Staycation Special – Hannah’s, Winchester
Staycations are a wonderful thing but most involve a tedious journey from London, an isolated BnB and the promise to yourself that you’ll take a three hour walk to a pub, only to end up getting sozzled in the mini bar. Not so with Hannah’s.
Aside from the obvious beauty of this three bedroom BnB – the property equivalent of The Hemsleys – it’s a speedy trip on the train from London to the equally gorgeous Winchester town. Located centrally, you turn a corner off the main street to find a vintage Mini outside a white house/cottage with the words Hannah’s painted onto it. So far, so cute. The heavy wide door is then opened to reveal a host as mindfully centred as the setting, Hannah.
Ushering you past the honesty bar, cosy sitting room and piano on a stage (late night recitals?) the bedrooms sit upstairs with high plush beds and softer than soft floral bedding favouring bold colours over cliché pastels.
You’ll be given time to settle into the space – grand ceilings, nouveau country cottage setting, free standing bath on a small mezzanine overlooking the bed, potions to take home (or use in the sexy shower), under floor heating, flat screen linked to Netflix and a chic hanging copper light. Perhaps testament to Hannah’s youth and obvious feel for interiors, this is more Soho Farmhouse than chintzy rural vibes.
The first thing on the menu is tea, peanut butter bites and scones as you relax in the conservatory.
Dinner isn’t served here but Hannah will point you in the right direction and there are a plethora of good restaurants in Winchester. Rick Steins is one of them. But a cosier experience is the Wykeham Arms – hearty food at a very high standard and the ability to sit for at least three hours nursing a good bottle of red, or two. Best thing to eat there: steak and triple-cooked chips with garlic butter, followed by a cheese board and crumble to share.
What Hannah does do is breakfast, taken round a wooden table laid with flowers and condiment pots. Start with granola, toast and homemade jam, yogurt and tea. Then it’s a healthy English breakfast – grilled bacon, proper sausages, tomatoes and eggs how you like them. Like everything about this place, and seemingly Hannah, it’s perfect.
Although you could quite easily go on a Friday post work, it’s more exciting to have a weekend of excess in London then wake up on Sunday after lunch and whisk your lover to the station. This isn’t a smutty weekend; it’s a romantic one for when you’ve both exhausted yourselves with extravagant London daytime dating and want to do something rural that still feels a bit young, fun and convenient. Once you’re in the room, snuggle for a bit and pick a film for later. Then head off to the pub a little too early (5pm) and wait patiently till dinner service starts.
Natter away to each other and take it in turns to get up and buy rounds. Let whichever dogs walk by and make some cringe comments to your fellow boozers. Post dinner, take a walk straight home and debate the honesty bar. Realise it’s a Sunday so change your mind, head up stairs, make fat love and fall asleep to a box set. Then up in the morning for breakfast and a train straight to work. How efficient.
The capitalist in me wants more bedrooms, a dinner service and a booming boutique hotel.
2. It’s romance babe.