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.
Monopoly is receiving a Winchester makeover, with a new city version of the iconic game.
Winning Moves UK, the company behind Monopoly, wants local suggestions for game pieces and squares.
“The game will see around 30 leading Winchester landmarks replacing the famous Monopoly addresses like Mayfair and Park Lane,” said Ben Thomas, from Winning Moves UK. “We are inviting the public to help us put this edition together.”
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.
There are scary chefs and there are smiley chefs, and Andrew Mackenzie at Lainston House is definitely a smiley chef.
He’s so smiley, in fact, that when the Exclusive Hotels and Venues Group, of which the five-star hotel near Sparsholt is a part, decided to launch a Chefs Academy to nurture rising talent, it was Andrew they asked to lead it.
And so the executive chef who transformed Lainston House’s restaurant into a cracking place for really good locally-sourced food suddenly found himself back in the classroom.
Emily Cotterill from Winchester’s Business Improvement District gets ready for the festive season
In the heat of summer Emily Cotterill, business development and projects officer at Winchester BID, starts making plans for Christmas. Emily, who is responsible for promoting business across the city, works months ahead of each season, ensuring that the big events of the year are organised in plenty of time.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Christmas Market, which draws tens of thousands of additional visitors to Winchester each year. The ice rink, cathedral events and the city’s reputation as a Mecca for foodies adds to its Yuletide appeal, with Winchester claiming the crown as the south’s ‘Christmas capital’.