What to do when the Parents Come to Winchester


It’s inevitable. You might be lucky and be able to put it off for a few weeks into the course, but eventually it will happen and you should be prepared. The parents are coming to visit you at university for the first time.

And we don’t want to scare you or anything, but this picture is what they’ll have in mind already. It would be nice to not shatter that dream in your first term by making them think you’re some lazy, incompetent, alcoholic arts student.

So the Scene has organised you the perfect itinerary for showing them around Winchester in style.

9am – Roll out of bed and get the room sorted. 12 empty cans of red bull and a discarded traffic cone are not ideal decorations when you’re trying to convince them that you can be all independent and mature away from home. Have a shower as well, they’ll love that sort of gesture.

10am – Winchester is pretty much Disneyland for over forties. So keep your loved ones peachy with a morning stroll down the high street; Edinburgh Woollen Mill, M&S, Debenhams… we’ve got the lot. As they examine something which is probably made from cashmere, casually blurt out Impressive Fact Number 1: Kirsty and Phil from Location, Location, Location have named Winchester the best place to live in the country. This   makes it an indisputable fact, so you’re already winning them over and it’s still only the morning.

11am – This should be on a Sunday by the way, (we probably should have mentioned this at the beginning). And Sunday is market day in Winchester. The theme varies: sometimes it’s a farmer’s market, sometimes it’s got arts stalls or even a vintage fair. If the first time you invite your parents to Winchester is Christmas, then they’ll be treated to the famous Winchester Christmas market. It’s been three months since your parents watched their special little soldier depart for university, but a browse round the tinsel-lined stalls will prove worth the wait.

12pm – Time for some culture. Both the Great Hall and Winchester Cathedral are at the top of the high street and are guaranteed to go down well with the folks. Plus there’s a café at the cathedral so you can splash some of that student loan on them. As acts of kindness go, that’s a pretty wise investment actually, since it’s almost certain you’ll be relying on them for food when you go back for the holidays.

1pm– As you resume the culture tour, bring out Impressive Fact Number 2: Winchester used to be the capital of England. It’s sure to spur many a history lesson but at least Dad’s entertained.

2pm – Head back down the high street and turn right at the Bishops Arms on to our picturesque river. As you amble, whip out Impressive Fact Number 3: Jane Austen lived and died in one of the houses down there.

2.30pm – To help work off that lunch, take the parents up to St Giles Hill, situated at the bottom of town. If its panoramic view of Winchester doesn’t convince them that you’re living in a great place, nothing will.


3pm – Now they’re nicely knackered from the uphill walk, subtly mention that they look tired and that they should probably think about getting back and that they know what the traffic’s like at this time of year (it doesn’t matter what time of year it is). Basically, get rid of them. Hopefully you’ve left them on a high note and you can relax until the next inspection.

3.15pm onwards – Continue your life as a lazy, incompetent alcoholic arts student.


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