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Tell me about it …
Susie Barrie and Peter Richards of BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen are behind the city’s inaugural Winchester Wine Festival (21-23 November, £25 per four-hour session, thewinefestival.co.uk), taking place this weekend. Head to the Victorian Guildhall, pick up your free Riedel glass and get sampling – there are hundreds of wines to try. The “Follow your Taste” concept uses a colour-coded system to guide visitors to wines that are likely to appeal. Local food producers will be offering cheese, charcuterie and chocolates – head to Chococo for unusual seasonal specialities such as Totally Twisted Nose Gin & Watercress truffles.
I’ll need some fresh air after that
Stroll around England’s ancient capital, taking in the Medieval cathedral (don’t miss Antony Gormley’s Sound II sculpture, created in lead from a plaster cast of the sculptor’s own body). Or enjoy the wildlife by walking along angler’s heaven, the river Itchen.
Sounds like hungry work
Rick Stein Winchester is a new addition to the High Street, and the chef’s first restaurant outside Cornwall. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen in the historic Abbey Mill is another celeb-chef newbie. Or pick up award-winning cheese and water buffalo charcuterie at the Hampshire Farmer’s Market, one of the largest farmer’s markets organisations in the UK, open the second and final Sunday every month.
Anywhere to stay for under £100?
The newly opened Black Hole offers 10 doubles for £100 B&B, kitted out with antique jail doors, quirky wallpaper and safes as bedside tables. The morning fry-up is cooked to order on an Aga in the breakfast room alongside guests. St John’s Croft B&B is a listed Queen Anne townhouse with three calm, stylish rooms and cathedral views (doubles from £75 B&B).
Anything else to do in the city?
Winchester’s Christmas market (winchestercathedral.org.uk) starts on 20 November. It follows the usual traditions, with wooden cabins, an ice rink and plenty of mulled wine.
Do I need a car?
It’s probably easier by train – Winchester’s one-way system can leave the uninitiated going round in circles. South West Trains runs from London, CrossCountry from Birmingham. See visitwinchester.co.uk and southdowns.gov.uk for bus, cycling and walking routes.
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