Tag Archives: Winchester Cathedral

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.

Flying squad to leave police headquarters

The alert Judith Harvey finds there are feathers on certain Winchester rooftops.

Peregrine_Falcon
Peregrine Falcon (RSPB)

You may have heard the screams. If you live in Winchester and are outdoors in the early morning or evening, listen and look up. You could catch sight of a large bird with broad pointed wings flashing across the sky. It is a peregrine falcon, and it is a local resident.

Peregrine falcons have lived round Winchester for centuries, and not just in the wild. In medieval falconry, the peregrine was the princes’ bird. There are still several falconries in the area.  They offer displays, the opportunity to try falconry out and even full-fledged falconry courses. Contributors to TripAdvisor recommend them highly.

Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral

Tall trees are where wild peregrines traditionally nest, but in urban areas they have found an alternative: tall buildings. Winchester Cathedral has had a peregrine nest – called a scrape – on one of the tower turrets since 2000, and most years they raise several chicks, known as eyasses. Visitors can watch the birds through a telescope. But having peregrines nest on your cathedral is not unusual. What makes Winchester unique is not its cathedral peregrines but those that nest on the police headquarters.

Peregrine Falcon (RSPB)
Peregrine Falcon (RSPB)

Apparently a pair went house-hunting at the police headquarters several years ago, and in January 2013 the Force agreed that Hampshire Ornithological Society could put a nesting box on their roof. So it’s not a police dog kennel up there, but a falcon nest. A police spokesman says the peregrines have been good tenants and never yet called them out for domestic disputes. In 2013 they reared two chicks – sorry, eyasses – and this year four hatched on 21st May. They fledged after about six weeks, but are dependent on their parents until they can hunt for themselves.

That is a very skilled task. Peregrines eat small and medium birds. They help control Winchester’s pigeon population, but your pet cat is safe. Diving at up to 200 miles per hour, they are said to be the world’s fastest animals. When they spot a suitable prey they tuck in their wings and drop like a guided missile. They stun the prey with their powerful talons and then twist to catch it in their beak. A spectacular sight.

In 2015 the police will move to new headquarters. The current building will be demolished and redeveloped for housing. It is unlikely to suit the peregrines, so they will be looking for a new home. Has anybody got high-rise accommodation available?

November Win Guide

Remember, remember! 
The fifth of November, 
The Gunpowder treason and plot; 

Winchester Bonfire and Fireworks
Winchester Bonfire and Fireworks

It’s that time of year again! The leaves are brown and crisp and the dusk air has regained its perfectly magical ability to turn breath into mystical fog. It’s time to pull on a heavy coat, boots, hat, scarf and gloves and head out into Winchester city centre for the bonfire extravaganza. The Observance of 5th November Act 1605 was passed in 1606 calling for a public, annual thanksgiving for the failure of the infamous Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot, although the act was annulled in 1859.  A hundred years later in 1959, Winchester Round Table decided to reignite the festivities with its inaugural bonfire and fireworks display, raising £20 for local charities.  This year will mark the 56th annual event, with 100% of profits donated to local charities and good causes.  Over 25,000 people attended last year and donations exceeded £30,000.

Winchester Bonfire and Fireworks
Winchester Bonfire and Fireworks

A sea of fiery torches process from the Broadway, up the High Street, along Jewry Street until they reach the North Walls recreation site, and it’s a formidable sight to behold.  This year, the event takes place on Saturday 8th November. Tickets are £3 in advance and £5 on the night. Under 16 year olds are being encouraged to build a ‘Guy’, with competition winners invited to join MP Steve Brine at the Houses of Parliament for a less anarchic more civilised afternoon tea and a tour. Entries should be brought along to the River Park Leisure Centre for 3.15pm to be judged at 3.30pm, and the ‘Guys’ will take pride of place on the bonfire in the evening.

Ballet Black
Ballet Black

If loud bangs, crowds and chilly weather don’t appeal, head indoors for the Winchester Short Film Festival taking place 8th – 15th November at the artcafe. The festival provides a platform for Hampshire’s short filmmakers, with shortlisted films shown across nine award categories. And don’t miss the Win Guide’s hot dance tip Ballet Black who will visit the Theatre Royal on Friday 28th November. This celebrated company of classically trained black and asian dancers present a triple bill of new work with exciting ballets from gifted British choreographers including ‘Two of a Kind’ by Christopher Marney (Gothenburg Ballet, New Adventures) ‘Limbo’ by Martin Lawrance (Richard Alston Dance Company) and ‘A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by Arthur Pita (Showboat, The Metamorphosis). Ballet Black were produced by the Win Guide’s very own George Sallis in 2008 in the steamy critics’ choice ‘POP8’, choreographed by Antonia Franceschi (Fame, New York City Ballet) at Giant Olive Theatre. The latter is also home of GOlive Dance & Performance Festival which made its way to Winchester in September 2014 in what will hopefully be the first of many visits.

Winchester Wine Festival
Winchester Wine Festival

The eagerly anticipated Winchester Wine Festival takes place this month at the Guildhall from Friday 21st November until Sunday 23rd November.  Two of the planet’s 300 ‘Masters of Wine’ – otherwise known as BBC1 Saturday Morning Kitchen regulars and Winchester based husband and wife duo Peter Richards and Susie Barrie will be hosting the event and sharing their expertise with city folk and visitors.  Tickets are £25 and include entrance to the festival, unlimited wine tasting samples, a free Riedel wine glass (worth £12.50) and access to exclusive discounts from participating suppliers (not bad timing in the run up to Christmas!). The event is running in support of the very worthy local charity Naomi House and Jacksplace. The Friday night VIP launch tickets are £35 and, on top of the standard perks, also include canapés and a wine festival goodie bag. Keep an eye out for special discounts on tickets, which will be running on social media, and for information on specific masterclasses. This feels like a perfect accompaniment to the gastronomic epi-centre that Winchester is fast becoming, with Autumn 2014 having seen the introduction of Hugh Fearnley Whittington’s Canteen, Rick Stein Winchester and the announcement of the Côte Brasserie, due to open in January 2015 at the top of the High Street (next door to the naked man on the horse sculpture, ‘Horse and Rider’ by Elisabeth Frink).

Winchester Christmas Market
Winchester Christmas Market

And incredibly, if you stroll over to Cathedral Outer Close on Friday 21st November you’ll be transported into a magical wonderland with the opening of this year’s Christmas Market and Ice Rink.  Running from 6pm – 9pm, the free event will include a seven piece live jazz band ‘Funk Lab’, the fantastic Marwell Zoo Choir, a procession of paper lanterns and a pyrotechnic display. The mulled wine will be flowing alongside other festive food and drink which will be on offer throughout the season until 21st December. The markets are open 10am – 6pm Sunday – Wednesday and 10am – 7.30pm, Thursday – Saturday. The beautifully-lit wooden chalets evoke a romantic, Germanic fairytale Christmas and the open-air ice rink is a great family treat, set against the majestic backdrop of the Cathedral. Somerset House, eat your heart out!

Plenty to satisfy the senses this month, and keep us warm as the chilly weather sets in.

October Win Guide

Hampshire Harvest Weekend
Hampshire Harvest Weekend

The tractors are twitching.  The pumpkins are plump.  It’s the Hampshire Harvest weekend (4th & 5th October), and Winchester Cathedral is throwing a free weekend of family-oriented events celebrating the County’s food and farming.  Entry into the Cathedral is free all weekend too. Displays and activities include Kidsroam mobile farm,
 horse and carriage rides,
 vintage farming machinery,
 a static falconry display, the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Pod,
 poultry displays 
and a vintage fairground organ.   The Harvest event is held in partnership with Hampshire Farmers Market, Sparsholt College, The New Forest Show and Hampshire County Council.

Winchester Comedy Festival
Winchester Comedy Festival

To laugh off some of the root vegetables, The Winchester Comedy Festival is running from 2nd – 5th October at the Discovery Centre, The Theatre Royal and The Railway.  There’s a brochure available here, but some of the headline acts are sold out so make sure you have booked in advance.

Speaking of witty folk, the absolutely fabulous Joanna Lumley will be in conversation with John Miller at Winchester Cathedral on 21st October at 7.30pm, followed by a drinks reception.  Tickets are available to book online at £15 or £10 for Friends of the Cathedral. The evening will raise money to save the medieval stained glass windows in the building.

Trench Coach: From Field to Fashion
Trench Coach: From Field to Fashion

The Minster Gallery will be presenting work from The Society of Women Artists (founded in 1857) from 10th October until 10th November.  Celebrating contemporary female talent in oil painting, water colour, sculpture, printing and ceramics, entry is free and it’s a great excuse to pop down to the Square for a post-exhibition drink at The Old Vine. The Discovery Centre will be opening the exhibition Trench Coat: From Field to Fashion on 4th October, which is running until 21st December.  Introduced by Hilary Alexander OBE, the fascinating theme will explore everything and anything trench coat-related, from the more traditional WW1 calvary garb to such filmic connections as Marlene Dietrich in Billy Wilder’s A Foreign Affair.

Halloween at Winchester City Mill
Halloween at Winchester City Mill

Later in the month you can get in the mood for Halloween by joining Supernatural Tours on a guided tour of Winchester’s ghostly past, 28th October 7.30pm – 8.30pm, starting at the Royal Oak. Alternatively, if you pop into Winchester City Mill on the 31st October you can bake some Halloween-themed biscuits and treats using their own freshly milled stone-ground flour, combined with other local produce.

Happy harvest one and all.

School’s out for summer!

Winchester Cathedral workshops
Cathedral workshops

What’s on in Winchester for kids this summer? It’s officially here and the excitement is palpable.  Hampshire schools break up on the 24th July meaning only one thing: summer holiday time! No more school until September.  Bright mornings, long days and balmy evenings. Here’s a non-exhaustive flavour of what Winchester has on offer to keep the kids educated and entertained this July and August.

Firefly Theatre School
Firefly Theatre School

For budding thespians, the Firefly Theatre School is offering two weeks of summer schools suitable for 6-16 year olds at the Tower Arts Centre (Kings School) and in the Winchester College QEII Theatre. Week one (11 – 15 August) will culminate in an all-singing, all-dancing and all-acting version of Treasure Island and week two (18 – 22 August) will take inspiration from the Brothers Grimm to devise fairy-tales. It’s £150 for a week, £250 for two and there’s a 10% sibling discount available. Alternatively, Winchester Stagecoach will be running morning musical theatre workshops at Westgate School for children and teenagers 4 – 8 August, 10am – 12pm for £130.

Matt Denton's - Mantis Robot
Winchester Science Festival

Junior Einsteins will be pleased to hear that from 24 July to 1 September, Winchester Science Centre is open 10am-5pm at weekends and 9am-5pm on weekdays (including the bank holiday) offering bonus science shows and special, live planetarium shows. The science shows are at no extra cost to Science centre visitors and, running at 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm, will explore  oceans, space, the weather, flight and nature. 5-12 year – olds can pack their lab coats for Mad Science camp at Prince’s Mead School, 18 – 22 August at £35/child per day or £150 for the week. Activities include safe-cracking, yucky yeast and the slime Olympics. And don’t forget, science fans can also indulge in the Winchester Science Festival this weekend, 25-27 July.

RAW Adventure Camps
RAW Adventure Camps

Meanwhile, outdoor and sporty treats abound this summer in the city. Super Camps will be running at Winchester College for 4-14 year olds, combining sport, art and play at £42 per day or £170 per week. 7-14 year old kids can go tribal with Raw Adventure, leaving iPhones and tablets behind to reconnect with nature and learn how to survive in the great outdoors. Tennis camp is on in Littleton (21 July – 29 August) for Andy Murray’s in the making, with half-days available for the mini-Wimbledon champs (4-7yrs) and full days for junior versions (8-14yrs). The ‘Players Camp’ for 11-15 year – old serious competitors is running 11 – 15 August.  Prices range between £12/day and £80/week and prizes and certificates will be on offer for children attending full – week camps. Limited places are available for the Winchester Rugby Football Club summer academy for under 9s and under 12s with medals to be won each day (12 – 15 August).

Lantern’s Children’s Centre in Bereweeke Road is offering a Kids Summer Play scheme for 4-11 year – old children with disabilities or additional needs from 28 July.  Activities/trips could include LEGOLAND, Longleat safari park, Marwell zoo, dance, arts and craft and swimming at a budget – friendly £12.50/day or £15 on trip days.

© Hannes Lochner (SOUTH AFRICA) Curiosity and the cat
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition © Hannes Lochner

Winchester Cathedral will be running activities and workshops for children 7 and upwards on 19th, 21st,  26th and 28th August, 10am – 12pm for £2 including a drink and a biscuit.  Adults are welcome to stay at no extra cost but booking is advised. Professional LEGO experts will be coaching children 5yrs and upwards at the Winchester Discover Centre in the art of building a castle on 12th August. The entry fee is £9 and includes £5 worth of LEGO to take home. Visitors might also like to take advantage of the free Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition on loan from the Natural History Museum and running until 21st September.

Art Start
Art Start

Finally, Art Start will be leading 6-11 year olds under the sea, into the carnival and off to the great outdoors with three weekly sessions at Henry Beaufort School.  Led by local artist Donna Vokes, children will be encouraged to explore their imaginations and create a masterpiece or two at their own pace. Prices vary according to the number of days booked and range between £30 and £230.