January is a time for resolutions, but we can be so strict with ourselves that sometimes we find it hard to keep them. So instead, consider this list suggestions of fun, educational, interesting things you can do to enhance your life and the everyday – with places you can visit to get 2022 off to a flying start!
Get some exercise, reconnect with nature, have fun!
After a Christmas of indulgence our TVs are encouraging us all to go to the gym, but why slog it out on a treadmill when you can explore the great outdoors. Follow one of our free walking trails with family or friends and get in touch with nature while learning about the region’s historic and literary past. Or explore the South Downs National Park by bike. Hire a mountain or electric bike or tandem from Bespoke Biking on Middle Brook Street. If you’re a runner, train for the Winchester 10k – kicking off bright and early at 8.30am on 20 February. Or if you were inspired by Strictly Come Dancing and you’re relatively local, get some exercise at a dance class. Florian School of Dance runs ballet, modern, jazz, tap and contemporary lessons for all ages at locations across Winchester. Join for fun or prepare for an exam. Or try salsa, West Coast swing and zumba with Salsa y Sol Winchester – classes currently livestreamed.
Learn something new!
Winchester Science Centre is a great place to expand the mind, and from 22 January to 13 March (weekends and school holidays) the Science Chefs show will teach you all about chemistry in cooking. Expect fire-filled demos and an explosive sugar flame-thrower, returning as part of the centre’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Or take a trip through space with their Solar System Adventure show. Rainbows, Beavers, Brownies, Cubs, Guides and Scouts are also invited to a series of after-hours events for a chance to explore science, engineering and space in order to achieve their Curiosity Badge. Or if you prefer history, the city has a wide range of museums and attractions dedicated to the district’s ancient past. From The Great Hall to the Military Quarter and Winchester College, find out more here.
Play an instrument or be in a show!
If you live in Winchester or can make it here weekly, on Friday mornings (14 January to 8 April) Theatre Royal Winchester will host Ukes for All’s Ukulele Beginners’ Course. Young people can join Winnall Rock School for band and song writing workshops and 1:1 tuition. If musical theatre is your thing, WMOS (Winchester Musicals and Operatic Society) hold auditions every six months so why not see if you can star in a show. Past productions have included Anything Goes, The Witches of Eastwick, and Made in Dagenham. Likewise, Encore Youth Theatre are always looking for bright, young stars; their past shows have included Guys and Dolls and Fiddler on the Roof.
Cook up a storm!
Become more confident in the kitchen and impress your friends after following one of Season Cookery School‘s cookery classes. Based at Lainston House Hotel, the school is holding a series of classes (from knife skills to stocks and sauces) from January onward – with each one repeated several times in case you can’t make a date. Or The Natural Cook Company in Alton hosts adult and children’s classes and experience days. Choose from pasta making to baking, Indian, Thai, vegan, gluten-free and more.
Fancy some arts and crafts this year? Well BellaCrafts in Kings Walk offers monthly subscription boxes and individual kits to test the water with felting, sewing and jewellery design. In person workshops range from beginners crochet to slime making! The Colour Factory, on Gordon Road, is hosting ring carving workshops with metalsmith Emily Smith this month; and from February, six-week drawing and painting courses for all abilities. Also stop by Closs & Hamblin, at the bottom of the High Street, for tapestry, knitting, macrame, miniature model-making kits, and more. Follow their Facebook page for in-store event updates. For inspiration, visit the Art & Design Market held every third Sunday of the month in Winchester city centre, where you’ll find fine art, wood carvings, sculptures, textiles and more.
Become more sustainable, plant your own!
Everyone’s talking about doing their bit to save the planet and Incredible Edible Winchester are cutting their carbon footprint by growing seasonal food at their community allotments on Edington Road. If you’d like to join them (beginners welcome), they meet on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Learn more about the Incredible Edible movement here. Alternatively, Winchester has a number of other allotment sites if you’d like to cultivate your own space to grow vegetables and make a home for wildlife, create a corner for peace and quiet, or get some exercise. To find out more visit here. If you have your own garden or balcony that needs tending to, search online for local garden centres. Also consider visiting Gilbert White’s House and Garden for kitchen garden, pond and wildflower habitat inspiration.
If every year you think you must read more, check out P&G Wells on College Street, in Kingsgate Village – an independent bookshop, open since 1729, selling everything from children’s books to art history, science, cookery, and local authors. The shop hosts author events and book launches, and stocks stationary too (if you’d like to write a diary this year). If you’re looking for rare and vintage books, the Winchester Bookshop – tucked down a passageway off St George’s Street, and open Tuesday to Saturday – is the place to go. It was established in 1991 by four local enthusiastic and knowledgeable book dealers. Visit their Facebook page for a glimpse inside. Alternatively, if you enjoy a rummage (while giving to charity), Oxfam Books & Music on Parchment Street has two floors of pre-loved books. Finally, learn about one of the country’s most beloved authors (and local!) with a visit to Jane Austen’s House, in Chawton. Or join them online on 28 January to celebrate Pride & Prejudice Day (first published on 28 January 1813).
Enjoy some shows!
Perhaps you’d like to get out and about more and enjoy live performance. From January through February, Theatre Royal Winchester has children’s favourite Julia Donaldson’s The Smeds and The Smoos, magic from Winchester’s own Ben Hart, comedy from Jenny Eclair and Stephen K Amos, dance-circus, music, drama, talks and more. Visit here for their ‘what’s on’, and to book tickets. Winchester is also packed with cosy pubs, lively bars, music venues, and a host of restaurants serving up delicious world cuisine – so explore, soak up the atmosphere and make it an evening to remember.