It’s the UK’s longest-running festival of outdoor arts, attracting audiences of 58,000 to over 200 live performances last year.
This year’s Hat Fair runs from 30 June to 2 July, with a new director, Andrew Loretto, at the helm.
“Hat Fair was conceived as a busking festival in 1974 and is inspired now as it was then by the people, heritage and public spaces within the city,” Andrew says. “Our aim is to transform the everyday into the extraordinary.
“Indulge in a little bit of what you fancy as often as you can.” That’s what Gary Whiter, co-founder of Winchester’s Cabinet Rooms, believes.
Gary and Marcus Roe, the two bearded gentlemen, as they’ve become known, are kicking off the Summer with Ginchester Fête, a celebration of all things gin, which comes to the Great Hall on World Gin Day, 10 June. Tickets cost £10 and include a drink on arrival.
Rachel Wragg opened the doors to Winchester College’s Treasury in the medieval Warden’s Stables in October last year, where four galleries are filled with artefacts from around the world.
“Many of the items we have here were gifts from generous benefactors.” Rachel says. “Other treasures were bought to bring lessons to life.”
A glittering jewel box of medieval silver includes the 15th-century Election Cup, which is still used as part of the ceremony of admitting scholars to the school. Stunning Victorian stained-glass panels were uncovered in a dusty attic, while the Duberly collection of Chinese ceramics was given to the school in memory of a boy who lost his life in World War Two.
Christmas is a busy time for the Cathedral Choristers. Their voices are regularly heard during the festive season, with the Cathedral’s carol services drawing in audiences of over 6,000 people.
|“Choir boys have been an integral part of the services at Winchester Cathedral for nearly a thousand years,” says Andrew Lumsden, organist and director of music at Winchester Cathedral.
“Today, they range in age from nine to 13. They mostly sing with our Lay Clerks, 12 men who are professional singers, but we also bring them together with our flourishing girls’ choir, too.”
Actress Sarah Parish has a busy morning. I meet her at home, just outside Winchester, where she’s sporting gym gear, without make-up, and clutching a take-out coffee from Caracoli yet still managing to look effortlessly stylish. She’s just come back from a planning meeting at No.5 Bridge Street, where she’s hosting a charity dinner, and is full of apologies for being five minutes late.
Actor husband James Murray, who first met Sarah on the set of Cutting It, is home too, on a break from a three-part TV series, while Sarah’s on a breather from a post-war period drama about a Parisian fashion house for Amazon Prime.
“I play an American heiress and it’s all rather glamorous, with wonderful costumes too,” she says. “Over the years I’ve done a lot of very unglam parts, so it’s nice to be able to get all dressed up.”