Winchester! Last resting place of Jane Austen, and just down the road from where she spent the most productive of her time (Chawton). The King Alfred is the accommodation we choose and is situated above the pub/restaurant adjacent to one of the fingers of the River Itchen.
As this is the last of our UK stops this trip, Ange comes to the train station to meet me and we go the long way around to take a look at a couple of the sister pubs to see what the food is like there (the King Alfred is part of the Little Pub Group. Satisfied that the offerings at the King Alfred are superior, we head back to check out our room.
An out of the way door leads upstairs to the hallway which has about five rooms attached. The first thing that hits me is the vivid magenta colour scheme. Pictures hang on the walls but the brightness of the paint hurries me along to the door to our room and we head inside post haste.
Inside is a good sized room, nicely furnished with carefully hand-selected antique furniture and artworks to create a congenial atmosphere.
The bathroom is an unusual layout – it’s like a corridor: long and narrow with the shower at one end and the toilet halfway along. There’s a couple of squares left on the toilet roll so Ange heads down to get some more. She’s giggling when she comes back and I soon see why: she’s been given an industrial sized roll which can’t actually fit on the roll holder. The next day it’s been replaced by something a little more…domestic.
There’s also a tray of tea and coffee making facilities with a generous selection of biscuits, and a mini bar with breakfast materials.
There’s an apologetic note saying words to the effect of “we’d rather sleep in than make a cooked breakfast – here’s something that will get you going”. Muesli, yoghurt, pastry and orange juice promise to be a quick and easy start to the day.
We’re only a short stroll into town which makes for convenient access to everything Winchester has to offer, but the quality of the King Alfred’s food makes trying elsewhere futile. The first night I have the burger and Ange tries the bangers and mash, we get a bread and butter pudding to share for dessert. All delicious!
On the second night she tries the duck while I, suitably reassured that the sausage is nothing like what I had in Paris, have the bangers and mash. The desserts are so good we get one each, sticky toffee pudding and chocolate brownie.
If we’d stayed another night I can pretty much guarantee we would’ve eaten at the restaurant for a third night in a row.
Pros and Cons
Would I Go Back?
The room was quite pricey for what it was and the lack of a cooked breakfast did sting a little. But the restaurant was really good and the staff friendly, so you could hardly fault the place – I’d definitely go back.