Whether you’re working on something new or just feel like you’ve lost your creative spark, it could be time to break free from your usual routine. Did you know that altering your environment can actually change the way your brain sees and uses information?
Stepping away from your desk and out into a more interesting habitat can do wonders for your productivity, and we’ve got just the place for you to explore this summer.
Just an hour by train from London, Winchester has a thriving community with over 100,000 residents and bags of personality. Their campaign #CreativeWinch has just seen two new ambassadors take the reigns, with the aim to tell the world about Winchester’s rich and vibrant cultural scene.
The newly appointed aficionados Kay May (Art Ambassador) and Madelaine Smith (Literary Ambassador) will be helping promote Winchester by sharing their knowledge about the city. They will be joining Winchester’s other Creative Ambassadors, who are all local residents; Pat Davies (History Ambassador), the gentlemen behind the Cabinet Rooms (Food/Drink Ambassador), and The Spitfire Sisters (Music/Fashion Ambassador).
From one-to-one guided tours to Twitter takeovers, the whole team are passionate about ensuring their best kept secrets remain secrets no more.
Here’s why you can be sure your creative juices will flow in Winchester:
1. It’s steeped in history
For traditional English history look no further than Winchester Castle. Founded in 1067, the medieval building is home to the Great Hall – rebuilt in 1222 – for which it is renowned. Not only does it house a museum of the history of Winchester, but it also displays an imitation of King Arthur’s famous Round Table which was constructed in the 13th century and repainted for Henry VIII.
2. The stunning architecture
Dubbed one of Britain’s greatest cathedrals, Winchester boasts a stunning building which has the longest nave and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. Be sure to book a guided tour to hear about Anglo-Saxon times, when the Normans invaded, and many other insightful stories that took place in this historic and beautiful building. You’ll also enjoy fantastic views of the city.
3. It’s perfect for aspiring writers
Manager of Winchester Poetry Festival and Literary Ambassador Madelaine Smith is no stranger to the well-read creatives that litter the city’s past.
“Winchester is home to numerous literary heroes, and is the setting and inspiration behind a multitude of novels and poems; from John Keats’ ode ‘To Autumn’ to a couple of Sherlock Holmes stories such as The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. I’m excited to encourage new audiences to see just what this beautiful city has to offer”.
Laid to rest in the city is legend Jane Austen who spent her final months in a house on College Street. Although the site isn’t open to the public, this year marks the 200th anniversary of her death and it has inspired many events across the area to celebrate her life. A series of sculptures have been unveiled – 24 Book Benches to be exact – which encourage the user to sit on a bench in the same spot where Jane took inspiration for many of her works. The accompanying app offers a handy tour around every bench in Winchester and surrounding areas.
4. Refuel at foodie hotspots
Exploring the city is likely to get your belly rumbling, not only with excitement but with a little hunger too. Luckily the area has become a hub of trendy places to get a bite to eat in between soaking up the culture.
Rick Stein has a traditional and surprisingly affordable restaurant which was one of his first forays outside of his homeland of Cornwall. You can also visit Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen, which has a fine selection for lunch, dinner and the finest Sunday lunch around.
5. Have fun spotting the bollards
For something a little different, spend some time looking out for the 16 hand-painted bollards that pepper the city. Led by the team at The Colour Factory, the inspiration for each piece is easily identified and well worth admiring. Similar schemes have now been adopted in Australia, the USA and Europe and have become a welcome addition to the colourful, fun-filled vibe on offer in Winchester.