Why we love Winchester

2 Jan 2023

What better way to get to know the city of Winchester than talking to the people who set up their business here? Winchester is full of independent businesses all with something unique to offer. We wanted to find out why they chose Winchester as their base and what makes it special to them.* 





Open House Deli is a sustainably led kitchen, cafe and retail store. We make everything from scratch in our kitchen and truly celebrate seasonal produce, we limit our waste and have a constantly changing menu. In our retail store we focus on helping you live a low impact lifestyle. We opened in January 2019, after starting on a market stall on the high street. We have lots of options on our menu to tailor to your budget and how hungry you are!

I grew up in Winchester and returned ten years later. I was fed up of boring sandwiches and pre-packaged salads and knew there was the market in Winchester for better! I love the community feel here, and that we have such a big space for the deli, that we can be welcoming to everyone.

I love that it feels like a village in a city, it's a great place for thriving independent businesses and I really feel that support. I also love that it is so close to other great cities when you need a change!

- Rebecca Smith





Earthian Zero Waste Shop offers a big range of everyday essentials without harmful plastic packaging. As well as over 50 different dried foods that include pasta, rice and cereals, we also have liquid refills like home cleaners, shampoos, conditioners, cooking oils and oat milk.

We are proudly helping people to reduce their impact on the environment, but also to make sustainable living something affordable too. We have no maximum or minimum sale amounts to help with budgeting and our food is closely price matched to the equivalent products at the supermarket.

I chose to set up my business in Winchester because I wanted the community where I live to benefit from a sustainable hub. I have found that Winchester is very supportive of small independent businesses like ours, but also interested in creating a less polluted world. There is a growing movement around sustainability here with more ideas and community collaborations taking place all the time.

I didn't grow up in Winchester, but when I moved here I felt very at home. The people are friendly and welcoming. Winchester is a great place to live and I love that it offers a lot of green spaces. You don't have to go far to find countryside walks, streams and open air. It also has a strong creative community. There are often events happening in and around the city centre.

- Katie Campling





Bespoke biking is a social enterprise that exists to encourage everyone to cycle more. We are based in Kings Walk where we offer bike repairs, bike hire and refurbished bikes for sale. We accept donations of bikes and have volunteers who work on donated bikes that we up-cycle. We also give away bikes to deserving children.

We have an in-house café offering drinks, snacks, hearty breakfasts, great sustainably sources coffee and locally made cakes. Additionally, we run The Handlebar café out at St Catherine's Hill, the profits of which support our social enterprise. 

We repair bikes starting from £19.50 up to an £85 service or more. The bikes we hire are always of good quality and start from £30 per day with discounts for longer periods available. We also stock locks, helmets and other cycling accessories. 

I love the beauty, the history and the quirkiness of Winchester, as well as the size. You can walk or cycle through it and quickly find beautiful countryside and views. Join us on a bike tour to learn more!

- Heather Evans





We are a sustainable, non-alcoholic drinks lounge in Winchester that started in 2020. Our shop aims to show that the solutions to climate change lie in the past. From researching our collection of 850+ old British cookbooks, we forage locally for lost ingredients, keep our own bees, resurrect lost fermenting techniques, and source most of our ingredients from within 10 minutes of the city. Our drinks help support endangered producers, rebuild broken food systems, and many have no airmiles. 

We provide a relaxing, sophisticated atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the high street. Our downstairs has recently been refurbished with USB points, high-speed wifi, and benches to study. Our drinks range from £6 - £12, and we offer a 20% student discount on weekdays.

We have a pretty quirky business, and wanted to be in a city that attracted a diverse set of people to test it on. We also needed to be in a place where we could keep up on London trends whilst having space to build our farm and apiary. Winchester ticks all those boxes, and also has a vibrant independent business scene. 

- Eoghan Proudfoot 





The Pantry at our West Downs Centre is our very own packaging-free shop. It's a great place to pop in on your way to a lecture and grab a croissant or top up on a few things for the fridge on your way home. 

Bring along your containers and fill up on toiletries, cereal, spices, and much more. 

The team at The Pantry focus on sourcing their produce from local suppliers to keep food miles down - their eggs are from a farm less than two miles away, for example. They also have a great range of pastries, including vegan options, which is a great kick-start to the day. If you like puns and want to find out more about what The Pantry stocks, read this


 *This blog is not sponsored by any of the featured businesses.

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