If you’re looking for autumnal destinations in the UK, how about picking-up a copy of Keats’ Ode to Autumn, and following in his footsteps on The Keats’ Walk in Winchester?
He composed the ode 199 years ago, in 1819 – regarded by critics as one of the most perfect short poems in the English language – after a walk near Winchester one autumnal evening. It is said that its inspiration was the landscape he walked on daily basis during a stay in Winchester.
Winchester offers the base for plenty of autumnal walking from the city centre directly into the South Downs National Park.
It will also help to introduce the visitor to Hampshire’s best-known author, Jane Austen whose grave can be found inside Winchester Cathedral – one of the many venues in Hampshire which marked the 200th anniversary of her death in 2017.
From Winchester, it’s a short drive to Chawton, and a chance to see Jane Austen’s House Museum and Chawton House Library.
Another seasonal place to visit would be Gilbert White’s House in Selborne, which contains the story of the pioneering naturalist who is regarded by many as England’s first ecologist, and someone who shaped the modern attitude of respect for nature.
As a rural county, autumn is a time of harvesting, and we can find plenty of food-and-drink options to reflect this throughout Hampshire: from its vineyards, to its cider making at somewhere like Upper Neatham Mill.
Autumn is also the time when Hampshire celebrates its local food and drink at events such as the Winchester Harvest Weekend on October 7 and 8; and the Emsworth British Food Fortnight which draws to a close this year on October 7th.
Wine Festival Winchester, meanwhile takes place November 23-24 this year.
Examples of where it’s possible to enjoy an especially seasonal stay include:
Lainston House Hotel, Winchester
For accommodation, try the luxurious Lainston House hotel – a 17th century country house situated in Winchester. The property boasts a wide variety of rooms and suites, an award-winning 3 AA Rosette restaurant. From £185 (B&B, based on double occupancy).
Cook at Seasons Cookery School is located within the grounds of Lainston House Hotel. They offer a variety of courses including “seasonal”, “meat & fish”, “baking and sweet things”, “kids, parent, student”.
Upper Neatham Mill, Alton
Stay here in a converted 17th-century barn on the bank of the River Wey. This relaxing B&B is the perfect location for an autumnal break in Hampshire. From around £80 per room, per night B&B
The accommodation also runs a popular two-day cider making course during the autumn months.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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