I’ve previously blogged about a few ways to spend Valentine’s Day here in Winchester (read them here) – but a few things have changed around the city since then. So, with Valentine’s 2019 just around the corner, here’s an updated list of inspiration and reasons to spend Valentine’s Day in the city.
1. It’s great for friends, family and Galentine’s Day
The 14th of February can simply be a day to celebrate everyone you love, including your close friends. You may be choosing to observe Galentine’s Day and recognise all the wonderful women in your in life. Maybe you just want to celebrate with a great group of people that you love – either way, here is a great recommendation:
‘One Love’ at Turtle Bay: Turtle Bay have launched an epic new Valentine’s menu… and it’s not just for lovers. Bringing the laid back, sunshine spirit of the Caribbean to the UK, Turtle Bay are celebrating love in all its forms this Valentine’s. Forget candlelit dinners and say hello to a reggae-inspired feast made for sharing…it’s all about One Love at Turtle Bay this Valentine’s.
The special four-course menu has been created with LOVE in mind – not just romance. Turtle Bay is all about sharing great food with the people you adore – from best friends to grandparents and so Turtle Bay’s new Valentines Menu is available for an extended period (until 17th February) – because love knows no bounds at Turtle Bay. And because this menu is not restricted to couples – it’s made to share, get stuck into, and to wash down with a range of perfectly paired rum cocktails, whether that be with a boyfriend, grandma, brother, best friend, husband or the whole squad.
2. It doesn’t have to be expensive
If you’re looking for free romance in the city, St. Giles Hill is top of the list I think. The viewpoint is a magical spot, where you can look over the whole of Winchester and reminisce about memories and places in the city. I’ve often thought it would be a perfect place to propose to someone.
3. The cinema really is something special
A trip to the cinema might not sound like the most original idea for Valentine’s Day, however Everyman Winchester (The Screen), really is a little bit special. It couldn’t be more different to some of the big chain cinemas. I highly recommend walking there and getting a nice bottle of wine to share with your film. Alternatively, if you have to drive they have some lovely coffees too. Choose a few of the gourmet nibbles on offer as well and it’s a perfect occasion. For RomCom enthusiasts, there’s even a 20th anniversary screening of Notting Hill being shown on Valentine’s Day.
4. Winchester’s chocolate game is strong
Nothing quite says Valentine’s like chocolate does it?! Chococo is the perfect spot for a daytime date. The locally-roasted coffee is great and of course the hot chocolate menu is amazing. I recommend indulging in their Deluxe Hot Chocolate. There are plenty of yummy savoury treats on offer for anyone who doesn’t have a sweet tooth too. You can also pick up lovely locally-made Valentines gifts in Chococo – a bespoke box of chocolates featuring only your loved one’s favourites makes a very special gift.
5. There’s something even if you don’t really ‘do’ Valentines
Not a fan of enforced romance? I’m on the fence myself (though I will take any excuse to eat out and drink Champagne!). So, if you don’t like all the cliché of Valentine’s, here is something to consider from Winchester’s coolest cocktail spot, The Cabinet Rooms:
Join their Secret Underground Film Society here to find out more.
6. You don’t need a plan
When you’ve got a city as beautiful as Winchester on your doorstep, you don’t necessarily need to plan a date – just go for a wander, take in the historic scenery, visit some of the fabulous independent shops and enjoy your time together. I recommend the Kingsgate Village area – this lovely little tucked away part of Winchester is just a delight to explore. It’s all a little bit Hogwarts-looking and features some great independent shops. I particularly like Kingsgate Books & Prints, which has some wonderful artwork depicting Winchester scenery. These make perfect gifts, especially if you met your partner in Winchester or spent your courting years there! I always like to pass the spot of the house where Jane Austen died too, she is after all, a wise woman who wrote a great deal about love and relationships. While you’re in the area, the Wykeham Arms is a nice spot for a drink too…and, fun fact: Canon Street next to the pub, was once the red light district of Winchester!
And here’s a few more reasons…
- Winchester’s Chesil Rectory restaurant was once voted the 3rd most romantic in the country
- We have the amazing Black Bottle, a wine bar with wall-mounted vending machines that dispense interesting wines by the glass. It’s a perfect place for Valentine’s evening, cosy and a real experience.
- Winchester is home to Rick Stein’s first restaurant outside of Cornwall and it’s such a great place. Oysters or Fruits de mer platter to share anyone?
- We have a lot of good coffee. Seriously, there is such a strong and vibrant cafe culture in Winchester with plenty of independent coffee shops. Some of the best in my opinion are Josies, Flat Whites, Cabinet Rooms and Rawberry.
- It’s a pizza lovers paradise, in addition to some of the usual chains Winchester has three really stand out pizza restaurants: Three Joes, Pi and The Stable – you can’t go wrong at either of these for a great pizza.
- We’re not short on cocktails in Winchester either – you’ll find some of the city’s best at Incognito, Cabinet Rooms and Number 5 Bridge Street.
- And if you just want a cosy night in, you’ll be pleased to hear that Winchester has Deliveroo to bring the food you’re craving right to your door.
Whatever you’re up to this Valentine’s week – have a good one! Xx