On the look out for a new city to venture to this Autumn? Somewhere that will offer you art, culture, exploration and a true autumnal escape? Look no further than Winchester.
Tucked away in Hampshire and renowned for hosting Hat Fair Festival, the UK’s oldest outdoor arts festival, Winchester is a city worth visiting beyond the summer months. Brimming with cultural landmarks, stunning outdoor scenery that inspired Keats’ ode, To Autumn and some of England’s best foodie spots – there is no better place to enjoy England’s most beautiful season. Just an hour away from London, the city is easily accessible from the capital and offers a more quiet though no less exciting way to spend an autumn afternoon or weekend.
Below are Vada’s Winchester must see, must experience highlights for this autumn:
If you’re a Keats fan, this one’s for you. Enjoy a stroll through the water meadows, a walk taken by the poet Keats daily during his tenure in Winchester, and which inspired his famous ode, To Autumn
. The self-guided round trip is approximately two miles long and passes famous historic landmarks such as Winchester Cathedral, Wolvesey Castle and the Hospital of St Cross. There are also a number of ancient pubs, such as the Wykeham Arms, to make a quick or leisurely pit stop at along the way.
Tip: download the Keats’ Walk route map, or collect from the Winchester Tourism Information Centre, prior to setting off.
Winchester Oktoberfest – 15 September
The renowned Bavarian tradition returns to Winchester Guildhall this year offering premium German beer, authentic German street food and fantastic entertainment from band, ‘Oompah Brass’.
Big Brick Challenge at Winchester Science Centre – 16 to 17 September
Everyone loves LEGO, even the stickle brick fans among you. Visit the Science Centre for a weekend of LEGO bricks building, engineering and robotic challenges. Take part in a presenter-led LEGO bricks building workshop and take home a bag of LEGO bricks to fine-tune your engineering skills.
General admission tickets are £8.40 per child and £12 per adult. Workshop tickets are priced at £7.50 per child (includes a bag of LEGO bricks to take home).
BBC History Magazine’s History Weekend – 6 to 8 October
One for the history boffins among you. BBC History Magazine’s History Weekend is returning to Winchester this autumn. The Great Hall and Ashburton Hall, will host 28 speakers over the course of the three day conference weekend, including: Tracy Borman on Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen and Charles Spencer who will tell the tale of one of the most thrilling chapters in royal history – Charles II’s escape following his defeat at the Battle of Worcester.
Winchester Poetry Day – 14 October
We do love a good poetry festival, here at Vada. Winchester Poetry Festival will bring together some of the UK’s most celebrated contemporary poets for a day of workshops, close readings and performances. Poets Sarah Howe, Sasha Dugdale, Sarah Hesketh, Hannah Lowe, Rachel Curzon and Matt West, will be on hand to explore poetry writing techniques, discuss their poetic practice and share their insights throughout the day. There will also be a free guided tour of the city’s poetry hotspots, ranging from places connected to Keats, Austen and Hardy.
Winchester Theatre Royal
Set in an Edwardian-style auditorium, the Theatre Royal Winchester has an exciting programme of productions over the autumn period. Between 16 to 17 September, the theatre is hosting Austen Undone, an entertaining promenade performance through Winchester. Join the Natural Theatre Company to explore the city from a totally Austen perspective. And for younger audiences and those who are young at heart, The Gruffalo will be playing from 6 to 8 October. Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book.
Wine Festival Winchester – 24 to 25 November
Wine Festival Winchester is a chance for everyone to enjoy a feast of fabulous wines in the company of Susie & Peter Richards, Masters of Wine from BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen. Hundreds of delicious wines will be on offer, which all visitors can sample from brilliant English wine producers to prestigious global brands via local wine shops and a wide range of quality wine suppliers. Tickets available, priced at £30.
Charlotte Maxwell is a Vada Magazine staff writer.
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