You’re never far from a tranquil space to spread out your picnic blanket – whether you’re in the city centre or exploring the district. Here are our top picnic spots across the district…
The historic Cathedral Close lies at the spiritual and physical heart of Winchester. It’s a large, tranquil green space in a densely built-up city, much of it sheltered behind ancient flint and stone walls. Dean Garnier Garden is one of Winchester’s hidden gems – this tranquil and beautifully planted walled garden in the Inner Close stands on the site of the monks’ dormitory that was once part the great medieval Priory of St Swithun.
Adjacent to Winchester’s Victorian Guildhall, Abbey Gardens is great for families who want to sit amongst the colourful blooms under the watchful eye of King Alfred’s statue before the children burn off some energy in the park.
St Giles Hill
A short walk from the city centre with benches for those needing a treat after the short but steep climb. You’ll be rewarded with a wonderful bird’s-eye view across the city.
St Catherine’s Hill
A dramatic 220ft climb up St Catherine’s Hill’s wooden stairs reveals showstopping views of Winchester city, as well as the Itchen Valley floodplains and the downland it nestles in. At the summit are the earthworks of an Iron Age fort, buried ruins of the Norman chapel that gives the site its name, and a copse of beech trees. In the summer you’ll be able to hear the cackle of a woodpecker, spy buzzards and kestrels hunting in the valley below, and meet our friendly British White cattle that graze the site to encourage wildlife to flourish.
A nice surprise at the top is the Mizmaze – kids will love running around it’s paths to see where it leads…
On the way down look out for some of the 25 species of breeding butterfly that call it home, including chalkhill blues, brown arguses and marbled whites. Keen eyed visitors might also spot some of the rarer orchids dotted across the hill’s slopes and meadows, including musk orchids, frog orchids and autumn lady’s tresses. St Catherine’s Hill is a fabulous place to enjoy a summer walk.
A huge expanse of space for a chilled picnic. Bring a skipping rope, football or hula hoop for hours of fun.
A lovely green open area surrounded by trees on the hill above the centre of the city with great views. Perfect for walking dogs too.
Enjoy the sounds of the River Itchen flowing by – plenty of bird life to spot amongst the lush green water meadows.
® Harvey Mills Photography 2017
Please remember when heading outside to follow the Government guidelines on social distancing. Stay 2metres apart and do not gather in groups of more that two, unless it is with members of your own household or for other specific reasons set out my law. Remember to stay alert when you leave your home.