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Love Winchester this Valentine’s weekend

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This year Valentine’s Day falls on the least romantic day of the week – Monday! So here are some ideas for how to spend the weekend before – whether that’s cosying up with a partner, showing a friend you care, or spending some quality time with family…

Roses and wine glasses in candlelight

… and nothing says I love you like flowers! So visit The Original Flower Stall, selling flowers on the High Street for over 12 years, for stunning roses, tulips and seasonal blooms. Catkin & Pussywillow, beside the train station, also has an array of beautiful Valentine’s Day bouquets available.

Plus, everyone enjoys a bottle of fizz on this special occasion, so why not stop by one of England’s leading sparkling wine producers, Hambledon Vineyard. Book a spot on a tour to see their state-of-the-art winery (the only one of its kind in the UK) and taste the finished product. Also, they’ve teamed up with Winchester Cocoa Company to create a luxurious bubbles and caramel chocolates bundle to gift.

The vines at Hambledon Vineyard

If you’re in the village of Chawton, visit the home of classic romance, Pride and Prejudice. See, hear, smell and take part in extraordinary moments from history at Jane Austen’s House with the multi-sensory exhibition – ‘Six Winters’: Scenes from Jane Austen’s Life and Imagination. After, extend your visit with a delicious afternoon tea or pub lunch across the road.

Any evening Friday to Sunday take a romantic stroll through the city for your last chance to see Lights in the City – extended by popular demand! Witness the ‘changing of the seasons’ with a coloured light trail through the city centre. Enjoy iconic landmarks like Winchester Guildhall lit up and installations. Finish in Abbey Gardens and enjoy dinner and a glass of red in Inn the Park‘s beautiful restaurant and bar.

Christmas Cookery School

Gift yourself and a loved one a cookery class at Season Cookery School, at Lainston House. Perfect your steak; make delicious pasta; barbecue like a master; craft tempting chocolates; and more. Or browse the stalls at Hampshire Farmers’ Market this Sunday, in Winchester city centre, to pick up all the ingredients to cook a tasty meal for loved ones. Visit their website for spring recipe ideas.

Enjoy Chawton House’s Snowdrop Sunday. Take in the gardens carpeted in stunning white snowdrops – a sign that sunnier days are on their way! Join one of two tours; there’s a snowdrop themed kids trail; plus dogs are welcome so bring man’s best friend! Or gain half price entry in to Gilbert White’s House and Garden, in Selborne, this weekend for their annual celebration of the snowdrop – also with tours.

Interior of theatre showing stage and curtains

If you’re looking for a little magic this weekend, Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Magical Bones, will be combining sleight of hand with mesmerising illusions as part of his much-anticipated debut UK tour, at Theatre Royal Winchester on Saturday night. Suitable for families, children aged 10+.

Relax and unwind at one of the many spas across the district. The city’s newest, Ana Spa, at the Holiday Inn Winchester, has a Himalayan Salt sauna, crystal steam room, hydrotherapy pool, experience packages (to enjoy with family and friends as much as a partner) and treatments including facials, full body massage, deep muscle release and flower detox wrap.

Image of couple drinking wine

Treat yourself to a cocktail with a difference at ‘playful tavern’, Incognito, at St John’s House, The Broadway. Sample theatrical (including flaming and smoking) drinks with names such as The Greatest Showman, Turtle Island and Breakfast at Chadwick’s. Craft beer, spirits and wine also available.

Finally, we are a nation of animal lovers so wrap up warm and gather your nearest and dearest for a day out at Marwell Zoo, at Colden Common, where you’ll meet Mr and Mrs of all species from giraffe, meerkat, rhino, monkey and flamingo. Show some love for their conservation work with a donation, by adopting an animal, becoming an annual member and more.

Whatever you choose to do, the city centre is packed with great independent shops to buy the perfect present/s; restaurants serving the finest world cuisine; and pubs and bars to take a quiet moment out to spend with a loved one; and if you decide one day isn’t enough, why not stay the night in one of the city’s hotels, b&bs or inns.