Friday, 9 March 2012

A gourmet day in Winchester

Winchester Cathedral from the Square
09: 30 First awake in one of the hotels in historic Winchester. The Wykeham Arms 18th inn is one of the best options as is the Winchester Hotel Du Vin the very first Hotel du Vin as usual offers good accommodation in the heart of historic Winchester , the breakfast menu offers  very well cooked traditional English breakfasts with very good French pastries like pain au chocolat or croissants


10:45 Ahead to the Westgate and then go to the Great Hall and Sally Port, the only surviving parts of the Winchester Castle, the medieval building founded in 1067 after the Norman invasion at the time was an important stronghold that served as  the English capital before moving  to London. Henry III adds the impressive Great Hall. Inside is hanging over one of the walls a medieval representation of the king Arthur’s round table, weighing 1200kg and made form English oak and later on painted in times of Henry VIII catapult your imagination to the English knights tales. Attached to the Hall is an enjoyable small museum with the history of Winchester through historic documents and photographs.

Winchester High Street has a local food market on Wednesday
11:30 Walk back to West-gate and walk down all the pedestrianized High Street, most of the shop are chains that  offer nothing new, but take a close look at  the impressive architecture with Regency and Elizabethan bow-fronted windows, the impressive clock of the Lloyds Bank Building (also have a quick glance inside) . Almost at the end you can find the Winchester Guildhall with a historic Victorian fa├žade and next are the Abbey Gardens a nice place to rest and have a takeaway snack.

Winchester City Mill over the river
12:15 Stay in the High Street and a street after the gardens you will find the Winchester City Mill. Now this historic working mill is really worth a visit to discover the history and techniques of milling over the River Itchen.  Once inside look-up for the 18th century timber roof and in the centre of the room it is a proper millstone that thanks to the National Trust is still milling. Downstairs  is the Waterwheel and gears moved by the power of the millrace. Again in the main room a door leads to a little and charming island garden. Also the Winchester City mill is an otter watch centre.

Hotel du Vin dine room
13:30. Lunch time. Again The Wykeham Arms is a very good option like Hotel Du Vin. Hotel Du Vin menu offers since Burger in a brioche bread or a very tender ox cheek dish with an impressive wine menu in a well design dinners room

Winchester medieval tiles
15:30 From the restaurant go to the Winchester Cathedral a real architecture gem founded 1079 but works continued to 16th century. Inside the cathedral you find rich bishop’s tombs, chapels, great examples of medieval architecture and in particular I was impressed by the floor medieval tiles dated from 13th century the largest area of this kind in whole United Kingdom.


16:30 Cross the little square outside the Cathedral and have a quick glance to the Winchester City Museum, roman tiles and old fashion shops are on display. And walk in a narrow street full of restaurants and shops (Pizza Gourmet is always with students and the Pizzas are quite good) and come back to the High Street. Have a coffee break in the modern interior design Caracoli a high quality coffee shop that also offers seasonal cakes and biscuits for your coffee.

House overt the River Itchen
17:15 With the late afternoon lights of Winchester is good idea stroll around by the streets. Come back to the Cathedral, and explore the Pilgrims Hall area with the Winchester Cathedral Close houses in Tudor style. Pass the Gates and walk down College Street in the way to Winchester College, in the right side is Jane Austin house and the college. Winchester College is still running since 1382 and for this reason the tours have restricted time. Further Down in the left side the Bishops House and Wolvesey castle ruins. At the end of College Street it is the Winchester walls surrounded by gardens and the River Itchen where you can sit down to watch playful ducks.

Black Boy pub is a collectors dream
Inside of the Black Boy Pub

18:30 Getting dark and bit tired. Cross the river and ahead to Wharf Hill, a beautiful garden spot. Up the Hill is waiting for you one of the best English Pub that you can imagine brewing local ales and interesting pub dishes full of quality and charming fires. The Black Boy is much more than a simple pub it is a real collectors museum, whatever you sit or which area of the pub you are you will be amazed by the different objects  old vintage bottles, model airplanes and donkey and monkeys (not real, well I guess) that they look all engaged with the conversation of the local drinkers.

Hare at the black Rat
20:00 Just up to the corner of the Black Boy and by the same owner is the Black Rat Restaurant, another interior where you feel amazed by the details, that really feel that you are in another time being served Michelin star food with a lot of Spanish glimpses to the south Spanish countryside cuisine by Chris Bailey




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