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Winchester

Winchester


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We woke up to a light drizzle, just as the weather forecast had predicted, so my decision to look round the New Forest yesterday and go to Winchester today was vindicated.

We didn't have any breakfast, so by the time we arrived in Winchester at lunchtime we were starving. By now it was pouring with rain, too, so the combination of both made us dive into the first restaurant we both fancied; Loch Fyne. The food there was wonderful and I would most definitely recommend it to anyone. Their lunchtime deal is extremely good value. Smoked haddock chowder with granary bread, a massive smoked salmon fishcake with roasted vegetables and a side of chips, all for only £10.45? Yes please!

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The rain was still hammering down when we left the restaurant. It was mid-afternoon by now and Winchester has many different places of interest, so we decided to go straight to the main one first and then have a look round the shops after. The place we went to was the Great Hall, the only part of Winchester Castle that now remains.

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The Great Hall was built from flint in the first half of the 13th century, though the roof was replaced in 1873. The thing I was most interested in was the imitation Arthurian Round Table, built in the 13th century and repainted in the time of Henry VIII. Only the tabletop remains, not the legs, so it is hung on the wall. The names of 24 of Arthur's knights are painted round the edge.

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The rest of the Hall was impressive as well. There were stained glass windows, wooden rafters, a recreation of a medieval garden outside, and the wall opposite to the Round Table is covered from ground to ceiling with a 19th-century mural of the names of all of Hampshire's Members of Parliament from 1283 to 1868.

After leaving the Great Hall we walked up the road to the army museums, but unfortunately they had just closed. Then we passed by an old-fashioned sweet shop, so we went inside and bought various things... We carried on down the high street, passing by side streets named (I assume - but I might be wrong) after the types of people and trades that used to cluster in each; Jewry Street, Parchment Street, Tanner Street. It was still raining. I definitely want to come back to Winchester another time, when the weather is a bit better and we have more time to look round!

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Waterstone's was practically the only shop still open by now so we browsed there for a bit until it closed at 6pm and we had to drive back to the campsite. We arrived back tired, so we rested for a bit and had dinner quite late. Tuna and tomato pasta, cooked on our portable gas stove. Not bad... and while it was still cooking, a visitor bounded over and licked one of our plates! We heard it coming and saw by the light of our torch that it was a bulldog. Its owner followed behind, apologised and drew the dog away.

Posted by 3Traveller 02:41 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged winchester united_kingdom camping dave british_cuisine Comments (0)

The New Forest: Day Two

Fordingbridge and New Forest National Park


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After a lie-in our first stop of the day was in the little town of Fordingbridge, north of our campsite and on the boundary of the New Forest. We bought sandwiches, snacks and drinks at a Tesco Metro and wandered over to a riverside park to eat our lunch on the banks of the River Avon. To get there we crossed the medieval Great Bridge with its seven elegant arches; as we ate our lunch we had a great view of the same. Then we walked down the road a bit to explore further. As we re-crossed the Great Bridge I noticed a statue of the artist Augustus John, who lived in Fordingbridge from 1927 until his death in 1961. Most of the shops were closed, because it was a Sunday, but we did go into a little temporary local art exhibition, where Dave bought some cards.

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After Fordingbridge we drove further into the New Forest, stopped and went for a walk on the heath. It was very calm and peaceful. We saw several new Forest ponies, not on the heath itself but in a bracken patch and a copse. I really liked that. Some of the ponies were bay coloured and some were black and white.

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The next stop was something I was particularly keen to see while we were in the New Forest. This was the Rufus Stone, a stone that marks the spot where William II, nicknamed 'William Rufus', met his death in 1100 (though the accuracy of the marker placement is disputed). He was shot in the chest in the middle of a hunting excursion; some think it was an accident, some think it was deliberate. Supposedly, a nobleman called Sir Walter Tyrrel was aiming for a stag, but his arrow glanced off an oak tree instead and hit the king. The original marker was placed in the glade in the 18th century and after repeated vandalism, was given a cast iron cover in 1841. This is what we can see today.

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We read the marker's inscriptions (which also date from 1841) and took some photos before walking down the road to the Sir Walter Tyrrel pub, which stands in the open with a green on the other side of the road. New Forest ponies roamed. We enjoyed a drink in the beer garden before heading back to the car.

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We had dinner and a drink or two in the bar/restaurant/clubhouse again in the evening.

Posted by 3Traveller 13:56 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged bridges art united_kingdom camping dave british_countryside new_forest_national_park rufus_stone Comments (0)

The New Forest: Day One

New Forest National Park


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Bank Holiday weekend camping trip to the New Forest with Dave.

We set off nice and early but unfortunately every campsite in the New Forest was fully booked up by the time we arrived. Luckily, without much more driving around we found one only a mile or two from the edge of the national park. On our drive across the New Forest I loved the sight of it - it was exactly how I imagined; a mixture of green hills, open heath with purple heather and patches of bog, New Forest ponies, bracken and trees.

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After setting up our tent and having a rest for a couple of hours, we chucked rugby, cricket and tennis balls around for a bit in an empty field and then it was time to drive down the road for a quick foray into the edge of the Forest. Several New Forest ponies wandered around, drinking at the stream, crossing the road and nibbling at grass in the middle of a roundabout. One of these ponies took Dave by surprise by coming up behind him without him hearing it and sticking its nose next to his arm.

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Not far from the stream, round a corner out of sight, I found something unexpected... a giant sand dune at the edge of some little bracken- and -tree-covered hills! Of course, having seen it I simply had to climb to the top and run down, so I did. Dave declined to do the same, but took pictures of me running down. There was a rope swing hanging from a tree near the foot of the sand dune so we both had a go on that.

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The sun was going to go down soon, so after I'd quickly climbed to the top of the hill next to the sand dune to take some pictures, we headed back to the campsite and had some food and a drink at the on-site bar/café.

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Posted by 3Traveller 13:10 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged united_kingdom camping dave british_countryside new_forest_national_park Comments (0)

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