A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Miss Chris

Sightseeing in Winchester England

Tours of the Great Hall and a city walking tour

rain 40 °F

We’d planned to go to Stonehenge and Avebury today, as it appeared on the map to be closer to Winchester than London. I looked up tickets and could not find an easy way to get to both places, so we decided to put that off until next week when we can easily do a day trip.

We decided that we’d finish up the sites in Winchester that we did not have time to do before. 1st up was a visit and tour of the Great Hall. We were in there for the trial but we didn’t have a chance to really see the hall.

I saw that there was a tour at 11am. We left quickly, caught the 10:23 bus then walked up the hill to the hall. The hall is thru the downtown area then up a hill about a 15 min walk. We arrived in time for the tour. It is always amazing to me to walk through something from so long ago.
We wanted to do the walking tour out of the Visitor’s Center at 2:30 and thought we’d stop for some hot tea to warm up. It was really cold and raining. As we were walking we saw a tea shop and I thought it might be fun to take some home. There were lots of steaming hot samples of tea so we sampled all available. We even bought some.

There was a steady rain when we got down to the Visitor’s Center but we signed up for the 1-1/2 hour walk. City lead walks are usually a good way to learn about the city and this was no different. The guide showed us among other things: walls, probably 1,000 years old and an entry used by King Charles the 2nd to get to his mistress when staying in the city. A quote from the mistress that Dale and I love ““Pray good people be civil, I am the Protestant whore” https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Nell-Gwyn-Gwynne/

The photo of Queen Emma's house. She died in 1036
After another steaming hot pie we were tired, picked up another bottle of wine and went back to our hotel.

Posted by Miss Chris 02:43 Archived in England Tagged winchester england walking travel international_travel great_hall queen_emma Comments (0)

A Day Trip to Chawton

Visiting the home of Jane Austen and her family

overcast 40 °F

I love Jane Austen, I’ve read her books over and over. Poor Dale has watched every movie based on her books with me. So seeing that Winchester was close to where she lived and wrote, we had to go.

Fortunately, the bus that stops in front of our hotel goes straight to Chawton the site of her house. You must ask the driver to stop at a stop not usually used. Then walk to the house, about a 15 min walk.
The house is surprisingly small, with artifacts from the family inside. It was so amazing to see the small round table that she wrote at. The top is original but the bottom is not. Items of silver and dishes are original, as are several pieces of jewelry and clothing.

Upon entering the house, we were met by a gentleman, Jeremy Knight. He gave us lots of information and was quite enthusiastic about the house and contents, and of Jane Austen. It turns out that Jane Austen was his aunt, adding several greats to Aunt. What a privilege to meet someone like him.
After touring the house, kitchen and gift shop, and trying my hand at writing with a quill pen, we went on to the Chawton House. This was the home of Jane’s brother who was adopted by the Knight family in order to pass down the property. Women couldn’t inherit the property at that time. Jane stayed in this house for a while and visited often.

The walk to the Chawton House was so beautiful, trees changing colors and fields with sheep beyond. There were few people in either place or walking. We had everything to ourselves.


The Chawton House has a kitchen that was built in the 1500’s and parts of the remainder of the house were built in the 1600’s. The kitchen has been turned into a tea room/café. We were hungry by the time we arrived at the house, so had lunch in the kitchen. It is well worth stopping for lunch or tea and cake. By the way, everything is made in-house. The chocolate gluten-free cake is to die for!
After lunch, we took a self-guided tour of the house. It is a large home and great if you like wood paneling. There is a library full of books written by women from the 1600’s to 1800’s. Unfortunately, the books are only for researchers but they were fun to see.

We enjoyed ourselves so much that it was dark when we started back to the bus stop. We were a little concerned because we had to cross a very busy street with no signals. But we made it in one piece.

After stopping back in Winchester downtown to buy wine we decided to try a little place for dinner that I’d read about. It was really cold outside and lunch had left us. We went to a tiny place that serves pies: pies stuffed with beef, chicken, game, veggies, you name it. The pies can come with mushy peas or mush (potatoes). Almost everything is gluten-free so I could eat most anything on the menu. Now it’s a new favorite!!!

Posted by Miss Chris 10:33 Archived in England Tagged winchester walking travel international_travel jane_austen_house chawton_house Comments (0)

Winchester and the Great Hall

The treason trial of Sir Walter Raleigh in the Great Hall

sunny 45 °F

It was the performance going tonight that brought us to Winchester. When we decided on London and the concerts we wanted to see we also checked out the Globe. We’d had such a great time at the Globe that we wanted to see another performance, even though we knew that we’d be at the indoor theater. I found a performance of the “Treason Trial of Sir Walter Raleigh” at the original 800-year-old Great Hall and bought tickets.

It was later that we discovered the performance was in Winchester. Our first reaction was, “where is Winchester?” We pulled out the map, found Winchester and then places nearby to visit. Hence the trip to Winchester.

We hoped to visit the Great Hall before the performance but, after a walk up to the Hall, we found it was closed. We’d forgotten that there was to be an afternoon performance as well. We walked around the hall area, looking at the remains of the Winchester Castle, a favorite place of King Henry Vll and the place where his son Arthur was born. The hall is all that remains standing.

There were a few items we wanted to buy for grandkids so found the bookstore and then went on down to the markets by the Cathedral. This time we walked thru the entire Christmas Market buying hot roasted chestnuts and mulled wine.

We stopped for dinner at Cote Basserie, the place recommended by the Visitor’s center. This restaurant has an extensive gluten-free menu. Both Dale and I ordered off this menu so that we could split the meals, Beef Bourguignon and Cassoulet. I was so stuffed after such a hearty meal but knew it would last for the cold evening.
The Great Hall, built in the 1200’s, was the site of the Treason Trial and many other trials. It also is the location of King Arthurs Round Table. The original trial took place about 415 years ago.
The trial was set up more modernly, actors wearing modern day clothing and there was the use of electric lights, but they used the transcripts from the original trial. The actor who played Sir Walter Raleigh looked like the picture of Raleigh and was very convincing.
There was no heat in the building so we were given red blankets to cover with. But, we were completely spellbound during the proceedings, the 2-hours passed by so quickly.

A side note; the couple seated next to us asked where we were from, our accents seem to give us away. They also asked where else we would be traveling. When we mentioned that we were avid Downton Abbey fans and going to visit Highclere they were so excited. The woman said that she’d taken tours to Highclere for afternoon tea in the past. We showed them some of our photos of our Dowton dinners and they appeared to be impressed.

After the performance, we went back to Cote Basserie, only a 5 minute walk. The staff was expecting us. We finished the evening with a French version of Irish Coffee and a small Chocolate Pot.
Stuffed and happy we went back to the hotel to get ready for another day.

Posted by Miss Chris 02:15 Archived in England Tagged winchester walking travel sir_walter_raleigh international_travel great_hall Comments (0)

Day 1 in Winchester

Exploring Winchester

overcast 45 °F

The plane ride was good, a picnic with complimentary wine and cheese and crackers that I’d brought were a great way to start the flight.
After customs, we found the location of our bus ride to Winchester then found some Italian coffee to pass the 3 hours we had to wait. The bus ride would have been interesting if we would not have kept falling asleep.

We arrived in downtown Winchester, hopped into a cab and went to our hotel. We wanted to go to dinner in downtown Winchester but couldn’t find the wherewithal to leave so ate at the hotel restaurant. This was actually a good choice as the food was good and gluten-free.

The buffet breakfast had lots of choices so we could fill up on food that would last for several hours. We then hopped the city bus just outside of the hotel on the main road and went into the town.

We didn’t have a plan for today, just go to the Visitor’s Center again, and then go to the Winchester Cathedral. After that, we wanted to see the Great Hall if we had time or walk around the Christmas market or go where the spirit moved.
We went to Winchester and found the Cathedral and found a tour guide, this is free with an entry ticket. Our guide was actually from the states but has lived in the UK for many years. She gave us a great introduction to the site. After the hour+ tour, we went back and looked at 1 part of an original bible. The book was of interest to us because of its age.


I wanted to see Jane Austen’s memorial and burial site. I have loved Jane Austen for many years and have read and reread her books.
Having spent several hours at the Cathedral we were getting hungry. The guides had told us about a pub that they thought was great so we tried to find it. Instead, we got lost and ended back at the Visitor’s Center. I’m suspecting that they were getting tired of our questions, but they gave us another map with the location of the pub circled on it. The person helping also has Celiac and she located safe restaurants on the map for us.

We started walking but were distracted by a farmers market, then saw a grocery store and remembered that we had forgotten a corkscrew for the wine we brought. While we were in the store we remembered that we also wanted to buy more wine. Well no corkscrew or decent wine, but they directed us across the street. And by then we remembered that we also needed a 3-prong adaptor to charge my laptop.

We went across the street but didn’t find any decent wine or any corkscrews. And after searching at yet another store thought that we’d look for the adaptor. That was yet another runaround but finally found both a corkscrew and adaptor.

Finally, we found the restaurant we’d been looking for only to find that there wouldn’t be a table free for the evening. We went out of the restaurant but didn’t know where to go, we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and I wasn’t doing well at all. A man stopped and asked if we were lost and I answered that we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, we couldn’t eat at the place recommended and we had no idea where we needed to go. He pointed out a street with lots of restaurants (one recommended by the visitors center earlier but we’d forgotten). We went up the street and popped into a pub.
I ordered food at the bar only to find that we needed a table number (I forgot all about that) so we had to cancel the order and find a table in the very full pub. We found us a table, ordered our food which turned out to be very good and very inexpensive.

We finished up at the pub and got back to Winchester Cathedral in time for Evensong. We like these services as there is music in these wonderful cathedrals for no charge.
After the service, we were freezing cold (it was cold all day) so we had another cup of mulled wine then ran to catch our bus. Alas, we’d missed it and the next bus wasn’t going to arrive for another 40 min. We found another pub and had a “spot of tea”.

Finally, after a long day of running around, we made it back to our room. After some wine and cheese, we were done.

Tomorrow is another day!

Posted by Miss Chris 02:52 Archived in England Tagged winchester walking travel winchester_cathedral international_travel Comments (0)

Trying To Get To London

Adventures before we could even catch our plane

sunny 70 °F

Last year, while working in Florida, we had a family emergency and bought plane tickets to fly home and back. As it turned out, we had to drive home to work the fires in Northern California, so did not use the tickets. We canceled our flight and thought we’d use the tickets at a later date, if possible.

Our time was running out, to use the tickets so we looked for concerts we might like to attend. We found that there were several concerts in London, so we booked our tickets around the concerts. And for the same price, we booked our round trip with one stop.

Our 1st flight was set to depart at 11:50 am giving us 2 hours in San Francisco, where we would board our 3 pm non-stop flight to London. We had 2 passes for the United Club, expiring in 2 days, so I printed the passes and we were feeling quite smug with ourselves.

As we were driving to the airport, about 15 min away, a notification came over my phone that our flight would be delayed until 1:45 which would put us in San Francisco just a few minutes before 3. We drove on to the airport and Dale dropped me off close to the United ticket counter.

No one was at the counter. I ran to the parking lot where Dale was just parking the truck and grabbed my phone. I figured I’d call Customer Service.
On my way back into the terminal I saw 2 United personal walking to the ticket counter. They did not know about the delay until I told them but they proceeded to check us in. They suggested that we get to San Francisco and then see what the options were. We decided to go back home quick, repack a bag that I’d thrown things into, and pick up a couple of items we’d forgotten.

While at home we ate a little, repacked and then thought we’d get back to the airport. It was only 12:30 but I like to have a little extra time when carrying laptops, tablets, and all of the electronics I take.

We got into the airport and as we entered the terminal we heard our names over the loudspeaker. They were paging us to get to the gate. Fortunately, there was only 1 person ahead of us in the security line, and since we have Global Entry we were able to hurry thru.

We ran to the gate and found that the plane was waiting for us. We found our seats and took off for San Francisco. This would give us an extra few minutes to get to our next flight.

Before reaching San Francisco the flight attendant asked where our final destination was and what time the plane would leave. She then took our bags from the overhead bin and placed them in the front seat and she announced that we were to exit first as we had the furthest to go.
We were wearing our trail-runner shoes, so figured that we were ready to at least try to make our flight. We walked as quickly as possible from the domestic terminal to the international making it just as our group was starting to get on the plane.

What a relief to be on the plane! We wouldn’t lose our bus tickets to Winchester or a hotel night already paid for and non-refundable.
And so the next journey begins with an adventure!

Posted by Miss Chris 01:58 Archived in USA Tagged london travel airplane_travel international_travel Comments (0)

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