14 May 2016

10 reasons you should visit Winchester in the rain

At only an hour or so by train from Waterloo Station, Winchester is a perfect day out from London. It has good food, little windy cobbled lanes, good shopping, a great selection of restaurants, fascinating history and good brunch.

Things to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi
Things to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

The reason it took me several years to pop down there? Sheer laziness.

It was one of those long-term expat things – once the initial gloss of living in an exciting new country wears off, you start to return to bad habits, putting visiting places off until, ummm later. So, laying luxuriously in bed one sunny Saturday I thought “no, I’m going to do this tomorrow”. It took about 15 minutes to book the train, round up a touch of company and arrange for a Hampshire-based friend to meet us for brunch.

Things to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

This is the problem (said with full ironic air quotes) with living in England, it’s just too easy.

Things to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

Unfortunately, Sunday dawned drizzly and grey, the kind of day I’d usually flag said activity (a condition commonly known as #rainitis) but we were determined to get our lazy behinds out of bed and explore a little Winchester History.

Things to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London KiwiThings to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

In some romantic, rose-tinted way, the rain made for a soft hazy day of wandering which suited us down to the ground. Perfect for a few hours of pavement pounding, the center is compact with a slightly crooked layout which makes for an interesting amble.

Things to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi
Things to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

1 ¦  Marvel at the serene, curious beauty of Anthony Gormley’s Sound II reflected in the flooded crypt of Winchester Cathedral, spot the bronze diving costume of William Walker, the man who singlehandedly dove and emptied the flooded ramparts of Winchester Cathedral and pay a moment of respect at the memorial to Jane Austin.

 Things to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
2 ¦  Bouncy. Cathedral. (Alas, it's not always there)

Things to do in Winchester Hampshire Adventures of a London Kiwi

3 ¦  Darn good brunch, with pancakes stacks as big as your head.

Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi


4 ¦  Old stuff EVERYWHERE

Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi
5 ¦  Wander around Castle ruins and nestle into beautiful bookshops

Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi


6 ¦  Stumble upon Jane Austin's last home. Don't go in.

Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi
Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi


7 ¦ Tsk at King Arthurs round table (commissioned by King Henry) as y'know it’s only 13th Century, rather than 6th as they originally thought. Honestly people.

Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi
Kings Arthur Knights of the Round Table Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi

8 ¦  Nip into a variety of restaurants, then wander through the foodie markets (it’s worth it even in the rain) after brunching in the town of unashamed gourmets.

Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi
 
9 ¦  Play at being Knights of the Round Table. I bags Guinevere!

10 ¦  Have a pint at the Wykham Arms - on a schooldesk for bonus rebel points, hang out in front of the fire and pat a variety of button-nosed small dogs. Hunter wellies totally optional, though encouraged. Cosy up (thank you Anna for the recommendation); there are fireplaces that burn real logs, signs banning cellphones, school desks that serve as tables, and stare into the small pleading eyes of family dogs for winter afternoon perfection.
 Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi
Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi

11 ¦  Puddles. Always.

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Winchester Hampshire London day trip Adventures of a London Kiwi

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