How to spend a sunny Sunday in Winchester, Hampshire

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:chococo children's drawing competition

Winchester Cathedral

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.Winchester cathedralWe 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.Winchester Cathedral grounds

 

Have you ever visited Winchester? And would you have been equally tempted by these chocolates?!

22 thoughts on “How to spend a sunny Sunday in Winchester, Hampshire

  1. I’ve been there a lot as I’ve always lived near it; I now live down the road in Basingstoke (and commute to London daily). The chocolate shop is nice but I’ve never been in it because I know it’ll end in tears…someday I will go when I’m resisting the temptation. 🙂 There’s a Montzuma’s Chocolates there…actually the first in the chain I’d been to! I love their chocolate.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 15, 2014 — 9:36 am

      Oh I’ll have to try out Montzuma’s too! Thanks for the tip – what a lovely part of the country to live near. And if you can do the commute from there, then I’ve definitely got no excuse not to head back there for a visit every so often from London! Thanks so much for reading Jenn 🙂

  2. I lived in Hampshire for several years and spent several lovely weekends in Winchester. Whenever I go back to England I love to head to Winchester and just wander the town. Next time I need to find the chocolate shop 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 15, 2014 — 9:37 am

      Oh did you really? How lovely! I spent a lot of my life in Surrey, which is so nearby but never managed to explore Winchester till now! Do make time for the chocolate shop if you are back – you won’t regret it! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. I can never resist chocolate! Winchester is such a pretty town which I explored one December – it was pretty as a Victorian Christmas card.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 15, 2014 — 9:39 am

      I’ve heard a few people mentioning how beautiful Winchester Christmas Markets are! I’m a huge sucker for all things Christmasy and would love to go back there near Christmas time and see how picturesque and magical it must be! And I’m a full-blown chocoholic – this is why I felt a real sense of understanding with the little child’s drawing 🙂 Thanks for reading Suzanne 🙂

  4. Winchester looks so lovely! I’ve never heard about it before, I’m always looking for new towns and cities to explore and this one looks good. I just checked and it’s not far from London so I could do a day trip.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 15, 2014 — 9:41 am

      Thanks Melissa! Winchester is ideal for a relaxing and pretty day out from London and like you say, it’s not too far at all and very easy to get to by train so I’d definitely recommend it and as Suzanne mentioned in the comment above, Christmas time might be a lovely time to go as well 🙂

  5. Winchester looks charming. And I think you know how much those chocolates are tempting me right now 😉 Lovely post and pictures, Shikha!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 15, 2014 — 9:42 am

      I thought you might enjoy the chocolate photos Nita! It was delicious – I bought a few souvenirs for my “husband”…ahem, I think we both know who they were really for!! It’s a charming place and perfect for a relaxing Sunday stroll. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  6. Wonchester looks like a delightful place to visit but I might just be saying that because you sold me with the chocolate

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 15, 2014 — 9:43 am

      Hehe, I like to think it is quaint and charming in its own right – but yes, I agree, colourful photos of chocolates, cakes and sweet jars certainly brighten up any town or city 🙂 Thanks for reading Jenna!

  7. I love Winchester, such an underrated city!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 15, 2014 — 12:32 pm

      Yes having just seen it for the first time, I completely agree Becky! So pretty 🙂

  8. More chocolate?!?! Okay I’ll let you off on this one because that place looks fab! I could do with some of that right now 😉 Might have to add Winchester to my list of places to explore a bit closer to home.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 15, 2014 — 6:10 pm

      It’s great for a relaxing day out from London and trust me, when you try the chocolates, you’ll definitely let me off Ayla 🙂

  9. I went to university in Southampton, so this post really took me back, thank-you! If you ever have the chance, as people have said before, make sure you go to the Christmas market. A little expensive obviously, but it’s beautiful and there’s plenty of mulled wine!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 17, 2014 — 10:14 pm

      How lovely it must have been studying near such lovely areas 🙂 Yes, I’m really keen to visit the Christmas markets there now that you’ve all raved about it – I’m even pondering whether I might be able to squeeze it in this year and the London ones are pretty pricey but even without buying much, it can be wonderful just roaming around taking in the markets 🙂 Thanks so much for reading Katie!

  10. I’ve only been to Winchester a couple of times but this post makes me want to go back – if only to go to that chocolate cafe!

    Laura
    Sometime Traveller

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 17, 2014 — 10:15 pm

      That’s twice more than I had been till this year Laura! But yes, if you are thinking of heading back there, the chocolate cafe is definitely a worthwhile reason – delicious chocolates and cakes but also just such pretty colours and displays in there! Thanks so much for commenting 🙂

  11. I have been very lucky in my business life, which has allowed me to travel the world, with enough spare time to explore my surroundings, however, I love the UK, we may not have the tallest mountains, or the deepest lakes, but we have such a wide variety of landscapes in such a small area, that I don’t think you can find better anywhere in the world. Coupled with our wonderful history, beautiful buildings and usually temperate climate, I’m lucky to be and Englishman in England!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 22, 2014 — 5:50 pm

      Loved this comment Dominic – left me feeling delighted to be living in the UK! You are right about the diversity of landscapes though and I really must make more effort to explore more of them – so many beautiful parts of this country (both well known and lesser known) that I’m still to discover!

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