Experience Ecotourism in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit for an Eco-Friendly New Year

7 Eco-friendly Activities in Mexico’s Pacific Coast You Won’t Want to Miss

With sustainability being more important for travellers than ever and 2019 set to be the biggest year for ecotourism, you may be amongst those searching for the perfect eco-holiday! Puerto Vallarta, in the state of Jalisco, and Riviera Nayarit, in the state of Nayarit, have long been two beautiful destinations offering sustainable activities that explore the regions’ incredible eco-systems. Read on for 7 eco-friendly ways to discover the beauty of Mexico!

1. Help Baby Sea Turtles

Baby sea turtle releasing in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit has become a major tourist attraction. Turtle protection programs with turtle farms dedicated to the harvesting, hatching and releasing of baby sea turtles have been created by the Mexican government with marine biologists. As well as getting to see the beautiful creatures and enjoying an interactive and educational experience, you can help increase the survival rate of new turtle hatchlings!

2. Pay the Crocs a Visit

Riviera Nayarit has some great ecotours where you can visit and learn all about it’s rich ecosystem. If you want to explore it alongside rustic towns and historic ruins, head to the river of La Tovara. For those wanting to combine crocodiles and sea turtle release programs, you can visit El Quelele, a marshy lagoon where American Crocodiles exist in a protected environment.

3. Explore Vallarta Botanical Garden

Vallarta Botanical Garden is a nature reserve with botanical collections of more than 3,000 species and has an orchid nursery of 100 different species. After exploring the beautiful gardens you can swim in the Horcones River, do some bird watching or take a trail through the jungle!

4. Have a Whale of a Time in Banderas Bay

Banderas Bay is a sanctuary with an abundance of marine life. From December to March the majestic humpback whales arrive at the bay to mate and birth their young. You can experience this for yourself with various whale watching tours that are controlled, respectful and adhere to strict environmental and safety standards. You can also swim with the dolphins there!

5. Experience Life Underwater

Many water activities that can be enjoyed all year round! Jalisco and Nayarit are home to natural protected areas, bird sanctuaries and marine parks with impressive hill and rock formations that are great for snorkelling, diving, paddle boarding and kayaking. South of Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find Los Arcos. Along the Riviera Nayarit coast are the Islas Marietas, home of the famous Hidden Beach, Isla del Coral and Isla Isabel.

6. Visit San Blas for Birdwatching

With over 300 bird species and over 80% of migratory birds flocking to San Blas during the winter months, the coastal village is home to some of the world’s best bird watching locations for vacationing birdwatchers, especially during the months of October through to March as the weather is very pleasant. True bird watching enthusiasts visit San Blas during Mexico’s Festival of Migratory Birds at the end of January or San Blas Christmas Bird Count in December.

7. Zoom Across Jungles and Coastal Views

Jungle canopy tours, or zip-line tours, are one of the most popular and eco-friendly options to explore Mexico’s emerald green Pacific Coast rainforests in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains. You can book zip lining anywhere along the 200-mile stretch of the Riviera Nayarit in most major communities like Punta de Mita, Sayulita and Lo de Marcos. Puerto Vallarta also has many opportunities for zip-lining. Thrill-seekers can whizz along Mexico’s longest and fastest “Superman” zip line or get an aerial view of Los Arcos Natural Preserve.

Get Ready to Experience Santorini’s Number One Hotel this Season

Canaves Oia is a luxury hideaway just steps from Oia’s boutique-lined streets.

Looking for your next luxury hideaway in Greece? Canaves Oia is the number one spot in Santorini.

The collection is formed from an array of award-winning properties: Canaves Oia Hotel, Canaves Oia Suites, Canaves Oia Sunday Suites, Canaves Epitome and the luxe Canaves Oia Villa.

Get ready for complete privacy and attentive service in one of the world’s most beautiful surroundings this 2019.

Canaves Oia Hotel: For Those Insta-Famous Pool Pics

Instagram was created for places like Santorini, and if you’re prone to posting your holiday snaps, a trip to Canaves Oia is a must. Picture infinity pools, super luxurious suites with private verandas overlooking the caldera, gorgeous al fresco dining areas and enviable Aegean Sea views. With its whitewashed architecture and lux decor, Canaves Oia Hotel was shortlisted as the world’s Most Instagrammable hotel.

Canaves Oia Suites: For Nothing Less Than the Best

Canaves Oia Suites have proven to be a popular holiday draw, winning Hotel of the Year 2018 at the SLH Awards. And you’ll see why once you set your eyes on these pristine white buildings standing against the volcanic backdrop. The property also picked up Resort Hotel of the Year for its distinguished services and facilities, such as a luxury yacht for guests to explore the coast and an exceptional wine cellar.

Canaves Oia Santorini Villa: For Treating the Whole Family

If you want to treat the whole family, Canaves Villa is the perfect place. It has three bedrooms with king size beds that can be split into twins, two spacious verandas with an infinity pool, a private whirlpool Jacuzzi, and it’s only a stone’s throw away from the included facilities at Canaves Oia Suites and Canaves Oia Hotel.

Canaves Oia Sunday Suites: For Insane 360-Degree Views

Put this collection of eight sumptuous suites on your bucket list. Canaves Oia Sunday Suites are carved into the cliffside, perched in a serene location in the centre of Oia. Each suite is unique as the designer furniture is custom made, and every suite has an independent courtyard. The view from here is hard to beat, but if you really want to splurge, upgrade to the Master Suite with infinity pool – one of the best ways to soak up the scene in style.

Canaves Oia Epitome: For Heavenly Privacy

Making room for even more luxury, Canaves Oia Epitome was built above the picturesque fishing town of Ammoudi. The 24 luxury villas are a short walk away from black pebbled Katharos Beach. They guarantee privacy and a lovely lookout – Epitome is Santorini’s only hotel with both sea and sunset views from each room. Honeymoon suites are purpose-built for newlyweds and couples, but Epitome is also family-friendly.

Looking to book? Get the best rate guarantee online: canaves.com.

Bassa Maina: Your Ticket to the Rugged Indelible Beauty of Mani

9 uniquely designed, fully equipped luxury villas and suites in Peloponnese, Greece

Amid the untamed beauty of Mani, Bassa Maina stands apart: a bouquet of nine amphitheatrically built villas and suites in the middle of three peninsulas of the southern Peloponnese, Greece, form this 4* boutique hotel.

Take your ticket to comfort and luxury — this award-winning complex offers incredible accommodation, superior facilities and services, and a refined take on local dining.

Your Perfect Holiday Retreat: Elegance meets inspiring sophistication at Bassa Maina, consisting of nine uniquely designed villas and suites, each with a private terrace overlooking the sea. Each room has its own layout furnished with heavenly beds, exposed stone aesthetics, hand-picked decoration and rustic lighting fixtures, exuding warmth at every turn.

Stay in bright and spacious accommodation, complete with fully equipped kitchenettes, roomy seating areas and designer interiors draped in rich fabrics and high-quality materials. Warm up next to a crackling fireplace or admire unobstructed Mediterranean views from an outdoor heated Jacuzzi. All villas have private entrances, ensuring total seclusion.

Ultra-Modern Facilities: Bassa Maina promises nothing less than an amazing stay. The property boasts a restaurant with three-level outdoor patio, an upscale bar where you can unwind for a drink, a guest lounge with panoramic sea views, a small business centre, plus a reading area and library for peaceful moments.

If you’re the type who likes to stay fit during your holiday, the gym packs modern fitness equipment, including TRX, treadmills, elliptical machines and free weights. After your workout, choose from three different kinds of massages in the special massage room. Yoga classes are held outdoors during sunrise or sunset hours.

Superior Services: Stay stress-free thanks to a range of first-class services, counting express check-in and check-out, and early/late breakfast and breakfast in your villa or suite.

You can also arrange activities and tours to local attractions. There are many natural sights, monuments and pretty villages a short distance from Bassa Maina, including the scenic Areopoli, Limeni with its quaint fish taverns on the shore, and the mysterious Diros Cave.

Refined Dining: Wining and dining at Bassa Maina are intuitively authentic and deliciously creative. Enjoy fresh and locally-sourced ingredients used in the restaurant’s daily breakfast spread, lunch and dinner. The Head Chef has created menus that showcase the regions traditional dishes while mixing in his creative flair. A breathtaking view can be seen on the restaurant’s outdoor space.

Unforgettable Events: Host sophisticated events in a stunning location. The boutique conference room has a capacity of up to 50 people and can be used for small exhibitions, seminars and workshops. AV options include a ceiling projector and large screen, a 52-inch flat screen TV with home cinema, and a modern sound system.

Meanwhile, the restaurant’s outdoor patio is ideal for intimate wedding receptions and other social events. Mark your special day with a backdrop of sweeping sea and sunset views. The serenity of the spot also makes it a tranquil setting for yoga sessions and meditation.

Discover more at bassamaina.com.

Grecotel in Rhodes Gets a Regal Rebrand

All-inclusive resort on Rhodes Island becomes Grecotel LUX ME Rhodos

Grecotel’s All-In Resort on Rhodes Island gets a regal rebrand in 2019, welcoming guests to its remodelled property and introducing Grecotel LUX ME Rhodos.

Featuring the Luxury Made Easy All-Inclusive concept that Grecotel offers, it’s the place to be this summer. Guests don’t have to worry about a thing – luxury simply becomes a part of your life.


Set 15 km from Rhodes Airport, near the best-preserved medieval town in Europe, this seaside paradise lies surrounded by palm trees and a delightful Blue Flag beach. The elegance of Grecotel Luxe All in Living is reborn in open-style public spaces, incredible water features and splendid light-filled buildings.

Brand New Accommodation

Enter a water wonderland featuring marvellous pools and luxurious bungalow village accommodations. 276 guestrooms and 46 bungalows have been completely transformed.

Choose from an exciting collection of open plan guestrooms, family rooms, stylish suites, along with unique bungalows. Accommodation can be by the pool with either an open plan configuration for couples or separate bedrooms for families.

Luxe All-in Living

All-inclusive living was born from the vision of a carefree waterfront lifestyle. The refreshing holiday concept ensures worry-free stays with personal, modern service, outstanding food, beverages, events, activities and entertainment. You don’t have to plan things too far ahead thanks to 24-hour reception, free Wi-Fi in public areas and supervised children’s entertainment at Grecoland.

Luxe All-in Living is also available at Grecotel LUX ME White Palace, Luxury Resort in Rethymno, Crete, and at Grecotel LUX ME Daphnila Bay Dassia, Luxury Resort in Dassia, Corfu.


Take a culinary trip around the world: six sublime new restaurants and bars overlooking the Aegean Sea offer a la carte Greek, Italian, Asian and Fusion cuisines. Savour exceptional culinary adventures based on pure, simple and incredibly fresh ingredients.

A 24/7 lounge, a patisserie & chocolaterie, a crêperie & gelateria, premium brands, snacks and ice bars, wine tasting areas with over 150 labels to choose from, pool & beach service and Grecotel’s little luxuries await at no extra charge. Kids can stop by the Tasty Corner to chow down on a variety of healthy choices. ‘Petite Gastronomie’ offers farm to table fruit and veg and baby food.

Elixir Beauty Spa

The Elixir Beauty Spa features an indoor pool displaying a pyramid-shaped glass roof, impressive water features and tropical gardens. Guests can work out in the fitness room with state-of-the-art cardio equipment or relax and rejuvenate in the sauna, steam room, private massage rooms and beauty salon.

Kids & Family

The Kids Club has plenty to keep children occupied, with culinary lessons and creative activities happening throughout the week. While parents relax, kids can hit the playground, make a big splash on water slides or swim in a freshwater pool. From morning to night, teens and teenagers can join in on sports, games and competitions. And it’s all free!

Sports & Entertainment

Guests of any age can look forward to dancing, folklore shows and music in live acts and super DJ shows. Let yourself go with watersports, beach volley, mountain biking and memorable partiesRhodes Town is only a short hop away and has many castles, windmills, squares and shops to explore.

Grecotel Guest Portal

Whether you are a return guest or have planned a stay, the new guest portal presents all the hotel services in a convenient place. A world full of useful information and choices can be now discovered…

Plan your entertainment. Make online reservations for a la carte restaurants. Book spa treatments and wellness activities. Explore benefits, offers, weather forecasts, tips and more before and during your stay.

BOOK IT: LUX ME Rhodos opens early May. Book now from €225 for a Double Guestroom Garden View in LUX ME All-Inclusive.

To learn more visit, rhodos.grecotel.com

What’s on in Winchester: 2019 Events, Exhibitions & Festivals

Winchester City View

With a vibrant calendar of events, exhibitions and festivals, Winchester always has something exciting for you to enjoy. As the year comes to a close, see what’s on in 2019 to keep you busy while visiting the UK’s ancient capital.

Winchester Cathedral: Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation
Opening Date: By Summer 2019

Winchester Cathedral has embarked on a major development programme:  Kings and Scribes – The Birth of a Nation. The £20 million HLF-funded experience will feature three new permanent exhibitions, including A Scribe’s Tale, The Birth of A Nation and Decoding the Stones. The exhibitions will tell the story of Winchester Cathedral and Winchester’s role in the birth of the nation.

The exhibitions will also offer spectacular views of the Cathedral and transform public access to some of the most treasured artefacts from its collections, including all four volumes of the Winchester Bible, the finest surviving 12th-century Bible in England.

Marwell Zoo Presents BRICKOSAURS!
5 April – 1 September 2019

A one-of-kind event is coming to Marwell Zoo in 2019! It will become the first attraction in the world to host a collection of giant LEGO® brick dinosaurs.

BRICKOSAURS is a prehistoric experience featuring 50 life-sized sculptures built with LEGO bricks. Created with more than two million bricks, the interactive expedition is sure to excite families, LEGO and dinosaur enthusiasts alike.

Highlights include the largest touring LEGO brick dinosaur model ever made – a massive eight-metre T-Rex – plus fantastic displays all over the 140-acre park.

Bordon-based LEGO building company Bright Bricks will need more than 10,000 hours to create the exclusive event.

BRICKOSAURS will be included with general admission. Guests will also be able to make their own creations at BRICKOSAURS Basecamp, enjoy a free spotter’s guide and more.

The Gallery at Winchester Discovery Centre
January – September 2019

The Gallery at Winchester Discovery Centre is a stunning exhibition space showcasing works and artefacts of international importance. In 2019, visitors can look forward to exceptional displays from the most important galleries, museums and private collections in the country.

Elizabeth Blackadder: From the Artist’s Studio
18 January – 27 March

87-year old Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, one of the country’s greatest artists, was the first woman to be elected both to the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy. In 2001, she was given the prestigious title of Her Majesty’s Painter and Limner in Scotland. Such public accolades highlight her distinguished career, but her art remains quietly personal.

This specially curated exhibition, drawn mainly from the artist’s studio, will show the breadth and variety of Blackadder’s work, aiming to reveal and celebrate her exceptional career.

BP Portrait Prize
6 April – 13 June

The BP Portrait Award, the world’s most prestigious portrait painting competition, will be visiting Winchester for the first time ever in 2019.

2018’s winning entry by London-based artist Miriam Escofet is An Angel at my Table, a portrait of the artist’s mother drinking tea. The work was selected from more than 2,500 entries from 88 countries and submitted for judging anonymously by a panel that included journalist Rosie Millard and artist Glenn Brown.

On tour from the National Portrait Gallery, London, this exhibition of 48 works represents the absolute best in contemporary portrait painting.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: A Different View
5 July – 29 September

Artist Michelangelo (1475 – 1564) spent four years on scaffolding under the vaulted ceiling of Rome’s Sistine Chapel painting the world’s most famous frescoes: his interpretation of the history of creation. Before this, a simple starry sky adorned the ceiling of the chapel in the Vatican. Faced by structural challenges, Michelangelo developed outstanding painting techniques, setting new standards for future generations of painters.

Michelangelo’ s Sistine Chapel: A Different View – the UK premiere of this acclaimed, international exhibition – provides an unprecedented closeness to the magnificent works which adorn the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, 22 metres above visitors’ heads.

Officially licensed by the Vatican Museums, the images have been reproduced at high resolution and transferred to special fabric webs mounted on scaffolding in the shape of the roof. This technique allows a true-to-life reproduction of the ceiling and gives visitors a unique opportunity to view this monumental work up close.

Festivals in Winchester

Winchester Cocktail week in February kick starts a vibrant season of over 20 festivals happening in Winchester over 2019. From live music, street theatre and comedy to literature and fashion festivals, there is bound to be a festival to entertain you and the whole family.

Keats in Winchester

2019 marks the 200th anniversary of when John Keats spent a short time in Winchester and was inspired to write one of his most famous and best-loved poems To Autumn. Experience the same colours of inspiration as Keats and celebrate autumn in Winchester. Join in one of many events and activities from poetry trails, exhibitions, workshops and competitions to a Keats Banquet.

For a full list of events throughout the year, go to visitwinchester.co.uk/whats-on.


Canaves Oia Scores Triple Whammy at 2018 SLH Awards

Luxury hotel brand scoops three awards for two properties at prestigious show.

Canaves Oia in Santorini, Greece, grew its legacy of luxury at this year’s prestigious SLH Awards, scoring a triple whammy of wins in three categories.Canaves Oia Suites won HOTEL OF THE YEAR 2018. The pristine white suites set against the volcanic rocks offer glittering pools and individual terraces, plus a luxury yacht for guests to explore the coastline and an exceptional wine cellar.

Canaves Oia Suites also scooped the title of RESORT HOTEL OF THE YEAR, voted for exclusively by members of SLH’s loyalty programme, INVITED, and luxury travel agents.

Canaves Oia Hotel won BEST HOTEL VIDEO and was shortlisted as the world’s MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE hotel. The winning video showcases the hotel staff as an orchestrated band, where their every movement adds to the beat.

Markos Chaidemenos, Owner of Canaves Oia, said: “Thank you to all who voted for us. Our commitment to providing top quality service in a beautiful location has shown through yet again, and it feels fantastic to be recognised as one of the leading hotel brands of the world.”

The SLH Awards highlight excellence in everything from dreamy designs, breathtaking suites and notable staff to innovative social media campaigns and actions to help the environment and local community.

See more at slh.com/articles/slh-award-winners-2018.

Why 2019 is Officially the Year of Seychelles

Being a dreamy destination with perfect landscapes is not enough. The traveller of 2019 will seek to fulfill aspirations and consciousness of wellbeing for the self and the planet. Here is where Seychelles comes in.

From FOMO to JOMO: The Joy of Missing OutThe accustomed ease and accessibility of travelling mean that in 2019 many will be seeking to get off grid rather than visit the popular destinations. Many travellers and holiday-makers now see their holidays as a way to relax, get away from it all and even as a digital detox – the joy of being in the moment.Although Seychelles has 115 islands, most of them are uninhabited. Besides the 3 main ones where the Seychellois live, the others are resorts or deserted islands you can visit on a day trip, making them perfect off-grid escapes! Places such as Curieuse Island and Bird Island, for example, both have protected bio-reserves. This comes with an abundance of untouched natural beauty, which you can explore often without bumping into another tourist.Even the main islands, Mahé, La Digue and Praslin offer off the beaten track experiences. You can lose yourself spotting rare wildlife in Port Launay Mangrove Forest in Mahé or head to the most secluded beaches such as Anse Cocos in La Digue.

The Year of Sustainable Consciousness

With the growing focus on sustainability, travellers are increasingly becoming more and more conscious of their impact on the environment. Destinations are starting to realise now the importance of protecting their resources and natural habitat over increasing the number of tourists, but the Seychelles is way ahead of everyone else.

The country has agreed to preserve 210,000 sq km of ocean, almost the size of Great Britain, to clear some of its national debt. This agreement is the first of its kind in the world! Actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation donated $1m towards funding the debt swap. Tourism and fishing activities are being restricted to prevent damage to aquatic life.

The island nation has come in leaps and bounds tackling plastic pollution. An important ban, imposing restrictions on the importation, manufacturing, distribution, and the sale of plastic bags as well as on plastic utensils and polystyrene boxes, came into effect on 1 July 2017. In two months, a further milestone will be reached: the Seychelles newest ban on the importation of single-use plastic straws will come into effect.

2019: The Year of Travel Made Easy

Whilst we like the idea of living on the edge and seeking out the adrenaline-inducing travel experiences, most people just want to get from A to B hassle-free. Despite its distance and geographic layout, Seychelles offers just this.

British Airways launched new direct flights from London this year and other airlines also increased the frequency of their services. And you don’t need to worry once you get there as travelling between islands has also become a lot easier too.

Seychelles is a visa-free country and you don’t need to get vaccinations either. Getting around is stress-free as locals speak English, one of their official languages, and will be very happy to help. And best of all, you can visit the ‘land of perpetual summer’ all year round due to its ideal climate.

Visit seychelles.travel for more information.

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 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.


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