Fall in Love with Winchester this Valentine’s Day
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, why not treat your special someone to an extra special holiday? Winchester combines the best of city life with the freshness of the surrounding countryside. Only 1.5 hours from London, this ancient British city is the perfect place for an intimate getaway. Try these recommendations for a romantic Winchester retreat.
Winchester’s quaint character is best enjoyed on a romantic stroll, especially in the evening. Starting at the Winchester Tourist Information Centre, the Sunset Walk takes you off the beaten track through historic eastern Winchester and up St Giles Hill, a tranquil spot with superb city views. Bring your camera as you’ll pass some of the city’s oldest buildings and most charming backdrops, including the Weirs River Walk and the floral displays in Abbey Gardens.
From loved up lemurs to adoring penguins, Marwell Zoo hosts the sweetest couples for you to see this February. The 140-acre park also features a train, five adventure playgrounds, daily talks, animal feeds and cafes. Enjoy the perfect day out together, or delight your loved ones with gifts that make a real difference to the zoo’s conservation work.
Snuggle up as you travel on a restored steam train through 10 miles of unspoilt Hampshire countryside. Hop aboard at the Georgian town of Alresford or the bustling market town of Alton. During your journey, stopover at Ropley and Medstead & Four Marks stations to marvel at their preserved history.
If your perfect date is one that embraces history and heritage, you’ll love following the footsteps of literary greats. As you wander Winchester’s cobbled streets, admire the same views that inspired Romantic poet John Keats’s sensuous ode “To Autumn.” This self-guided walk is approximately two miles round-trip, and there are many pretty picnic spots along the way.
Or hit the Jane Austen trail to learn about one of England’s greatest novelists. Walk hand in hand as you discover Austen’s life in Hampshire, visit her house in Chawton and witness the memorial above her final resting place in Winchester Cathedral. With the longest nave and greatest length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe, it’s well worth the trip.
When you need a break, indulge a candle-lit dinner by a roaring log fire at the Chesil Rectory, voted one of the most romantic restaurants in Britain. This historic restaurant serves classic seasonal cuisine with fresh local produce, and it will run a special Valentine’s menu every evening from 10–17 Feb.
If you fancy a dining experience that’s both memorable and unique, Winchester’s first authentic Japanese restaurant will delight your senses. Kyoto Kitchen offers an artfully crafted menu showcasing the pure and delicate flavours of Japanese cuisine. Make sure you try the Winchester Roll—the world’s first sushi roll to pair wasabi leaf from Europe’s only wasabi farm in Winchester with locally sourced oak-smoked trout.
Wow your other half with a lovely stay at a country house or boutique hotel in the city. Winchester offers award-winning accommodation to suit your needs.
At the heart of the city, Hotel du Vin Winchester features 24 individually styled rooms and suites. From 10–18 Feb., Hotel du Vin & Bistro will offer three sumptuous courses and a glass of champagne each for only £100 per couple.
Another great choice is the Mercure Winchester Wessex Hotel, a 94 bedroomed 4-star property with the glorious cathedral and wonderful independent shops next door.
A city steeped in history, Winchester is England’s ancient capital and former seat of King Alfred the Great. In addition to world-class attractions and architecture, award-winning pubs and restaurants, and a tempting array of independent shops, this culturally rich medieval city lies surrounded by idyllic Hampshire villages and the rolling countryside of the South Downs National Park.
Go to visitwinchester.co.uk for more information.