King Alfred the Great is not the only Great thing about Winchester!
King Alfred Statue is just 5 minutes walk from St John’s Croft B&B. St John’s Croft is an outstanding Queen Anne Town House, in an elevated position on the Eastern side of the City centre. It is believed to date from the 1720’s
Nick and I fell in Love with St John’s Croft from the moment we saw a picture of it, and even more so after we walked in through the front door. The estate agent’s details suggested that the house was in need of, “some renovation and modernisation”, which was an understatement, but is what partly attracted us to it! Nothing had been spoilt by modernization and the house remained full of original features.
We have always felt very lucky to have been able to buy and live in this beautiful home. It is one of those houses that just has a lovely atmosphere, probably created by the families that have lived here past and present! Before us, St John’s Croft has only been owned by three different families since the 1890”s. Nick and I moved to Winchester from London in 1997 and set about renovating St John’ Croft back to it’s former glory…..always ongoing!
I started running our B&B from St John’s Croft in 2001 after we had completed a lot of the major works to the house. We have four children and our youngest child had just started school. I was too busy being a full time mum to get back to my previous employment as a specialist decorator and there was still plenty of decorating to do around here! 14 years on and the children have all just fled the nest…but it is never an empty one!
The thing I love about running a B&B is that we meet so many different people from all over England and the World! We have a lot of guests that come back time and time again. I think they just really enjoy the relaxed, informal, home from home atmosphere around here. We have two Bengal Cats and I like to think that when people come to stay they will feel as chilled as these two in the picture!
Winchester is a GREAT place to live and visit.
It has our world famous cathedral, a place of worship for over 900 years and famous for having the longest medieval nave in Europe. There are so many historic buildings, monuments and museums, all within a short walking distance of each other, and us. Just five minutes walk from St John’s Croft, on St Giles’ Hill, there is a view point where you quite literally get a birds eye view of some of the city’s most notable landmarks. If you don’t want to walk 5 minutes up the hill you get a stunning view of the city from just outside the house, on Joyce gardens or from our garden! 15 seconds from the front door or back door!! Joyce Gardens used to belong to St John’s Croft and was given to the City Council in 1934 in memory of Ellen Joyce, wife of the vicar of St John’s church.
Winchester has so many great restaurants we are completely spoilt for choice. In the last few years Winchester seems to have become a hot spot for a lot of celebrity chefs. At the bottom of St John’s street there is a lovely restaurant called The Chesil Rectory, in a stunning Tudor building circa 1450, and recently published in The Times, as being one of the top 20 most romantic restaurants in the country. If you book from Monday to Friday between 6pm and 6.30pm and all day on Sunday, they have a special menu, which is very good value and the food is delicious. Just moments from St John’s Croft B&B there are so many places to eat and drink. The Willow Tree and The Bishop on the Bridge are our nearest pubs, both with great food. The Black Boy pub and The Black Rat restaurant are also favorites locally and beyond. No 5 Bridge Street is a very buzzy cocktail bar and restaurant, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings! Another favorite with the locals is Gandhi’s.
The Willow Tree: 01962 877255
No 5 Bridge Street: 01962 863838
The Chesil Rectory: 01962 851555
The Black Rat (Michelin star): 01962 844465
Gandhi’s: 01962 863940
Rick Stein: 01962 353535
River Cottage Canteen: 01962 457747
Brasserie Blanc: 01962 810870
Winchester has a great Farmer’s Market, on the second and last Sunday in the month. It is the largest in the country, with over 95 local producers showcasing the range and quality of food available in Hampshire. We also have an antiques market on the first Sunday of the month and an Art and Design Market on the 3rd Sunday of every month. There are weekly Markets from Wednesday through util Sunday selling local produce, bric a brac and general goods.
Winchester is a paradise for shopping connoisseurs, boasting a tempting array of independent shops, boutiques and art galleries in scenic settings. The pedestrian friendly streets are full of Cafe’s, pubs and a lively bustling atmosphere.
If you prefer a bit of peace you can take a short picturesque walk beside the river from the Winchester City Mill (the official gateway to the South Downs National Park), built over the River Itchen in 1744, (one of the oldest working watermills in the country) to the hospital of St Cross. Founded in 1132 the hospital is still home to 25 Brothers and continues to provide refreshment for the traveler – including wayfarer’s dole. On the way you will go past Winchester College, founded in 1382, and believed to be the oldest continuously running school in England. Guided tours are available. If you are feeling a bit more energetic a walk up St Catherine’s Hill is a must, which has far reaching views over the city and beyond. The water meadows are famous for their chalk streams.
We have a Theater and Cinema, The Hat Fair and Christmas market. There are so many things going on in Winchester all year round it is impossible to mention them all. It is a wonderful city to visit. The staff that work at the Tourist information centre are so friendly and helpful. It is always worth giving them a call or looking online if you want to know what is going on. The phone number is 01962 840500 or visit www.visitwinchester.co.uk.
Have a “GREAT” time when you get here and I do hope we can accommodate you at St John’s Croft B&B.
If you cannot stay in Winchester, click on the St Clair option. How about the Cote D’Azur instead? Another GREAT idea……………..!?