Tag Archives: Winchester Cathedral

Win Guide to June

We’re not going to mention the weather for fear of scaring it off, but June is most certainly here and Winchester has a lot to offer this month:

AirplaneHijack Cinema will be taking over North Walls Recreation ground with an exciting programme of outdoor screenings, including Airplane on 10 June.  Cinephiles are advised to bring a blanket and some warm clothes as the film starts just before 10pm.  Visit the website to book an e-ticket and for more details. And if you can’t make this date, fear not for on the 11 June The Truman Show will be showing and on 12 June there will be a screening of 500 Days of Summer.

logo_alresford-music-festivalThe 7th Arlesford Music Festival is on Sat 11 June, offering 4 stages of live music. Highlights include a festival village, arts & craft activities, food and drink including a ‘Ringwood Fine Ale’ beer tent, cider corner, cocktails and a Pimms Bar. This year there is a dedicated ‘Family Arena’ with loads of free activities and family entertainment including a silent disco, street theatre, circus skills, bungee trampolining, colossal climbing wall and inflatable assault course. There are free shuttle busses to and from both Winchester and Alton Train stations running throughout the day from mid-morning until midnight. Dub Pistols will be the festival headline act and camping opens on Friday 10 June from 4pm. For more details, visit the festival website.

Drop into the Westgate Museum on 12 June, 1-3pm for some Tudor music in homage to Shakespeare’s anniversary year, performed by Courtlye Musick. This is a free event, but donations are welcome.

Winchester Writers' FestivalThe 36th Winchester Writer’s Festival is on this month at the University of Winchester, 17 – 19 June. Speakers include top literary agents, commissioning editors or authors, and attendees can book up to four one-to-one appointments for feedback on their work and a commercial appraisal. Meg Rosoff will be giving the keynote address this year. For more details or to book a place visit the website.

HiddenThe YMCA and the Children’s Society have opened a moving portrait exhibition Hidden at Winchester Cathedral to highlight the journey of young carers. Former young carer and award winning photographer Max Alexander captures the burden of responsibility and difficult choices that children face in a care role. Standard Cathedral admission fees apply, 1 June – 17 July.

comedy-gala-nick-270x270The Theatre Royal has a lot to offer this month.  Little people will be delighted to hear that Tiddler & Other Terrific Tales are in town, 7-8 June, presented by Scamp Theatre. The Winchester Comedy Festival will be presenting a gala night on Friday 10 June, featuring Nick Helm, Rob Deering, John Kearns and Lucy Porter. Blue Apple Theatre in association with The Occasion are bringing Around the World in 80 Days, a new adaptation of Jules Verne’s epic tale, 16-18 June.  Young Theatre Royal will be lost in Anthony Nielson’s Wonderful World of Dissocia 21 and 23rd June and Integr8 will be having a Dance Off, 24 -26 June with 400 children and young people take to the stage to show off their street dance moves.

Don’t forget your polling cards for the EU Referendum on 23 June. The deadline to register to vote is 7 June, so if you haven’t received your card, here’s a guide to ensuring you are registered to have your say.

Plenty to stimulate the senses this month.  Enjoy!

 

 

Win Guide to May

In Mays gone by Machiavelli was born, the Renaissance came to an end, England and Scotland formed a union and Winston Churchill became Prime Minister.  So, let’s see what Wintonians have to look forward to in May 2016…

Democracy will have its day on Thursday 5 May so don’t forget to visit your polling stations to cast your vote in the local elections and Police and Crime commission elections.  For more details visit the Winchester City Council website.

hamlet-sattfShakespeare at the Tobacco Factory are touring a repertory season of Hamlet and All’s Well That End’s Well to the Theatre Royal,  3-7 May.  If you feel like a particularly theatrical week, you can book to see both productions for £33.50 to commemorate 400 years since the Bard’s death.

rosencrantz-and-guildenstern-are-dead-v2In fact Shakespeare has some other incarnations at the Theatre Royal this month. Gallow’s Productions will be presenting an abridged version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, 9-10 May, Tom Stoppard’s beloved tragicomedy.  Or 18-21 May, Winchester Musical and Operatic Society will be presenting A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The fairy folk will be brought alive with original music from Peter Theobald.

Time for some loud laughter in the library, with the Barnstormers Comedy night on the 20 May, 8pm.  The night features three top acts from the London comedy circuit.  For more information or to book cheaper tickets in advance, visit the Barnstormers website here.

Aled-Jones1‘We’re Walking in the Air’ celebrated singer Aled Jones MBE will be touring to Winchester Cathedral on the 26 May, as part of his Cathedral tour.  Tickets are available to book online. Later in the month on the 31 May, Tim Daykin (BBC) will chair ‘Reimagining Europe’, a reflection on how Europe might look with or without the UK in the lead up to the referendum.  Free tickets are available to book via the Cathedral Box Office. Alternatively, you can join in the discussion on Twitter.

800px-Mercury_transit_2A reminder for the astronomically inclined, the transit of Mercury will be taking place on the 9 May. The Astrosoc at the University of Southampton are kindly extending an invitation to view the relatively rare phenomenon through their Solar telescopes from 1pm – 6pm.  For more information or to register your interest, visit the event page.

Win Guide to April

Welcome to April, Wintonians.  Here’s our guide to what’s on this month…

Dr Who WeekendDon’t be alarmed but the Daleks are coming.  Get ready for a weekend of Dr Who-tastic fun at the Science Centre and Planetarium.  It’s going to be a total invasion, with actors scattered around the site and you may well meet a Sontaran, SIlurians, Autons, the 5th Doctor, Clockwork Droids or The Foretold Mummy. Super-fans may be interested to note that actors Jon Davey, Matthew Dale and John Levene will be taking part.   Visit the Science Centre website for more details on the Dr Who theme weekend, 9-10 April, 9.30am – 5.30pm.

For some cultural treats this month, don’t forget to read our Win Guide editor, Donald Hutera’s interview with C-12 Dance Theatre bringing Shhh! to the Theatre Royal on 5 April and Two Destination Language performing Manpower at the Discovery Centre 7 April.

Header-2016-WinchesteraDon’t forget to get researching and booking for next month’s Winchester Speakers Festival which sounds absolutely fascinating on 14 & 15 May with various talks taking place at the Discovery Centre.  Here’s a guide to the brilliant range of speakers on offer, including Dan Cruickshank, A C Grayling, Alison Weir and Robert Verkaik among others. For more information and to book tickets, visit the website here.

Winchester Fashion WeekGet ready to strike a pose for it’s the sixth edition of the Winchester Fashion week, 25 – 30 April. Expect six days of workshops, VIP fashion events and of course the finale catwalk at the Guildhall.  For more details, visit the Winchester Fashion week website.

Parentspeppa-pigs-surprise-gallery-01-133x133, grandparents, aunties and uncles – it’s a Peppa alert.  Peppa Pig will be making a live appearance at the  Theatre Royal 23 & 24 April at various times.  Peppa Pig Surprise is recommended for children up to 7 years.  Time Out hails it as “enjoyably inventive”.  For more details, visit the Theatre Royal website here.

Plenty to enjoy then as Spring finally gets into full swing.

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 December

It’s officially time to get festive.  December is here and Winchester is already embracing its identity as the “perfect” city for Christmas. Here’s the Win Guide to what’s on offer:

Woolly Hat Fair
Woolly Hat Fair

Fancy a little live art to keep you entertained until Christmas day?  This year, the Woolly Hat Fair team have launched a Live Advent Calendar, and between 1-24 December at 5pm a door will open somewhere in the city  behind which a “small moment of magic will take place”. And good news, there is an online version which gives you full details of where this impromptu artistry will be appearing each day, along with a hint on what it might entail, so you don’t have to run from door to door hunting for the hatters. All the events are free to attend but there is a maximum capacity at each venue so arrive early if you’ve set your heart on a particular date or door.

Santa Fun Run
Santa Fun Run

The Naomi House & Jacksplace 5k Santa fun run will take place in the city, 6 December.  It’s a fabulous event all in aid of supporting the great work of the hospices this christmas. Entry into the run has sold out this year, but you can join a waiting list or get in touch to join a team of volunteers helping out on the day.

Winchester Christmas Market
Winchester Christmas Market

The Christmas Market and Ice Rink has officially opened and will be celebrating its 10th birthday this year.  Perhaps one of the most picturesque ongoing events of the season, it’s a chance to get a taste of the fairytale Christmas that many travel to the continent to enjoy. With mulled wine, stollen and christmas gifts galore on offer, visit the germanic wooden cabins by the Cathedral when you are in the mood to slowly amble through a sensory yuletide experience.  Christmas shopping in a hurry this is not, but a seasonal staple it certainly is.

Cathedral Christmas Carols
Cathedral Christmas Carols

The Cathedral Christmas Carol Concert evening will take place on 11 December hosted by BBC South Today’s Sally Taylor. Starting at 7pm, tickets cost between £15 – £40 and will feature the Cathedral Choirs with guest appearances by popular trio BlakeAlternatively, there will be the public Carol Services at the Cathedral on Saturday 19, Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 December at 6.30pm.  The Saturday 19 event is ticketed, with a limited number available directly from the Cathedral Box Office (not online).  Doors will be open from 5.20pm and seats must be taken by 5.50pm. These are popular events so be prepared.

Holidays are Coming - Coca Cola truck
Holidays are Coming – Coca Cola truck

Apparently the ‘Holiday’s are coming, holiday’s are coming’ Coca Cola Christmas juggernaut truck is a ‘thing’ and you can embrace the commercial jazz-hands of a post-modern christmas by standing near it, taking a ‘selfie’ and well, drinking a bit of the iconic fizzy pop by it.  If this tickles your fancy, the “truck” will be makings its way to the city on the 17 December between 12-8pm.

Jack and the Beanstalk, Theatre Royal
Jack and the Beanstalk, Theatre Royal

Looking for some Fe, Fi, Fo Fun? Oh yes we are. Well, it is going to be a factory of festive fun at the Theatre Royal when they open Jack and the Beanstalk, running until Sunday 3 January.  Suitable from 3+ with original songs, evil Giant’s, magic beans, this year’s show will be packed full of participation, dames and good old panto hilarity.

 

We’ll be bringing you a few more festive tips later this month for you to mull over with some mulled wine and a mince pie.  Welcome to December one and all.

 

Win Guide to November

November, november, remember november?  What a fine time for Wintonians.  It may be getting chilly out there, but Winchester is certainly showing off its seasonal sensations.  Here’s a taste of what’s on offer in our fine city this month:

Winchester Bonfire and Fireworks
Winchester Bonfire and Fireworks

Starting in style, on Saturday 7th November it’s the 57th Winchester Round table Bonfire and Fireworks Spectacular. The famous torchlight procession through the city starts to gather 6pm at King Alfred’s statue, culminating in the lighting of the bonfire at 7.15pm and the firework display at 7.45pm. Children 16 and under can enter the ‘build a Guy Fawkes’ competition for a chance to win tea with local MP Steve Brine at the Houses of Parliament (gunpowder, treason and plot not permitted). To enter, bring your Guy along to the Riverpark recreation ground on Saturday 7th. There’s also a photography competition this year, so tag #winchbonfire and post on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for your chance to win a £100 Bangkok Brasserie or Japanese Kyoto Kitchen voucher or £50 for second prize. Celebrated local photographer Joe Low will be judging the winning snaps. Tickets are £3 in advance or £5 on the night with funds raised going to local charities. Last year, £40,000 was raised through the event, so it’s a worthwhile extravaganza as well as being a really good evening.

Sunday 8th November will see the annual Remembrance Service at the Cathedral War Memorial. You may have noticed a particularly smart gent in a bowler hat on the high street doing his bit for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal and poppies are available throughout the city now,  so donate generously.

Winchester Short Film Festival
Winchester Short Film Festival

The Winchester Short Film Festival takes place 7th – 14th November, screening original short films, including World Premieres and shorts. There will be an award ceremony on Saturday 14th November at the Winchester Discovery Centre, and also some industry masterclasses.

Winchester Christmas Lights
Winchester Christmas Lights

Get ready, because on 10th November the Winchester Christmas lights are being switched on. Yes, Christmas is coming! This year’s ‘switch on’ is an extra special affair coinciding with the Winchester stop off of the Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge. Pudsey will be greeting guests and there will be Children In Need fundraising activities. Matt Baker will be switching on the Christmas lights live on the One Show, BBC One. Entertainment will start from 4pm, with the switch on taking place between 7-7.30pm.

For some stirring singing, the Southampton Choral Society with Southern Pro Musica and guest conductor Brian Kay will perform of Elgar’s oratorio, The Dream of Gerontius at Winchester Cathedral on 14th November at 7.30pm.

Winchester Christmas Market
Winchester Christmas Market

On the 19th November, the Cathedral Christmas markets will open, a germanic fairytale transformation set against the majestic backdrop of Winchester Cathedral. Mulled wine and festive treats abound, not forgetting the opportunity to skate with friends and family in the ice rink. Opening times: 10am-6pm, Sunday-Wednesday, 10am-7.30pm Thursday-Saturday every day between 19th November and 22nd December.

The Winchester Musicals and Opera Society present Bizet’s Carmen at the Theatre Royal, 19th – 21st November.  A passionate tale of lust, seduction and betrayal with some of the opera’s most famous melodies.

Winchester Wine Festival
Winchester Wine Festival

The Wine Festival returns to Winchester, 27 – 29 November, hosted by BBC1s Susie Barrie & Peter Richards, the husband and wife Masters of wine duo. The Winchester Guildhall will be packed full of wines to try, included as part of your entrance fee, with additional masterclasses available and the opportunity to stock up at discounted prices for christmas and beyond. Tickets start at £25.

Wrap up warm and enjoy the festivities one and all.

Win Guide to June

It’s Festival fever in Winchester this June, with the Winchester Writer’s Festival, the Flower Festival, the Criterium Cycle Fest and the Guitar Festival. Here’s our guide:

Criterium Cycle Festival
Criterium Cycle Festival

First up for the pedaling mad, it’s the Criterum Cycle Festival on Sunday 7th June. It’s a family-friendly affair with stunt bike displays, ‘try a bike’ activities, make your own smoothie on a smoothie bike and of course the Criterium races starting from 8 years and upwards.  Here’s a link to the provisional race schedule http://www.winchestercriterium.org/schedule/.  Events will start at the Broadway, and don’t forget that with a 1km technical circuit around the closed roads in the heart of the City Centre, you’ll need to plan ahead if you’re driving into Winchester.

WGF15
WGF15

The following weekend, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th June, sees this year’s Winchester Guitar Festival, or WGF15. Festival highlights include Grammy-nominated Brazilian guitarist Fabio Zanon, and Cuban virutoso Ahmed Dickinson Cárdenas. They will be joined by lutenist extraordinaire, Matthew Wadsworth, for another “Late Night Lute’ concert in the beautifully atmospheric medieval St Lawrence Church.

Winchester Writer's Festival
Winchester Writer’s Festival

From Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June it’s the Winchester Writer’s Festival, for new and established wordsmiths alike. This year’s keynote address,  ‘Making it Up, Making it Real’ will be given by the legendary Sebastian Faulks CBE (Birdsong, Charlotte Gray, Human Traces). The festival is packed full of networking opportunities, masterclasses and one-to-one appointments with literary agents, commissioning editors, authors, poets and industry experts. There are also several writing competitions on offer for participants, from poetry to children’s fiction to Tv drama. The Winchester Writers’ Conference, as it was known for many years, was founded in 1980 by Barbara Large, MBE and became the Winchester Writer’s Festival in 2013. Events take place at the University of Winchester.

Cascades - Festival of Flowers
Cascades – Festival of Flowers

From the 24th to the 28th June, 9am – 8pm, Winchester Cathedral will be hosting ‘Cascades – A Festival of Flowers’. There will be a special preview evening on 23rd June with a champagne and canapé reception. Thousands of flowers will be used to create a display of contemporary and traditional floral designs, under the lead of artistic director Hans Haverkamp, who hopes his beautiful blooms will ‘surprise, overwhelm and lift’ people during their visit. Don’t miss Choral Cascades on Saturday 27th June at 8.30pm where the Winchester Cathedral Chamber Choir will perform a programme of music with a floral theme.

JUST DANCE ©Joe Smith
JUST DANCE ©Joe Smith

The Win Guide celebrates its first birthday this month, and to mark the occasion we will be sponsoring AFD/Giant Olive’s ‘JUST DANCE’, an evening of neo-classical ballet from celebrated choreographer Antonia Franceschi (Fame, New York City Ballet) at the Theatre Royal Winchester on 20th July. Don’t forget to book your ticket for a rare opportunity to see dancers from the Royal Ballet, Rambert, Ballet Black and Random Dance, some of the most talented artists of this dance generation, collaborating and performing together.

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!

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 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.