to Saxon kings in days gone by, whimsical Winchester is
known for its historic waterside trails and mighty cathedral. Delve
a little deeper, though, and you’ll find an up-and-at-it creative
crowd of artists, makers and bakers.
Integral to this community is jeweller Suzannah Key. Having
moved to Winchester from Devon before the pandemic, Suzannah
Makers – a town-centre jewellery workshop, creative studio and
shop – with the intention of creating a space that celebrated
crafts made by local artisans. Now offering silversmithing
workshops for those looking to try their hand at jewellery-making
in a relaxed environment, Winchester Makers also offers a maker’s
table for hire, as well as a supported hot-benching facility for
up-and-coming jewellers looking to practise their craft.
Read on for Suzannah’s round-up of the best places to eat, sleep
and shop in this laidback Hampshire hub.
Wonderful Winchester: a local’s guide to the city’s best
independent shops, restaurants and cafés
How did you get into jewellery-making?
I have always had a passion for making things. When I was
introduced to jewellery-making at school, I was in love – it
immediately became my favourite thing to do. I still love working
with ceramics and wood as a hobby, but I’ve found that working on a
smaller scale and with a more functional product suits me better
for a career.
What inspires you and your work?
I split my time between my own designs and bespoke commissions.
I work really closely with my customers and try to pour as much of
their personality into each piece as possible. I welcome getting to
know them and their stories. With my own work, I’m inspired by
organic forms and tiny geometric details, and I always keep the
wearer in mind. My work is comfortable, playful and tactile. I
travelled to Sri Lanka recently and brought back a selection of
beautiful Ceylon sapphires. I’m currently building a range inspired
by these colours.
What’s your favourite thing about your profession?
I love the fact that most jewellery is infinitely recyclable. I
work a lot with repurposed antique jewellery, and it feels good to
waste as little as possible. The industry is certainly moving in
the right direction, making it easy for makers like me to work with
recycled and responsibly sourced metal, as well as more ethical
stones such as lab-grown diamonds.
Where do you go in Winchester for creative inspiration?
I walk every day to clear my head and to think of new ideas.
Winchester has so many beautiful walks, many of them through
woodland and along riverbanks.
Where should we go jewellery shopping?
My shop, Winchester Makers, of course! Myself and my business
partner Joanne Bowles make the jewellery we sell in the shop, so
you can pop in and see us or book a consultation to discuss a
What are some of your favourite independent shops in
Winchester’s independent scene is growing and growing. Lifestyle
store The Hambledon always
has a beautiful window display, as does furniture shop The Consortium. Both
are great for finding unique gifts. I also love Earthian – a
brilliant zero-waste refill shop.
Describe the city’s vibe in three words…
Easygoing, beautiful and safe.
When’s the best time to visit?
Definitely Christmas. Winchester goes big on decorations, and
the city feels incredibly festive and twinkly.
Describe a perfect day in Winchester.
One of the best things about Winchester is that you can spend
the whole day on foot and still see so much. I would begin my day
with a swim in the river, followed by coffee and breakfast at
General Store, my favourite café. You can walk for hours around
the city, meandering down side streets and finding shops and
historical sites you never knew were there. Winchester has some
amazing Nepalese and Indian food, so I would end the day with a
curry, either at Ghandi
Restaurant or with a takeaway from Shaad Kitchen.
Where should we go for the best brunch in town?
What about coffee on Monday morning?
What’s the best day of the week to be in Winchester?
Saturdays can be a bit busy, so I’d recommend arriving on a
Thursday. The town will be a little quieter, but all the
restaurants will be open late and there’s usually a good buzz in
What’s the best way to explore the city?
Catch the train here if you can, then continue on foot. The city
is really very small.
Are there any local markets you’d recommend?
There’s a market every Thursday through Sunday, and it’s great
for street food. I recommend Marse, whose grain-based Nepalese food is
delicious. The first Sunday of every month also sees a craft market
for local and visiting artists, which is definitely worth a visit.
Tash Fry has a beautiful ceramics stall.
Your favourite local walks?
I love hiking up St Catherine’s Hill for mega-views across the
city. You’ll also catch the last of the sunlight up there.
For some culture, head to…
I wouldn’t be a Winchester resident if I didn’t mention
Winchester Cathedral. You have to visit to really take in its
magnitude. Venture down into the crypt to view Antony Gormley’s
impressive Sound II statue, as well as reading about Jane Austen
and the many Anglo-Saxon kings who are buried here.