“I wandered lonely as a cloud, That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils;” – Well said Will! We happen to love the spring splashes of daffodils shining in every nook and cranny in our stunning countryside. What a perfect time to experience the great outdoors in all its colourful glory!

Do you ever feel like the months are long, but the days are short? That’s why we think it's so important to make every second count, whether this is in the form of total and utter relaxation or total and utter exhilaration. Happily - we here in Winchester, have both! We also think that, since April is the ultimate balm to the rain and wind of past months, with 30 whole days of warmer weather, it was worth mentioned just how stunning our countryside is and all the things you can enjoy doing in said countryside!

So why not book your stay, have some food delivered, pack a picnic and see where your walking boots take you!!

For the thrill seekers:

Saint Catherine's Hill sits on an Iron Age hill fort nestled in one of the most the beautiful nature reserves. Covering some 47 hectares, the hill itself sits 70m above the river valley. You can hike to the top or take a walking meander on the lower levels. The views from the top are spectacular but it’s not a climb for the faint hearted. The top can be reached by ascending 220ft of wooden stairs, with panoramic vistas as far as the eye can see. Guaranteed to get your blood pumping!

If mountain biking is your thing, then Beacon Hill is a must! So named as the site of one of the beacons that formed a network across Hampshire (think Gondor calling for aid!). The chalky trail can be slippery, but the grass land is lush, the flowers abundant and there are many a grazing animal to spot along the way. You can either bring your bikes or hire them right here!

Cheesefoot Head might not be the most appealing name, but we promise, the views speak for themselves. Although the land is fairly undulating, it’s more family friendly, you can go as far as your legs permit; the paths are wider than the climbs or hikes and you can even take your dog! With perfect picnic spots along the way, the picturesque landscape is worthy of a selfie or 2!

For the moderate adventurer:

We suggest picnics and googling the cafes and pubs en route. All that fresh air can really work up an appetite!

Farley Mount is a hiking trail and one of the highest points in Hampshire at its summit (174m). It even inspired a local folk song which pays homage to a horse who carried his owner during a race in 1734. Comfortable shoes and bottles of water required!

South Downs Way is an off-road cycle route suited to mountain bikes. You can embark on a cross-country trail up and down the hills all the way from Eastbourne to Winchester. Needless to say, the views are stunning and well worth a few rest breaks to enjoy them. There’s a fair amount of history along the way in the form of monuments, post-card villages, Iron Age hills and even Devils Dyke.

The Twyford and Owlesbury Circular is 8.2km of trail to explore and can be completed (with no rest breaks) in just over 2 hours. It’s great for walking, running, and hiking depending on the path you choose. You can take your dog and enjoy the abundance of wildlife along the way.

For the peace and tranquillity enthusiasts:

Rushmere country park has a walking trail for the whole family, with dedicated areas for young explorers, horse riders, dog walkers and specialist cycling trails. There are cafes and toilets dotted around, with wheelchair and buggy access.

If you don’t fancy an entire day spend in the elements, you can visit some of the more charming public gardens that we have on our doorstep. For instance, Abbey Gardens. It’s not huge by any means and makes for a lovely little location to enjoy a picnic or some lounging. The tranquil park has a play area for little ones, benches to sit on and a stream to follow and spot the damsel flies.

The Hospice of the Cross is something a little different – stunning water meadows running along the River Itchen. You can see king fishers, water voles and large fish if you sit still enough! This spot is calm and tranquillity personified and worth putting on your Winchester To-Do list.

Whatever you choose to do with your free time, we hope we have given you a small selection of wonderfully seasonal activities to suit everyone. Remember, the beauty of the countryside isn’t dampened by the weather, it just makes it sparkle! However, if you do prefer to stay closer to a dry roof, warm and cosy surroundings and pamper treatments, you don’t have to venture further than the living space of your luxury lodge!

We hope to see you soon! For more ideas about the wonderful places to visit in Winchester, checkout the Facebook Community Group Windependents.