Tag Archives: Kingsgate Village

Win guide to christmas

Ho, ho, how did it get to a month before Christmas? Time flies in our fair city, but thankfully Winchester has a fantastic range of festive offerings to banish the bah humbugs and ring in the season.

Ice Rink

The Winchester Cathedral Christmas markets and ice rink are already open and looking splendid. Inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, the range of exhibitors offer a great opportunity to purchase a unique gift for friends and loved ones. You can also enjoy mulled wine, mince pies or perhaps a bratwurst as you shop. The markets will be open until 22nd December and the ice rink until 5 January 2020.

Whilst we are talking about shopping, don’t forget to take a short stroll from the Cathedral Christmas markets through to Kingsgate Village where you can visit the charming range of independent shops: Cornflowers Gift Shop, Kingsgate Wines & Provisions, Kingsgate Books & Prints and P&G Wells Booksellers. And to work off the mince pies, a walk up the hill to the top of the high street will lead you to Stardust Years for some vintage fashion gifts or perhaps some unique festive party wear.

The Christmas Lantern Parade is back on 28th November. If you want to join in, you will need to make your own lantern with Bella Crafts. To book a Lantern Workshop, please contact Bella Crafts, 02380517054 or visit www.bellacrafts.co.uk. Participants in the Lantern Parade should arrive at Winchester Cathedral between 5.30pm and 6.00pm. Enjoy festive Christmas Carols for all the family in the Nave, before the Lantern Parade begins at 6.30pm. Visit the Cathedral website for more details. You can also access a list of Christmas service times and details here.

Panto season is upon us, oh yes it is, so get ready for some light-hearted belly laughs. Dick Whittington opens at the Theatre Royal on 30th November and runs until 5 January 2020. Join Dick and his cat on their madcap adventures, as Dick seeks his fame and fortune in a London bedevilled by the sinister King Rat and his rabble of Revolting Rodents. Tickets are available to book online here.

Father Christmas has managed to make some time for visits at the Great Hall between 21 & 23 December. Ticket fees includes the opportunity to meet Father Christmas, a festive gift and some craft activities. For more details and ticket prices, visit the website here. He’ll also be making his usual appearance on the Watercress Line Santa Express between 30 November and 23 December. Details and booking is available here.

For some fresh air and exercise, take a trip to Hilliers Gardens and join in The Snowman and the Snowdog Winter Trail. Guides cost £5 and come with a special The Snowman™ and the Snowdog gift. Usual garden admission fees apply. The trail opens on 30 November and will be available until 5 January 2020. The Winchester City Mill also has a Christmas trail. Find all of the gingerbread people and solve the puzzle to help Santa Claus make his journey on Christmas Eve.

We’ll be bringing you more seasonal hints and tips throughout December on Twitter @Win_Guide. Meanwhile, wrap up warm and enjoy, one and all!

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 Easter

Egg-cellent news! It’s Easter time and there’s lots of egg-citing things on offer! Here’s the Win Guide to Easter.

Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle is well worth a visit this weekend. Built on the foundations of the medieval palace of the Bishops of Winchester (who owned the estate in Newbury from the 8th century), since 1679 the castle has been home to the Earls of Carnarvon. Never a retiring lot, the  Carnarvons have been noted for Egyptology (the 5th Earl was present at the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb), for an association with HRH Elizabeth II’s race horses (the 7th Earl was racing manager for her majesty) and now synonymous with the thespian equivalent of royalty in the form of Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville et al. as the filming location for Downton Abbey. This weekend, Sunday 5th April, the Highclere team will be holding an Easter Egg Hunt  event to raise funds for local charity Naomi House and Jacksplace. Lady Carnarvon herself will be judging an Easter bonnet parade. Spider-Man and Elsa from ‘Frozen’ will be wandering the grounds, and there will be market stalls, a vintage car display, a climbing wall and zip wire, a petting farm and birds of prey on offer to boot! Tickets are a steal at £5 on the door.

Closer to home, Sparsholt College will be holding an ‘Easter Bunny and Chick’ weekend from Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th April. It’s an Alice In Wonderland – themed affair with a Mad Hatter’s tea party, Easter egg hunt and classic craft activities such as egg painting.  Not forgetting the newly-hatched chicks and young bunnies on display, it sounds like a must visit for families.

Winchester Cathedral - Easter Egg Trail
Cathedral – Easter Egg Trail

Winchester Cathedral will be holding its own ‘Easter Egg Trail’ between the 5th – 19th April.   Ten decorative eggs will be hidden amongst the stunning architecture for ‘eggsplorers’ to discover, and free chocolate prizes can be claimed in the Cathedral gift shop.  Services on Easter Day itself (5 April) will be 8am Holy Communion, 10am Choral Mattins (Preacher: The Bishop), 11.15am Festal Eucharist (Preacher: The Dean) and 3.30 Choral Evensong.

Winchester Bunny Hop
Winchester Bunny Hop

The Winchester Bunny Hop will be celebrating its sixth birthday this year.  It’s a great initiative on the part of Winchester City Council, Winchester Bid and, this year, Chococo the chocolate shop and cafe have rightly got in on the action.  The quiz allows children to hunt for egg-shaped clues hidden in participating shops in Winchester and rearrange them into an Easter themed word to claim a Chococo prize. And if that’s not incentive enough, the Chococo team have recently been hailed as experts in the field of Easter chocolates. Their ‘Robot’ egg was dubbed by the Telegraph as ‘best egg for children’ on 28th March 2015. Even better news: they will be open every day over the Easter weekend. Quiz sheets can be collected from the Winchester Tourist information centre or downloaded here: http://www.visitwinchester.co.uk/winchester-bunny-hop-2015.

Cornflowers Gift Shop
Cornflowers Gift Shop

A spring-time stroll to Kingsgate Village is always worthwhile to walk off the chocolate and browse for an Easter gift, curtesy of Cornflowers Gift Shop, Kingsgate Books and Prints, P&G Wells Booksellers, Kingsgate Wines and of course a visit to the Wykeham Arms for rest and refreshment awaits. Finally, don’t forget to visit to the 17th Century City Mill who will be offering hot cross bun baking on Friday 3rd April, and a Cadbury Eggsplorer Easter Egg trail over the weekend.

Have fun, and stock up on Gaviscon…

Win Guide to Christmas

Winchester has a myriad of seasonal treats on offer and we’ve picked just a few of our favourites…

Cadogan & Co
Cadogan & Co

The outfit

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. This independent retailer of designer menswear, ladieswear and homeware has been run for over 20 years by Alex Edwards, and the skillful, comfortable elegance of his welcoming approach, along with that of his staff, makes this the type of shop people will travel back to Winchester to seek out. Celebrity clients include Hugh Bonneville, Colin Firth, James Martin, Isabella Anstruther Gough-Calthorp among many others.

The carols

Christmas Carol Concert
Christmas Carol Concert

The Winchester Cathedral Christmas Carol Concert could send a shiver through even the most hardened humbug’s spine, with its stunning Cathedral Choir and candle-lit magnificence. The main concert will take place on Friday 12th December at 7pm, conducted by Andrew Lumsden with guest appearances by Stephen Gadd and Claire Rutter, international opera and concert singers and presented by BBC’s South Today Sally Taylor. If you don’t manage to get tickets, there will also be Britten’s Ceremony of Carols lunchtime concert at 1pm on 23rd December or of course midnight mass on Christmas eve (starting at 11.30pm).

Burcot Farm Christmas TreesThe tree

Burcott Farm is “fanatical” about Christmas trees, involved in both growing as well as selling them. Typically you’ll take home a Nordmann Fir between six and nine years old, although Burcott also offer traditional Norway Spruce ranging from 3 – 12 feet, along with tree stands, natural fruit and cone decorations and festive wreaths.

Winchester Christmas Market and Ice Rink
Winchester Christmas Market and Ice Rink

The family outing

The famous Winchester Christmas market in Cathedral Close boasts its open-air ice rink, which is a suitably festive family trip out (open from 20 November 2014 to 4 January 2015). 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. Speaking of which…

The gift

Kingsgate Books & Prints
Kingsgate Books & Prints

Winchester is a pretty perfect Christmas shopping destination, with its blend of big name shops and independent retailers. Aside from the Christmas market and the fabulous Cadogan & Co, if you linger in the Square you could find some specialist kitchenware for those budding British Bake-off friends or family members at Dinghams. Or if you’re a bit Gen Y trendy, head into The Hambledon for vintage, clothing and homeware. If you want pure vintage, climb up the hill to Stardust Years for authentic ladies fashion and accessories. For something special you might like to pop over to Parchment Street to Boudoir Blush, which offers luxury lingerie with free gift wrapping. Chococo is a must for edible gifts, and we urge you to stop off for a hot chocolate whilst there. Finally, don’t forget the tucked away gem that is 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 on, boycott the online retainer whose name we dare not speak and dig out some hand-picked treasures.

The festive tipple

The Old Vine
The Old Vine

Sitting in an ideally central location, across from the Cathedral and in the heart of the Square, is The Old Vine hotel, bar and restaurant.  Managed by Austin, the Grade II listed 18th-century inn is the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the busy christmas markets and and shops. They have a well kept bar, competitively priced menu and a warm seasonal atmosphere.


The dinner

Beechcroft farm shop
Beechcroft farm shop

The award-winning Beachcroft farm shop near Crab Wood on Sarum Road isn’t really a secret anymore. A much-loved destination for local produce, with homegrown lamb, beef and pork courtesy of the small and wonderfully friendly family-run farm, Christmas orders are now being taken and you can download an order form online. Locally-reared turkeys are also on offer, along with all the trimmings. You can also purchase gift hampers or vouchers for fellow lovers of fine-quality Hampshire fare. The farm shop is open on Friday: 10am – 5.30pm,
 Saturday: 9am – 5pm and over Christmas, Mon. 22nd Dec 10am-5pm, Tues. 23rd Dec 7.30am – 5.30pm and Wed. 24th Dec 7.30am – 12pm. And you’ll also be able to catch Rachel or one of the team at the Winchester famers market on Sunday 14th December.

Sleeping Beauty, Theatre Royal Winchester
Theatre Royal Winchester

The panto

It’s time for panto. Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is, and the Theatre Royal is treating us to ‘Sleeping Beauty’ between Tues 9 Dec 2014 – Sun 4 Jan 2015. Embrace the festive audience participation with fire-breathing dragons, live music and original songs.


The Good deeds

Santa Fun Run
Santa Fun Run

Christmas is all about the giving, and there are lots of ways to get involved with local charity projects. On 13th December there’s the Winchester & District Young Carer’s Charity gift wrap in the Brooke’s centre. The Hampshire Chronicle Christmas Toy appeal allows you to donate a toy for a toddler up to a 13 year-old child with three local charities benefitting: Winchester Basics Bank, Friends of the Family and Home-Start Winchester. Finally, earn the forthcoming culinary indulgence with the Santa Fun Run, a 5k walk or run dressed head to toe as St Nic, in support of Naomi House and Jacksplace hospices for children and young adults on Sunday 7th December.

We’ll be bringing you more festive tips soon. Meanwhile, don’t forget the guide to parking as things get busy in our fair city.

Let there be light

‘Tis the season of dark mornings and pitch-black journeys home in the late afternoon or evening, but Winchester is about to deliver some festive illumination to lighten up our mood.

Winchester Christmas light 'switch on'
Winchester Christmas light ‘switch on’

There are two Christmas light ‘switch on’ events to look forward to this month.  The first, taking place today (Thursday 13th November) will be an all-singing/all-dancing affair between 3-7pm on the High Street and Broadway. Capital FM’s breakfast presenters, Gillies and Emily, will host the event. Performers include Integr8 Dance, Winchester’s Military Wives Choir, Encore Youth Theatre and a cheeky panto preview from the cast of the Theatre Royal’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’. As for the grand finale at 6pm, Xfactor’s boyband ‘Concept’ will perform to a laser light and music show. Well, if you can’t have a bit of a camembert at Christmas… The event has been kindly sponsored by Denplan. The 13th also marks the start of late-night shopping on a Thursday in the city, plus free parking from 4.30pm. For full details on where and when visit here.

Cornflowers window display
Cornflowers window display

If you miss out on the 13th fear not, for Kingsgate Village will be hosting its inaugural ‘switch on’ taking place beneath the medieval gateway at 6pm on 20th November. The Bishop of Winchester will be guest of honour, and the evening promises be a traditional mix of music, late-night shopping and mulled wine. Kingsgate Village oozes its own sophisticated, friendly and accessible style, with Kingsgate Book & Prints, Cornflowers Gift Shop, Kingsgate Wine & Provisions and the booksellers P&G Wells. It’s a perfect Christmas (or any time) shopping destination for those looking for something special and off the beaten track with wonderful personal service from the dedicated shop owners and staff. As a bonus, from 6.30pm P&G Wells is hosting a joint book launch with the Wykeham Arms for Meats, Eats, Drinks & Leaves by Penny Ericson and Proteus by Simon Hawkins. Full details here.

Twilight Tower Tours
Twilight Tower Tours

And for a stellar view of the spectacle that is Winchester’s ‘perfect Christmas’, from 21st November the Cathedral will be offering a Twilight Tower Tour with a second to none view of the Christmas lights as they sparkle across the city. After the tour, you can enjoy some mulled wine and mince pies in the medieval Undercroft. There’s a minimum age restriction of 12 years and an adult must accompany children under 16 years. (Although there’s no set upper age limit for this tour, it’s a steep climb and not recommended for the elderly, infirm, disabled or pregnant.)

So shake off the winter blues and begin to embrace the impending Yuletide in all its glittering glory.