Visit Winchester > Blog > Shop Local and celebrate our British high streets

Shop Local and celebrate our British high streets

Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral

This week the Government is running a #ShopLocal week, as part of its #EnjoySummerSafely campaign. So what better way to celebrate than with a trip to one of our high streets across the Winchester district? Support our local businesses across Winchester and treat yourself to a new book, try out some new local ales or update your summer wardrobe. 

Many of our shops are now open once again and are delighted to be back welcoming customers. They have introduced new measures in response to government guidelines to reassure residents, locals and visitors. All they ask of you is that you pop in and take a look at what’s on offer – but please make sure you have your face covering and remember to maintain social distancing as well as look out for any new procedures they have in store to make sure their staff and other customers feel comfortable.

Things may look a little different, so please take your time, be patient and respect other shoppers. You may have to queue for a little longer at times outside our shops, but what a great opportunity to take time and enjoy the views surrounding our historic high streets?

And if an area looks busy just come back later or take the opportunity to discover what lies along one of Winchester’s medieval side streets just off the main high street? If you’re visiting one of the district’s beautiful market towns take the chance to wander through one of the nature reserves or riverside walks before you hit the high street.

Don’t miss the chance to Shop Local at one of our street markets too.

What new measures are in place in Winchester city centre and the market towns?

Whether you are visiting Winchester city centre or one of our beautiful market towns you can expect to see areas which have been given over to pedestrian priority creating wider streets to walk along.

We’ve got new street markings and social distancing signage to remind people to respect others while they are out and about.

Winchester High Street, Robin Creative Media

Winchester High Street, Robin Creative Media

There are one-way pedestrian flows and queuing zones to make it easier for you to do a spot of local shopping.

City centre shopping

Winchester offers an exclusive shopping experience with big name brands including Marks & Spencer and Debenhams. Within The Brooks Shopping Centre you’ll find TK Maxx, Primark and The Works – great for picking up craft essentials and activities to keep the kids entertained this summer. But what makes Winchester different from any other high street is not just the historic buildings and glimpses of countryside beyond the old city walls, it’s the variety of Independent shops on offer, selling everything from bespoke homeware, gifts and books to vintage fashions, handmade jewellery and delicious local produce. Walk through the doors of P&G Wells in Kingsgate Village, to the south of Winchester Cathedral, and you feel like you are stepping back in time to 1729 when the shop started selling books.

If you’ve developed a taste for baking during lockdown then make sure you pay a trip to Dinghams – an independent family-run cookware shop and purveyor of extraordinary treasures for your kitchen and home. Established since 1982, the welcoming Dinghams team leaves no stone unturned when it comes to bringing you the finest in bakeware, cookware, kitchen equipment and homewares.

No shopping trip to Winchester would be complete without a trip to The Hambledon. A favourite amongst the locals, The Hambledon is an award-winning, independent lifestyle store featuring beauty and grooming ranges, fashion, stationery and stylish homeware.

And for expert stationery advice, pop up the high street to Warren & Son where several of their shopkeepers have been with Warrens for more than 10 years resulting in an amazing wealth of experience. So they pride themselves in knowing what their customers want.

The Visitor Information Centre next to the Guildhall is now open for information, advice and local produce and gifts from 10am until 3pm Monday to Saturday. Our local team of experts has been out exploring what’s on their doorstep during lockdown and found even more hidden gems to share with you as well as great ideas for days out.

Head to our market towns for a spot of retail therapy

Bishop’s Waltham is a historic market town set in the glorious Hampshire countryside. The medieval high street is remarkably well preserved and is home to a broad range of Independent shops, cafes and delicatessens. After a spot of shopping why not take a stroll through the local nature reserve or wander round the ruins of the medieval Bishop’s Waltham Palace.

Nestling in the heart of the picturesque Meon Valley, the ancient market town of Wickham has a laid-back and welcoming shopping experience. A wander around The Square reveals enticing, enchanting independent shops, intriguing shopping lanes and traditional stores and services that have been serving locals and visitors for generations. Once the delights of The Square have been discovered, no one with an eye for a bargain should leave Wickham without a visit to Chesapeake Mill on Bridge Street.

Winchester is well know for its local produce which you will find in many delicatessens, shops and eateries. The clear streams of the River Itchen are home to delicious trout, the rolling chalk hills and south facing slopes provide perfect conditions for vineyards and Alresford is the hub of the UK’s watercress industry. A Georgian town of colour-washed houses, Alresford is a beautiful alternative to city centre shopping. After browsing in the specialist shops follow the linked footpaths around the town on a riverside walk past the watercress beds and watch the heritage steam train come in and out of the Mid Hants Railway Station.

Shopping in Bishop's Waltham

Shopping in Bishop’s Waltham

Refuel with a bite to eat

Every shopping trip needs to allow time for plenty of breaks to stop and refuel. And the great news is that if your shopping on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday you can enjoy 50% off your bill – that means more money to spend on clothes! More than 70 restaurants, bars and cafes across Winchester are taking part in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme throughout August. You can find a full list here.

Now you’ll find even more outside seating space in our market towns and in the city centre, and with all this great weather you could be anywhere in Europe. Book a table at one of the cafes in The Square and soak up the alfresco café culture.

Or grab a takeaway from one of our local cafes and enjoy a picnic in Abbey Gardens or sit by the river at North Walls.

Visitors and staff in the square at cafes

The Square in Winchester, Robin Creative Media