mill is offering some half-term seasonal baking,  to show how the freshly milled wholemeal flour can be combined with a variety of local produce to make tasty treats.

To run off the cakes, the 33rd annual Winchester 10km Road Race with be held on Sunday 22nd February 2015, starting outside the Winchester Guildhall and proceeding up the historic High Street and along Jewry Street before heading out towards the village of Kingsworthy.  The return leg passes through the village of Headbourne Worthy and back towards Winchester before finishing at Winchester Football Club ground.

Image Credit: Jonty Wilde
Image Credit: Jonty Wilde

Finally, we suggest venturing to Jane Austen’s house in Chawton on 26th February for the event Stargazing: Poetry with Simon Armitage (CBE) & Moora Dooley. The evening will start at 6.30pm at the museum for readings of star – related poetry before walking through the unlit streets of the village to Chawton House to gaze up at the sky, before finishing with more poetry and refreshments in the Great Hall.  Tickets are £10.