Searching for Hampshire’s best burger at: The Crown Inn, Bishop’s Waltham [series]

Until a couple of years ago, the Crown Inn was best avoided if you were after fine food and drink (think sticky carpets and faded Sky Sports banners drooping over the entrances).

Then came a £2 million makeover for this 16th-century coaching inn, which turned it from unloved watering hole into a posh pub, restaurant and hotel.

We headed to the Crown for a late-afternoon Sunday lunch last week.… Read more

A walking tour of Winchester’s best real ale pubs and historic sites

If you like sightseeing and love beer, the roman city of Winchester is perfect.

Not only is there lots of history, heritage and fine architecture dotted throughout the city’s medieval streets, but there are also many excellent traditional pubs serving excellent real ale.

This pub crawl and walking tour of Winchester allows you to see many of the sights of the city while sampling real ale from some of Hampshire’s 30+ breweries.… Read more

Searching for Hampshire’s best burger at: Bill’s, Southampton [series]

After I ran the Southampton Half-Marathon on Sunday, I was itching for a burger to replenish some of that lost energy.

Luckily, a burger was on the menu at the place where Tiff had booked us a post-run table – Bill’s restaurant in the new Westquay Watermark development.

I hadn’t been to a Bill’s in years. How did it rate in my search for Hampshire’s best burger?… Read more

The great keg beer rip off?

Why is keg craft beer more expensive than cask beer and ale? To find out, I asked some of the south’s top brewers and publicans. Here’s what I learnt.

Kegs – through their association with bland, mass-produced beer and lager – used to be a dirty word when it came to quality beer and ale.

Not so anymore.

While some real ale stalwarts will only drink draught beer served from a cask, savvy drinkers recognise that there are now lots of decent craft keg beers available in the UK.… Read more

Behind the scenes at the Flower Pots Brewery, Cheriton

See how I fared when I joined head brewer David Mackie to find out how the Flower Pots Brewery in Cheriton near Winchester turns humble ingredients into award-winning craft ales.

The Flower Pots Brewery in Cheriton near Winchester is only 11 years old. So it’s easy to forget it’s one of Hampshire’s oldest breweries, coming before the recent boom in craft brewers in the county.… Read more

The best bluebell woods in Hampshire

Read on to find out five woods where you can see amazing displays of bluebells in Hampshire. Includes locations and walks in the South Downs and New Forest national parks plus directions.

You know summer is well and truly on its way when you peek into the woods to see streaks of sunlight shining down onto a carpet of bluebells.

Thanks to a mild winter and a lot of early spring rain, bluebells have bloomed early again this year.… Read more