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Events, shows and activities that make Winchester ‘England’s Christmas Capital’

Christmas is just around the corner, and ‘England’s Christmas Capital’ of Winchester is brimming with a huge variety of festive events. While seeing the brightly decorated city is more than enough to get in the spirit, there are many can’t-miss celebrations for the all the family to enjoy.

Christmas is just around the corner, and ‘England’s Christmas Capital’ of Winchester is brimming with a huge variety of festive events. While seeing the brightly decorated city is more than enough to get in the spirit, there are many can’t-miss celebrations for the all the family to enjoy.

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market & Ice Rink

A bustling atmosphere, high-quality exhibitors and festive foods make the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market one of the best in Europe. Last year, the Christmas Market attracted more than 400,000 visitors and filled them with holiday cheer.

This year, you’ll find wonderful decorations, gifts and goodies, plus over 100 chalets selling festive favourites, such as mulled wine, bratwurst, mince pies and stollen. The wooden chalets surround one of the UK’s top 10 open-air ice rinks, and the Cathedral is lit up after twilight to provide the perfect winter playground for children and adults alike.

Christmas Market Opening Times

Saturday 17 November – Thursday 20 December
Sunday to Wednesday, 10:30 am – 6:30 pm
Thursday to Saturday, 10:30 am – 8:00 pm

Ice Rink Opening Times

Saturday 17 November – Wednesday 2 January
10:00 am – 9:00 pm daily (last entry at 8 pm).
Sessions last one hour, including time to fit skates.

Parent & Toddler only sessions available Monday – Friday until 20 December.

Winchester Cathedral Events

As well as the Christmas market and ice rink, Winchester Cathedral will host a series of Christmas events.

Thursday 29 November: Christmas Lantern Parade
Make your own lantern with Bella Crafts and join a fun family parade starting from the Cathedral and processing around the Outer Close.

Saturday 8 December: Waynflete Singers – A Christmas Fanfare
An exciting programme of choral and brass music, courtesy of Onyx Brass, described as “easily the classiest brass ensemble in Britain” by BBC Music Magazine.

Friday 14 December: Cathedral Carol Concert
Entitled Star Shine: an evening with the stars, this event promises music, laughter and delight as boys, girls, lay clerks and the bright stars of the Cathedral Choir sing Christmas music.

Throughout the concert, contemporary Christmas-themed readings and reflections will complement traditional performances and light-hearted carols. A highlight of the evening will be a premiere of ‘Queen Elizabeth’s Winchester Carol’, composed by Roderick Williams and commissioned by the Friends of Winchester Cathedral.

Saturday 15 December: The Snowman Tour 2018
Watch two enchanting films, The Snowman and The Bear and the Piano, accompanied by a live orchestra. Other rollicking treats during the concert, including a fun introduction to the orchestra, make this the ideal winter outing for the whole family.

Tuesday 18, Wednesday 19, Friday 21 December: Christmas Carol Service
A wonderful service filled with beautiful music sung by the Cathedral Choir.

Friday 21 December: Christmas Story-Telling
On the first day of winter, join the Cathedral for a festive craft activity and hear the story of the first Christmas.

Theatre Royal’s Christmas Cultural Gift

The city’s best theatre brings an impressive line-up of drama, music, comedy, children’s theatre and pantomime to the cultural heart of the city.

The next two months are packed with celebratory Christmas spirit:

Saturday 1 December – Sunday 6 January: Beauty and the Beast – A Traditional Family Pantomime

Sunday 9 December: A Victorian Christmas with Robert Powell and Susan Jameson

Tuesday 11 December: Christmas Classics with Blake

Thursday 13 December: The Scummy Mummies Christmas Show

Monday 17 December: Santa’s Christmas Party

Thursday 20 December: The Spitfire Sisters’ Christmas Special

Visit Theatre Royal Winchester for details, show times and prices.

Christmas at Marwell Zoo

Make your family’s Christmas magical and join the elves in the enchanted world of Marwell. Be charmed by Mother Christmas in Pirate Cove and listen to Neverland stories inspired by Peter Pan.

Kids can create their own present bag in the elves workshop, meet Father Christmas and receive a special gift before posing for a family photo.

The experience will last around 60-80 minutes and includes zoo entry.

Winchester Science Centre Christmas Experience

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium is the South of England’s interactive science and technology centre with the UK’s largest standalone planetarium. The Science Centre’s programme of events this festive season combines the magic of Christmas with the excitement of science, promising a fun-filled family day out.

Santa and the Elves Christmas Experience: Treat the family to the ultimate Christmas experience including a magical live science show inspired by classic children’s tale Jack and the Beanstalk, an elf-led activity, Christmas planetarium show and chance to meet Santa.

Storytime with Santa: Brand new for this year, a fun and relaxed experience designed especially for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Enjoy a Christmas story told by Santa himself, an exciting live science demonstration from Magnificent, Santa’s Chief Elf, and a charming ‘Little Stars’ sensory planetarium show.

Reindeer Round-up in Space: A fun presenter-led planetarium show taking the audience on a journey through the Solar System in search of Rudolph and his fellow furry friends to help save Christmas.

Christmas Cinema: Watch your favourite festive film in the unique setting of the planetarium. The programme includes Elf, The Polar Express, Arthur Christmas and The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Visit the Winchester Science Centre website for event details, times and prices.

Festive Fun on the Watercress Line

The Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line offers a 10-mile train journey all year round, but for Christmas, there are two special events not to be missed!

Santa Special: Travel on a magical train carriage where Santa and his jolly helpers visit you in your seat with a gift. Grown-ups get treated to white wine and mince pies, whilst children enjoy a soft drink and a gingerbread man.

Christmas Leave: Post-Christmas, the Watercress line invites you to experience the atmosphere of a WWII Christmas on the railway with civilian and military re-enactors

Christmas at Guildhall Winchester

Head to Winchester’s striking Victorian building, located in the city centre, for an exciting programme of live entertainment.

Saturday 15 December: Winchester Gin & Prosecco Festival

Friday 21 December: The Caribbean Christmas Party

Father Christmas at the Great Hall

Meet Father Christmas at The Great Hall from 21 – 23 December. There will be a pop-up café serving refreshments and a Christmas craft activity table for families. Time slots are divided into morning and afternoon sessions: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm, 2:00 – 4:45 pm.

Tickets can be booked online. The ticket price is £12.50 per child. Each child will get to meet Father Christmas and receive a special gift. The first 2 children in a party are £12.50 with additional children at £10.00.

Charity Christmas Card Shop

Browse a huge selection of charity Christmas cards in the tourist information centre. You can also buy everything from stamps, souvenirs, local produce and sparkling wine through to stocking fillers and great books for the kids.

Find out more: What’s on in Winchester this Christmas

Carpe Diem Exclusive Boutique Resort Named Best Relaxation Retreat

Greek resort voted best in Europe & World at World Boutique Hotel Awards.

Carpe Diem Exclusive Boutique Resort in Santorini, Greece, has been named Europe’s and World’s Best Relaxation Retreat at the World Boutique Hotel Awards. The ceremony was held on the evening of 8 November 2018 at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall in London.

The recognition from the Boutique Hotel Awards is the latest in a string of accolades that Carpe Diem has received. Last year at the Boutique Hotel Awards, it won Europe’s Best Honeymoon Hideaway and World’s Best Honeymoon Hideaway.

“We are so honoured to be recognised once again with the best resorts in the country and indeed the world and with two awards as well,” said Managing Director Sotiris Kopatsaris. “Firstly, because we represent Greece in these prestigious events, and also because it proves Carpe Diem’s excellence as an ultra-private spa resort. This is the impressive result of our team’s hard work and, of course, all the support from our guests.”

Designed for romance and relaxation, Carpe Diem features the largest suites on the Greek island of Santorini, with stunning 270° views and private plunge pools. As well as panoramic views from every corner, the hotel offers a butler service and luxurious amenities.

The World Boutique Hotel Awards are the first and only international awards dedicated to recognising unique excellence among luxury boutique hotels. Nominations are made by travel industry experts, luxury travel journalists and approved self-nominations. Judges review over 300 hotels from all four corners of the globe. The 2018 Awards ceremony brings together over 260 individuals from the luxury boutique hotel sector.

Learn more about Carpe Diem Exclusive Boutique Resort.

Armistice Day 2018: Events & Exhibitions in Winchester

City commemorates centenary of the end of the First World War. 

Photograph by Horace Nicholls, part of the Imperial War Museum Photograph Archive Collection

Armistice Day is held on 11 November each year to mark the end of the First World War. As people across the country honour those who have died in war, Winchester will commemorate the day with events, exhibitions and performances around the city.

Haydn – Seven Last Words

Hear music and readings commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War. This free concert features students from Winchester schools.

When: Monday 5 Nov, 7:00 PM
Where: Winchester Cathedral, The Close, SO23 9LS

War Horse Screening

See a special screening of award-winning film War Horse in the nave of Winchester Cathedral. Based on Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel of the same name, War Horse was directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay written by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis. The film features an ensemble cast and was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, two Golden Globe Awards and five BAFTAs.

When: Wednesday 7 Nov, 7:15 PM
Where: Winchester Cathedral, The Close, SO23 9LS
Tickets: £10 / under 16s £7

Brough Scott – ‘The Amazing Story of a Real War Horse’

Join John Brough Scott as he tells the story of ‘Warrior’ — a war horse bred by ‘Galloper Jack’ Seely, who took Warrior to France in 1914 and rode him throughout the war. John Brough Scott is a British horse racing journalist, presenter and former jockey. He is also the grandson and biographer of ‘Galloper Jack’ Seely.

When: Thursday 8 Nov, 7:15 PM
Where: Winchester Cathedral, The Close, SO23 9LS
Tickets: £10 / under 16s £7

‘Daring to hope’ – A Vigil of Peace

An hour-long vigil of music, poetry and reflection, including music from the Winchester Cathedral Choir, images of local soldiers and a petal drop from the roof of the cathedral nave. Attendees are welcome to bring a copy of a memento of a loved one, such as a photo or army record.

When: Friday 9 Nov, 6:00 PM
Where: Winchester Cathedral, The Close, SO23 9LS

Remembrance Sunday Services

Special Sunday services including a Remembrance Sunday Service at 10:00 am followed by Sung Eucharist at 11:30 am. There will be a final service at 6:50 pm. This is the final act of remembrance and will involve a short prayer and readings, the lighting of a brazier to symbolise the lights coming back on over Europe, a lone piper playing “When the Battle is Over” (played for when soldiers returned to their barracks) and ending with the Cathedral’s bells ringing out for peace.

When: Sunday 11 Nov, 10:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 6:30 PM
Where: Winchester Cathedral, The Close, SO23 9LS

The Armistice Centenary Recalled

In honour of the Armistice exactly 100 years ago, this dramatic recital draws on contemporary literature to recreate the passions of authors from the era – including Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sasson, Vera Brittain and Winston Churchill. Actors Michael Pennington and Pamela Miles, together with producer John Miller, will bring their eyewitness accounts to life.

When: Sunday 11 Nov, 7:30 PM
Where: Theatre Royal Winchester, Jewry Street, SO23 8SB
Tickets: £18 / friends £15 / under 26s £12

Scamp Theatre presents Private Peaceful
by Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse
Adapted and directed by Simon Reade

This moving theatre performance tells the story of a soldier’s last day in World War One while conveying the strength of the human spirit. Private Peaceful recreates the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn. During his final hours, he looks back on his time growing up in rural Devon: his school days, the accident that killed his father, adventures with the love of his life, and the battles and injustices of the war.

When: Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 Nov, various times.
Where: Theatre Royal Winchester, Jewry Street, SO23 8SB

Tickets: £19 / friends £17 / under 26s £15
Families & groups (4+) £16 / schools & groups (8+) £12

Matinée: £18 / under 26s £14 / families & groups (4+) £15
Schools & groups (8+) £10

Friends Offer: 2 for 1 on opening night.

When the Guns Fells Silent: Remembering the end of the First World War

A free exhibition by Winchester’s Military Museums to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. Documents, photographs, medals and personal souvenirs tell the stories of First World War servicemen and servicewomen from Hampshire. A supporting programme of activities is open to all ages.

When: until Sunday 25 Nov, 3:00 PM
Where: City Space, Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, SO23 8SB

Box 459

Take a moment of reflection this Armistice Day at Winchester Cathedral as Box 459 returns to the outer close to mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. The sculpture, commissioned by Winchester City Council and poignantly designed to represent the fallen soldiers from the district, was first unveiled in 2014 to mark the beginning of the war. It has been displayed in various locations in the district to end where it began, at Winchester Cathedral.

When: until Friday 14 Dec
Where: Winchester Cathedral, The Close, SO23 9LS

Go to visitwinchester.co.uk to plan your visit.

See photographs on the Imperial War Museum website from Armistice Day 1918.

HYPER JAPAN Winter 2018 showcases the best of Japan in London

UK’s action-packed Japanese culture show returns with fantastic exhibitions, lively performances and mouthwatering cuisine.


Love Japan? Then you’ll love Britain’s largest celebration of Japanese culture.

HYPER JAPAN Winter 2018 lands in OLYMPIA LONDON from Fri 16 to Sun 18 November.

And it’s bigger and better than ever.

Immerse yourself in all aspects of Japanese culture, from food, art, music and fashion to award-winning anime, the latest high-tech gadgets and cool cosplay. Hundreds of exhibitors, along with tens of thousands of J-culture fans, will gather for the event.

This is your chance to dive into creative activities, join pop-up performances and be amazed by spectacular stage shows. See incredible calligraphy, get the heads-up on trendy outfits and dance the weekend away to Japanese punk rock.

For foodies, there will be all sorts of Japanese bites and beverages to enjoy – classic dishes like tako-yaki, old favourites like dorayaki, fresh-from-the-chef katsu curries, even Japanese-style macarons. And lots of sake, too!

But in the meantime, here’s a quick peek of what’s in store.

Traditional & Modern J-Culture

Explore and discover the ‘Pride of Japan’, past and present. This unique exhibition and auction represents more than 3,000 years of Japanese heritage.

Catch a live demo of the ancient art that is Japanese calligraphy, with links to the UK dating back almost 150 years. Japanese artist Sankei Amo will recreate her famed ‘Japan Blue’ handmade ‘Washi’ paper at the Hyper Live! Stage on Friday and Sunday.

As an extra touch, Utaniwa Collabo will energize the HYPER Live! Stage with a fantastic mash-up of opera and gardening. Hear the melodies of classical opera sung by soprano Marina Okamoto as master gardener Fuyuki Tabata transforms the surrounding scenery to the beat.

Are you a huge fan of Japanese craftsmanship and novel design? Pop by the MIYABI Pavilion to find the Japanese art you crave. Authentic cultural space – MIYABI will be stocked full of their top handicrafts this year, and you won’t be disappointed. With a vast variety of creations that are rarely available outside of Japan, it’ll be well worth a visit.

And great news for cosplayers out there – the COSTest is your time to shine. Strut your stuff in front of a cheering crowd. Strike a pose and share your passion with others. The only question is will you be best dressed?

Auctions, Anime & Awesome Tech for Kids

Name your best price at the first ever HYPER Auction, where products from over 14 centuries of Japanese history will be up for grabs. Bid on a range of beautiful artworks, fascinating sculptures, original designs and world-class products, all sourced from Japan.

Up for a flick? Get a front row seat to a special screening of 20 anime films from the CG Anime Contest – the longest running competition touting the best of Japanese independent films. 10 films each will be playing on Saturday and Sunday, selected from CG Anime Contest finalists through the years.

While you’re at it, bring the children to the Kids Zone. Watch as their imaginations appear in 3D right before your eyes, thanks to some clever tech from the Aichi Institute of Technology ‘Sketchbook’.

Authentic Tastes of Japan

Don’t forget to bring your appetite to the Eat-Japan Food Court. Dozens of catering exhibitors will help you get your fill, among which are Zennoh, Minamoto Kitchoan and Wagashi Japanese Bakery.

Fancy a heavenly bowl of ramen? The Ramen Experience is sure to go down a treat. Dig into bowls of tasty noodles, broth bursting with flavour, plus generous helpings of your favourite toppings to boot.

Make your meal extra special with namazake (unpasteurised sake), flavoured sakes, craft beers and strong liqueurs. Back by popular demand, the Sake Experience offers the finest beverages Japan has to offer. Sample premium brews, buy the sake that stands out to you and vote for your favourite.

Visiting Japan for yourself?

With all the fun packed into a weekend, it can be tempting to plan your next holiday. So a strong group of travel agencies, government tourism boards and tourism service providers will fill you in on travelling to various destinations within the country, together with travel-related presentations and a travel media event.

On top of that, a Japan vs. England rugby match will take over the big screens of the HYPER Live! Stage on Saturday 16th November, 3-5 pm, along with half-time activities and tourism promos.

Of course, you’ll have an abundance of merchandise to put on your Christmas wishlist or take home as a souvenir. Whatever you love about the land of the rising sun, you’ll find it at HYPER JAPAN.

HYPER JAPAN Winter 2018 hits Olympia London from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 Nov 2018.


The adventure of a lifetime: unleash your wild side in Seychelles

Nothing puts you in touch with your wild side quite like a big adventure. And Seychelles offers 115 islands to do just that. From island hopping to snorkelling to sailing, you’ll never be bored here. Read on for three adventures that’ll send you on your merry way.

Island hopping

Seychelles’ main islands are Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, though there are many more options to explore. Each island has its own distinct charm, which makes the archipelago primed for island hopping. And, thanks to a strong network of air and sea connections, you can quickly get between them all.

Local operators offer trips to the inner granite islands. These are the world’s oldest ocean islands, where you can easily spend the day exploring pure nature. Hiking is highly encouraged, as is swimming and admiring the wildlife.

Then, when you work up an appetite, traditional Creole food goes down a treat. Be sure to try local favourites such as coconut curries; fresh-baked fish basted in ginger, garlic and chillies; a variety of fruit and veg used in hearty stews. You can’t go wrong.

But for unspoilt nature at its best, head to Bird Island and Denis Island in the north. These flat coral outposts are rich in conservation, making for lovely spots to unplug and unwind. The outer islands of Desroches and Alphonse are just as amazing if you wish to get away from it all – far away from the crowds. More than that, they are some of the best places for diving and fishing.

After a well-spent day hopping the islands, there’s all manner of accommodation to rest your head. Whether you prefer small tropical lodges or exclusive hotels, the sea will be waiting right outside your door.


With warm turquoise waters and sunshine all year round, it’s no surprise that Seychelles is the ideal watersports destination. Mahé Island’s Beau Vallon is a safe bay for jet skiing, windsurfing and paragliding, and just as popular with surfers too.

Seychelles is also home to thriving marine life, and few experiences beat swimming with dolphins, rays, turtles and schools of tropical fish. Dive centres can take you deep down into the depths of colourful coral reefs.

Or, you could watch from above by hiring snorkelling equipment from the island’s hotels and watersports centres. Operators offer deep sea fishing in waters full of tuna and marlin, because you never know when you might hook the catch of your life.


Some of the biggest adventures can be found cruising the open sea. Seychelles’ climate is nearly flawless, and stunning panoramas abound, never failing to impress when it comes to sailing.

Sailing can be enjoyed on hulls and catamarans, which you can hire within the area. Boats can either be skippered or unmanned, leaving you to either sit back and cruise or take the wheel. The best part is that sailing is an activity you can enjoy any time of year.

Another advantage to sailing is that the waters around the islands are often calm and free of traffic, so the only sails out there may be your own.

Up for more big adventures in Seychelles? Go to the official tourism website.

Get the A-List Treatment at the Kenshō Psarou Spa

Kenshō Psarou is the newest darling of Mykonos, a supreme collection of individually designed and furnished rooms, a world-class restaurant, private beachfront and most importantly, Psarou Beach’s first ever spa!

Powered by French luxury skincare brand CODAGE, the Psarou Beach Spa is unlike any other in the Med. Start with one of their signature treatments, such as the Kenshō Travel Detox Indulgence Treatment – this 60 minute facial treatment, combined with a leg, back and neck massage, is the perfect welcome to the hotel, especially after a particularly long flight.Or you may opt instead for the Kenshō ‘Psammo’ spa experience for something truly special. ‘Psammo’ means ‘sand’ and this practice relies on the power of the Beach Spa’s patented Quartz Sand Bed – the warm sand helps to alleviate pain and promote comfort, perfect for after a workout in the Kenshō fitness centre.Head over to their high-tech spa corner for futuristic treatments used by the world’s elite. The Déesse Pro LED Mask uses a total of 770 LED lights to expose the skin to five clinically proven wavelengths of light, stimulating natural responses that lead to skin-rejuvenation and giving you the healthiest glow possible.

There are also two more menus for something a bit different – the first is a custom menu for beach treatments. You read that right. Make the most of visiting Psarou Beach’s first ever spa by pitching up on the sand and have personal therapists deliver relaxing head, hand, foot and neck massages just metres from the sea. Or if you have arrived at the hotel by yacht, simply dock up and get access to the decadent yacht menu, allowing you to have your treatment in the comfort of your vessel.

For the ultimate private experience, head to the Spa Verandah, where guests can enjoy a specially crafted menu that includes detoxing drinks and bites, and a Water Pod Experience that is unlike anything you’ve encountered before. This is the pinnacle of luxury spa options.

With all of these options and remedies available, there is no better place than Kenshō Psarou for an out-of-this-world spa experience.

Book your stay and discover the Kenshō Psarou Spa for yourself now at https://www.kenshomykonos.com/kensho-psarou/

Celebrate World Tourism Day with the Tourism for SDGs Online Platform

UN World Tourism Day is celebrated every 27 September to raise awareness of tourism’s actual and potential contribution to sustainable development. This year’s theme focuses on the opportunities provided to tourism by technological advances.

To promote digital innovation as part of the journey to a more sustainable tourism sector, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is promoting its Tourism for SDGs Platform. The online tool, launched last July in NY at UN headquarters, with the support of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), is designed to advance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through tourism.

“The digital transformation is about providing benefits for all. We are making sure that tourism contributes to this global commitment”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “Tourism for SDGs Platform provides the global tourism community with a space to co-create and engage to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Tourism for Sustainable Development Goals Platform (T4SDGs)

Tourism4SDGs.org  is a co-creation space that allows users to access a wide range of resources, add their own initiatives, findings and projects, motivate discussion and collaboration, and share content related to tourism and sustainable development. The platform’s three main features act as a call for action – Learn, Share and Act – aiming not only to educate people about the Sustainable Development Goals, but also to encourage conversation and collaboration towards a sustainable tourism sector.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute an ambitious global agenda for people, planet, prosperity and peace through partnerships. The SDGs aim to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and solve climate change by 2030. The economic relevance of tourism, representing up to 10% of the world’s GDP and employment, makes harnessing its full potential essential for the advancement of the SDGs.

Ambassador Raymund Furrer of SECO said: “Switzerland strongly supports this platform as it will allow a focus on the three main components of sustainable tourism: its economic, environmental and social dimensions.”

Get Involved    

All are invited to visit the platform and to

  • SHARE your work related to tourism and the SDGs.
  • LEARN from other content already submitted.
  • ACT and find potential projects to partner with or donor to support your initiatives.

For more information on how the platform works, please check the useful links below.

Tourism for SDGS Platform website

Tourism for SDGS Platform – Introduction video

UNWTO Sustainable Development of Tourism programme






Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218

Follow UNWTO on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTubeLinkedIn and Flickr.

What’s on in Winchester this Autumn: Festivals, Poetry & Coffee

Summer may be over soon, but the fun has just begun. The city of Winchester is hosting dozens of events this autumn to charm and entertain visitors. Now that the kids are back to school, here’s what you can do with your free time in the UK’s ancient capital.

Winchester Jazz Festival

Enjoy four days of amazing jazz performances in several venues across the city centre. A fantastic array of musical acts from the jazz world will show the rest of the UK what Winchester has to offer as a destination for the arts.

When: 20 – 23 September
Where: Venues across the city.
Go to the website for more information.

Winchester Coffee Festival

Calling all coffee lovers! Winchester Guild Hall, in collaboration with Flat White and Cabinet Rooms, is launching the region’s first ever coffee festival. 30 independent coffee shops and coffee cultural experiences will come together for you to enjoy.

Sample a variety of speciality coffee. Watch live demonstrations. Learn about the local coffee scene. Grab lunch at the street food village and dance the day away to a live DJ. The Coffee Festival aims to be disposable free with 100% of recycling going to festival goers for composting.

When: 29 September
Where: Guildhall Winchester, The Broadway, SO23 9GH
Session times: 11 am and 7 pm
Tickets: £15

Winchester Comedy Festival 

The Winchester Comedy Festival showcases the talent of a variety of comedians in several venues around the city. Laugh out loud to more than 10 acts on this year’s line-up. With this many jokes, you’re sure to find the funny!

When: 4 – 7 October
Where: Several venues across the city.
Times vary depending on venue and artist.
Prices vary depending on venue and artist.
Check the website for more information.

Winchester Poetry Festival

Don’t miss this three-day celebration of poetry drawing from the work of contemporary and modern poets from the UK, Ireland USA, Syria, Macedonia and the Caribbean. The first day of the festival features readings, workshops and talks. The second day will have readings by international poets from morning until late in the evening. And the third day buzzes with even more talks, walks and great readings. Winners of the Winchester Poetry Prize 2018 will be announced on Sat, 6 October.

When: 5 – 7 October
Where: Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, SO23 8SB
Tickets: Some events are free but spaces are limited. Get your tickets in person or by telephone (01962 840440) from the Theatre Royal Winchester Box office. You can also book online by clicking the links below.

Friday 5 October – events and times
Saturday 6 October – events and times
Sunday 7 October – events and times

BBC History Weekend

Discover the Anglo-Saxon and medieval history of Winchester as BBC History Weekend returns to the ancient capital of Wessex for its third year. Featuring 30 engaging talks, interactive Q&A’s and book signings from the world’s leading historians and authors, it’s an event you don’t want to miss.

When: 5 – 7 October
Where: Two fantastic venues in the centre of the city. The stunning 13th-century Great Hall, which houses a famous replica of King Arthur’s round table, and Ashburton Hall at nearby Elizabeth II Court.
See the website for times and prices.

Keats’ Walk

Follow the footsteps of English Romantic poet John Keats. This self-guided walk follows Keats’ daily stroll during his stay in Winchester in late summer and early autumn 1891. The area has changed little since. You’ll walk through the Cathedral Close and water meadows to St Cross, passing the landscape that inspired Keats to write, ‘To Autumn’. Snack and drinks are available on the way, and there are plenty of picnic spots to take in the view. Approx. 2-mile round trip.

Where: Tourist Information Centre, Winchester Guildhall, High Street, SO23 9GH

ARTIST ROOMS: Agnes Martin

Be inspired by the works of Agnes Martin (1912 – 2004), whose career spanned nearly five decades. During this time, she became one of America’s foremost abstract painters. Her style reflected her deep belief in the emotive power of art. This exhibition draws from the ARTISTS ROOMS’ touring collection of over 16,000 works of contemporary and modern art.

When: Exhibition open until 7 October
Where: The Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, SO23 8SB
Tickets: FREE

See www.visitwinchester.co.uk to plan your visit.

La Gomera to throw Lustral festivities in honour of island’s patron saint


Once every five years, La Gomera sets a scene of colour and faith in honour of the island’s patron saint. 8 October marks the day when the faithful accompany the Virgin of Guadalupe in the most important religious event of the Canary Islands.

But this is just a prelude to nearly two months of parties. As the Virgin embarks on her maritime pilgrimage across the island, the capital of San Sebastián puts on its Lustral festivities. A full programme of events ensures a great time whether you’re religious or not. From September to December, the whole island will be celebrating.

The Descent of the Virgin of Guadalupe

Held every five years since 1872, the descent of the Virgin of Guadalupe sees people from all over the island and abroad praise their patroness. Dozens of boats guide the Virgin from her sanctuary in Puntallana to the bay of San Sebastián. Eager devotees carry the figure on their shoulders. Thousands march along, showing their love through prayer and song, to the beat of chácaras and drums.

The Madonna figure is carried to every community in La Gomera in processions that take place over several weeks. It stays for a few days in every town. Each village throws a party, where locals play traditional instruments and concerts fill the streets. After touring the parishes of the island, the Virgin is returned to her shrine on 12 December. There she will stay for another five years to watch over the Gomeros.

Lustral Festivities

La Gomera is known for its beautiful nature. This is a place to get away from it all. But tourists staying until December will be pleasantly surprised by how much there is to do. The gorgeously decorated streets of San Sebastián attract both young and old alike during Lustral. Even those who no longer live on the island return to celebrate with family and friends.

Before the Virgin’s descent, you can party with folk groups from each of the Canaries during the Festival of 7 Islands on 3 October. See a concert on 6 October performed by Juanes, one of the most recognised artists in Latin music.

The Tenerife Symphony Orchestra presents the legend of Gara and Jonay on 9 October. Similar to the story of Romeo and Juliet, this is without a doubt one of the most romantic Canarian tales of eternal love.

Like reggae and rock? The Reggae & Rock Festival on 11 October promises mellow moods, island roots and visceral rock riffs by artist Said Muti. Prefer traditional Spanish music and dance? Catch a mariachis festival on 14 October or a spectacular flamenco show on 19 October.

There’s a lot more where that came from. A variety of exhibitions and workshops are planned from September to December. This is an ideal time to combine the wild nature of La Gomera with all the fun of the Lustral festivities. Don’t miss the island-wide celebration. It only comes around once every five years. No matter if you’re visiting to praise or party, you’re sure to have a great time.

Learn more details about the Lustral festivities here: www.lustraleslagomera.es

Seychelles records 16% growth in UK visitors

Seychelles is in great demand for UK travellers, according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics. 17,286 British visitors entered the country from January to 2 Sept 2018, representing a 16% increase compared to the previous year.

Britain is the Seychelles’ fourth biggest European incoming market, after Germany, France and Italy. During the period of Jan–Sept 2018, the number of European visitors grew by 7%.

Seychelles welcomed 235,640 international visitors in the year to date, only 1% more than 2017. Yet, records from the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) show that the country’s first semester earnings have increased by 27% compared to the same period last year. These figures reflect Seychelles’sustainability efforts as a country that relies on tourism for 29% of its GDP. One initiative is to work together with hoteliers and business to eliminate the use of plastic by 2020.

Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive, Sherin Francis, expressed her satisfaction that so many tourists prefer Seychelles as a holiday destination.

“Thanks to the efforts of all parties within the industry, we have been able to achieve amazing growth in tourism earnings,” Francis said. “For a small country like Seychelles, where we emphasise conservation, it is important to get more out of each tourist instead of relying on tourism arrivals.”

Arrivals to the Seychelles are expected to rise steadily as airlines place their bets on the archipelago. British Airways launched new direct flights from London this year. Air Seychelles increased the frequency of its services between Seychelles and Johannesburg. Edelweiss Air’s planned service to the islands launches September 2018.


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