“Historically this medieval inn opposite one of England’s largest Gothic cathedrals with the longest nave in Europe, was once a shop and purveyor of alcohol and an important property belonging to no less than seven mayors of Winchester, from the 14th-19th centuries. It switched from wine seller to the Old Vine in 1959 becoming a popular pub and inn. Five spacious rooms and an apartment are styled and named after known interior designers such as Zoffany, Designers Guild and Osborne & Little. The feel is grown-up smart with Victorian, Georgian and Arts & Crafts mahogany furniture, pocket-sprung mattresses on sleigh beds, wallpaper or panelling, Egyptian cotton sheets and proper peplumed curtains. The cosy oak-beamed bar/restaurant downstairs is always buzzing and the inn, situated off the main pedestrian high street, is popular with those who want to be able to explore the city by foot.”
Written by Laura Campbell
“Why do people love staying in your hotel?
They love the old-world charm of the building; the proximity to the magnificent cathedral and the town centre with its many shops, bars and restaurants; the friendly, helpful staff; the relaxed atmosphere of the bar; the cosy restaurant with log fire and oak beams; the generously proportioned rooms, all individually designed, with loads of little touches – Nespresso coffee machine, fresh milk, mini fridge, Twinings teas, fluffy bathrobes and towels, top-quality mattresses, free wi-fi, Noble Isle toiletries.
What is there to do in the area?
Winchester cathedral; the Great Hall and Round Table; City Mill; Hampshire Food Festival (July); Christmas market in the cathedral grounds (mid-November to mid-December); farmers’ market (Sunday twice a month). South Downs Way (walk or cycle); Jane Austen’s House; Winchester College. Hat Fair street festival in July.
What kind of breakfast do you offer?
A la carte breakfast: fruits, yoghurts, cereals, pastries, toast, preserves, porridge, full English. Ordered in our restaurant, or for delivery to the room at no extra charge.
Do you offer other meals? And can you recommend good places to eat out locally?
We have a restaurant serving lunch and supper. Very popular locally, so advisable to book. Private dining area to seat up to 14. Wide-ranging menu consisting of pub classics (pies, fish and chips, sandwiches) to more elaborate preparations (Scottish salmon with Hampshire watercress and crème fraiche sauce; Morroccan-spiced lamb chops with dauphinoise potato).
There are loads of restaurants locally, from chains such as Ask, Wagamama and Brasserie Blanc, to high-end Michelin-starred fare (the Black Rat); local independent bistros (the Corner House); and big-name restaurants (Rick Stein, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall).
Which are your most popular room types, and why?
All our rooms are individually designed, so they are all popular for different reasons. The Osborne and Little room – with its four-poster bed, original Georgian plaster panelling, and views onto the cathedral green – is always popular. As is the Design House cathedral view suite – with its view of the cathedral spires – and our two-bedroom apartment, which is great for families, sleeping up to five guests.
What facilities do you have for children and can you fit extra beds in your rooms ?
We can add foldaway beds to most rooms – there’s a charge of £40 per night to cover breakfast and linen (this applies to guests aged 3 and over). We also have a cot for infants. There are no restrictions on using the restaurant at breakfast; however during opening hours the restaurant and bar are for children aged six and over only. The Little Minster conservatory room is an area where we can accommodate families with children of any age.
What message would you like to give Hotel Guru readers?
We’re right in the heart of England’s ancient capital, so the perfect place from which to explore this vibrant, cultured city on foot. We’re a great choice whether it’s for a special occasion, a mini-break or business travel – and we know how to make a guest’s stay memorable, nothing is too much trouble.”