Sometimes in life, it’s the people closest to us that we take for granted the most. And sometimes in travel, the same applies. For years, I grew up taking the train to school and hearing about Winchester daily, as its name would monotonously blare out from the projectors at the train station. Who even knew that once upon a time this was an ancient capital of England? I get so caught up in the modern day capital that I just ignore the charming peripheral cities and towns, which are so eager to share their secret assets with us.
Perhaps it’s just about needing an excuse to give you the impetus to explore a place that hadn’t really registered on your radar and fortunately for us, that excuse was the spa hen weekend near Winchester that we had booked for our dear friend’s hen party. And so, after a Saturday full of massages, giggles and girly chats, we ventured into Winchester on a warm and bright Sunday.
It was a rather a lucky coincidence that it happened to be the first Sunday of the month, as this is the exact time when the monthly antiques market takes place, full of bric-a-brac, vintage brooches and sweet jars, quirky furniture and oodles of attitude. I took a particular shining to the pearl and jewel encrusted bridal tiaras that two of the brides-to-be in our cohort were trying on and I must admit, it did make me miss being a birde – but onwards and upwards!
The Best Chocolate in Winchester at Chococo
It was an even luckier coincidence that we walked past the Chococo cafe in perfect time for a mid morning coffee break. After the indulgences of a heavy Saturday night, no one was in the mood for a proper meal. After all, we had bridesmaid and bridal outfits to be getting into in a few weeks time and we knew our limits. Or did we? Where chocolate is concerned, there is always a hungry bit of my belly waiting to be satiated and this colourful, feminine and friendly cafe had enough choice of handmade chocolates, ice creams and cakes to leave the mind boggling.
As gourmand as their hot chocolates sounded, it was a sweltering day and I opted for the dulce de leche frozen hot chocolate but we certainly weren’t complaining when some complimentary chocolates came our way with flavours as intriguing as cardamom, white chocolate and pistachio. I rather liked the children’s drawing competition entries that were displayed across a wall at the back and let’s just say that this astute child spoke on all our behalves when she said:
But antiques and chocolates aside, Winchester’s greatest legacy must surely lie with its Gothic cathedral and the grassy lawn that surrounds it, which on a sun soaked day provides one of the most perfect picnic spots in southern England.We lay in the shadow of the cathedral, relaxing, snoozing, elongating time and getting an instant flavour for just why it is that so many people leave the hustle and bustle of a city to relocate to somewhere like this.
Have you ever visited Winchester? And would you have been equally tempted by these chocolates?!