Start in Winchester by fuelling up with a hearty breakfast and perhaps the best coffee in town at Café Monde on The Square. This independent cafe is full of character and a great place to watch the world go by. Next, wander over to Winchester Cathedral (just metres away). Take a tour with one of the expert guides to hear about Winchester during Anglo-Saxon times, what happened when the Normans invaded and the other events that have left their mark on this magnificent building. Work off your breakfast by climbing the cathedral’s tower – 213 steps later and you are rewarded with breathtaking views across Winchester and beyond.
For your afternoon, head east along the M27 to Portsmouth and take to the water at Gunwharf Quays for a harbour tour. Lasting around 45 minutes, the cruise around Portsmouth Harbour and the naval dockyard gives spectacular views of Britain’s modern frigates, destroyers and helicopter carriers, as well as historic buildings, sights and ships. The lively on-board commentary ensures you don’t miss anything. After disembarking grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants in Gunwharf Quays, such as Loch Fyne that will serve you a three-course seafood treat, or hunt for bargains in the outlet shopping centre.
If you’ve still got the energy then get ready for a lively night out – choose from buzzing bars, the casino or laughter at Jongleurs comedy club. Alternatively, just down the road from Gunwharf Quays, you could mooch around the cobbled streets of Old Portsmouth to finish off your day instead. The historic town has plenty of pubs, tearooms and bistro-style restaurants as well as fascinating architecture from centuries past.
Take a tour of Winchester Cathedral with one of the expert guides to hear about Winchester during Anglo-Saxon times, what happened when the Normans invaded and the other events that have left their mark on this magnificent building
Today it’s time to head away from the cities and discover some of Hampshire’s quaint towns and beautiful countryside. The historic market town of Odiham in the north of the county sits on the banks of the Basingstoke canal. A picturesque high street offers a broad mix of shops plus a good selection of coffee shops to grab breakfast from. A wander along the canal towpath takes you to the flint ruins of the 13th-century Odiham Castle.
In the heart of the charming Test Valley, Stockbridge is another historic town worth visiting. Fine brick buildings house independent boutiques, specialist food shops and art galleries. If time allows, this area is perfect for a leisurely country walk along part of the 44-mile Test Way.
In the afternoon, hop aboard a steam train on the Watercress Line and then sit back, relax and take in the wonderful rural views. Boarding from the market towns of Alresford or Alton, tickets give all-day unlimited travel and an on-board buffet serves takeaway cream teas; the perfect accompaniment to your journey. Check opening times before you travel and book in advance to guarantee your ticket.
Finish your day at a country pub near to Alresford. Enjoy a pint of real ale at the thatched Tichborne Arms or hearty home-made fare at The Yew Tree in the peaceful hamlet of Lower Wield.
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