Having a couple or several days to spare will make all the difference to your stay here.

In a very little time you can feel at home, recognising faces in the street, knowing your way about, and having time to enjoy idling about in cafes, watching the world go by, and shopping instead of window shopping.

The Square is the perfect spot for some lazy mooching with cafes, restaurants and pubs with outside seating and some super deluxe shops contrasting with the nearby branches of the chain shops.

I enjoy meeting friends for a coffee and a gossip so I can suggest coffee shops (as well as the the odd pub or two – literally!).

One area which many visitors miss fits well into a more extensive tour is the former Peninsular Barracks – the Versailles of Winchester, home of five military museums, but also a fabulous major garden landscape, with parterres, ponds and fountains. Another overlooked part of the city is Kingsgate Street, in the midst of Winchester College,with numerous house fronts, windows, doorways and so many interesting features that make it one of the finest streets in England.

A highlight of your time here could well be a walk down to St Cross, a delightful almshouse founded in nine hundred years ago.Another great walk, is down the valley also to a point where you can climb up St Catherines Hill, an ancient hillfort with a great view back over Winchester. Its a place to blow away the cobwebs and regain a proper perspective on our busy lives.

With a longer stay you can use Winchester as a base for exploring further afield in Hampshire (and let John be your guide) or to places further off. Using public transport guests in the past have been to Brighton, Portsmouth, The Isle of Wight, The New Forest, Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford and London.

One of the most popular trips is over to Chawton to visit Jane Austen’s House