Winchester Life Hacks

I love a good Life Hack…you know, those handy tips and quick fixes that save time and energy. Sometimes it’s the simplest tricks that make the biggest difference. Things like rolling your clothes instead of folding them when packing for a holiday – you can get so much more in and there are far fewer creases!

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I started thinking about some of my favourites tips and tricks for life in Winchester. After a few years of living here, you start to build up your own secret knowledge bank of how to make the most of the city. So here are a few of my favourites…

St Giles Hill – Avoiding the hike

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Views from the top of this panoramic spot in the city are beautiful, you can see out across much of Winchester. I personally love a trip up to the top of St. Giles Hill, however there’s no denying it’s extremely steep in places! The climb can require a certain amount of effort, which is itself rewarding, but if you’re feeling a little lazy or pressed for time, there are a few less strenuous routes you can take. My preferred one is to simply use the footbridge by the Chesil Street Multi-storey Car Park. This cuts the journey and the effort required right down, getting you to the top in no time.

Black Bottle – Make the most of your credit

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Who doesn’t love a trip to the Black Bottle now and again? Winchester’s unique wine vending machine venue is a great place to try different wines and relax with friends. After visiting, I often found I was left with odd small amounts of credit on my Black Bottle card, little did I know you can actually drink every last drop of your credit! Even if you don’t have enough left for a glass of your chosen wine, put your card in anyway and you’ll be rewarded with an equivalent amount of wine (this can work quite well if you pick one of the less pricey wines!). Is it just me who was excited to discover this? And am I the only one who didn’t know about it?

Bombay Sapphire Distillery – No need to drive

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Want to do the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery experience out at Laverstoke Mill but don’t want drive and miss out on all the gin? Don’t be fooled by it’s rural location, there are a few public transport options from Winchester. You can catch the 86 bus, which stops in Overton, from there it’s about half an hour walk from the distillery (or there are shuttle services available). Alternatively, if you can hop on the direct train to Micheldever, there’s a shuttle service running to the distillery too – offering you a perfect, gin filled day out, with no-one having to miss out on the fun.

Christmas market – avoid the crush

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I love Winchester’s Christmas market, it’s my happy place…apparently a lot of other people feel that way too, judging by the significant queues to get in. Avoid the slow-moving squash of bodies to get into Winchester’s fabulous Christmas market by entering from the back. Make your way in via the archway at the end of College Street, where it meets with St. Swithun Street. You’ll get into the market much quicker and avoid the crowded Christmas crush (especially if you go on a week day too). Keep this one in mind for December people! I know it’s summer right now but you could familiarise yourself with the route in readiness for the festive season. There are some lovely independent shops in the area that are well worth a visit.
What have I missed? Tell me yours!
These are four Winchester Hacks that came to my mind immediately, I’m sure there’s many more I’ve missed and even some that I’m completely unaware of. I’d love to hear your tips for getting the best from our fair city, please do share yours with me.

WIN! Tickets to Wine Festival Winchester

Local FoodTeaLife readers may have heard the buzz about Wine Festival Winchester, the exciting new initiative by BBC1 wine experts Susie & Peter taking place right here in Winchester. Tickets are selling fast – but lucky for you I’ve got two tickets to give away worth £25 each! Read on to find out more…

Team behind Wine Festival Wichester

The team behind Wine Festival Winchester – BBC1’s wine experts Susie & Peter

The event, which is being held in Winchester Guildhall from 21-23 November, will feature hundreds of wines from around the world, all free to taste as part of the entry price. There will be local food, music, masterclasses featuring cheese and chocolate, prize draws and a free wine glass worth £12.50 for all visitors.

I particularly like the fact that so many of my favourite local producers and retailers are involved too. There are six Hampshire sparkling wine producers, including Hattingley Valley, Hambledon and Jenkyn Place, alongside local retailers Toscanaccio, Stone Vine & Sun, The Naked Grape, Caviste, Berry Bros. & Rudd and Wine Utopia.

Here’s the interesting bit that makes Wine Festival Winchester a little different – in order to help you find wines you like at the festival, Susie and Peter have devised a colour-coded system called ‘Follow Your Taste’. Wine is broken down into six flavour styles and bottles at the event will have coloured neck tags to indicate their style. Sounds like a great idea to me and takes away some of intimidation that can surround wine tasting.

Winchester Wine Festival Colour Code

Fab Idea! The ‘Follow Your Taste’ colour-coded system that will be in place at Wine Festival Winchester

The festival is supporting local charity Naomi House and launches the same weekend as Winchester’s Christmas market just round the corner – what a weekend! You can find out more about the festival by visiting the website www.thewinefestival.co.uk.

HOW TO WIN TWO FREE TICKETS:

For your chance to win two free tickets for the Sunday at Wine Festival Winchester simply tweet me: “@franini_daze I want to win tickets to @WineFestWinch

You can also email foodtealife@gmail.com. The winner will be drawn at random and notified within 28 days. Terms and conditions can be found here.

Good luck!