A Weekend in Winchester

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

As you may know, I had a big birthday recently. A lovely gift from my parents was a weekend away with Mr DI. We choose Winchester: neither of us had been there before, it's not a long drive from London and I'd heard it was worth a visit.

We stayed at fabulous Lainston House, about a 10 minute drive from the town.  A wonderful 5-star country hotel set in 63 acres of parkland.

It was all big fires and comfy sofas...
The food was to die for.  We had dinner in the restaurant on both nights - three courses, plus a pre-starter 'amuse bouche', a pre-dessert 'palate cleanser', and there were plenty of interesting veggie options for me!  There's a kitchen garden which provides seasonal produce and they have their own organic yogurt and jam available at breakfast.
I loved the little touches at Lainston:
Fresh milk and biscuits delivered to your room at any time...
Cool design features in the bathroom...

A 'do not disturb' owl to hang on the door...

And even a selection of wellies for guests to borrow!

Speaking of which, it did, err, rain, just a tad!  So the wellies came out as we headed off to explore the land and visit the resident birds of prey.

Lainston's falconer, Billy, and his gorgeous labrador Ben were around to chat to, even though the birds themselves were feeling rather unsociable due to the weather!

Quite a lot of wildlife at Lainston it seems!

Despite the weather, we did venture into Winchester.  It's a lovely old town, with lots of history and a nice mix of high street and high end shops.  Map in one hand, umbrella in the other, we explored the streets...

Which were rather wet...

The highlight of Winchester is its majestic cathedral, which dates back to Norman times.

We took a tour with a guide, who told us a little about the history and showed us the best bits.

I especially loved some of the textiles, like this magnificent embroidered altar cloth.

The British author, Jane Austen, is buried here.  There's also a brass memorial plaque - her grave makes no mention of her being a writer, apparently because in those days only men were considered to be authors...ahem!

The highlight of the cathedral for me was the crypt and Antony Gormley's sculpture Sound II, made from lead out of a plaster cast of the artist's own body.  As you can see, the crypt floods, which creates exquisite reflections of the surrounding arches around the sculpture - just beautiful.

Also worth a visit in this small city is Winchester Castle, where you can see the 'Round Table', a large hanging tabletop which bears the names of various knights of King Arthur's court.

I particularly liked a beautiful pairs of gates in the castle, which were installed to commemorate the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana in 1981.  A beautiful initial and date detail, don't you think? 
So all in all, despite the rather disappointingly British weather, we had a wonderful weekend in Hampshire.  I throughly recommend Winchester as a quick, relaxing getaway from London and the Lainston is definitely staying in my contacts list!

The shots in this post were taken with my new Canon 650D, which I'm loving - more on that coming soon...


  1. Wow! I love your photos particularly the Lainston House.
    I've never been there before. I am really impressed with the place.

    Danyelle Franciosa
    Bi-fold Doors Brisbane

    1. I was really happy with my choice - I definitely recommend it Danyelle if you come to the UK!

  2. I will really consider that place Claire.
    Thank you!



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