Watercress: Winchester's local leaf
Watercress has made its mark on the Winchester District with acres of watercress beds spanning the Itchen and Meon Valleys. Celebrate this local leaf by picking up a copy of The Winchester Watercress Tour, available for £1 from the tourist information centre. You can ride the Watercress Line - also known as the Mid-Hants Steam Railway - which runs real ale and dining trains throughout the year, or take part in the annual Watercress Festival held in Alresford during May.
Food from the chalk streams
The River Itchen, which runs through the heart of the Winchester District, along with the River Test to the south west of Winchester, are famous for the wild trout which thrive in their clear, fast-running waters. You can sample local fish at numerous pubs and restaurants in the area.
Mine's a pint
The Winchester District is home to a number of fine ales. Look out for the Itchen Valley Brewery at Alresford, Suthwyk Ales at Southwick and the award-winning Flower Pots micro-brewery at Cheriton. You'll be able to sample many of these local brews in pubs around the District but if you want to see how the amber nectar is made, the Itchen Valley Brewery offers guided tours for groups.
An increasing number of Winchester eateries are cooking with local produce. Some have received the Hampshire Hospitality Award for their use of local produce in the menu under the new quality accreditation scheme for Hampshire businesses. Take a look at our Hampshire Hospitality Award pages for details of the latest winners.
Don't despair if your visit does not quite coincide with Winchester's fabulous farmers' markets. You can still sample the best of Hampshire's finest local produce with Hampshire Fare's free guide to local producers of food, drink and craft in the county. Visit the Hampshire Fare website to request a copy.