The 5th of November always elicits feelings of warmth and quaintness: autumn is well and truly underway, the evenings are colder and darker, and the atmosphere cosier than ever. For this year’s Bonfire Night, we joined the celebrations in Winchester for what can only be described as a magical evening.
After arriving by train in the afternoon, we stopped for some cosy drinks by candlelight, an idyllic start to the evening. Nestled by the window at Brasserie Blanc with a cocktail in hand, we watched the ever-growing number of visitors slowly begin to descend along Jewry Street. That hour or so between the afternoon and evening, just before dusk begins to fall, is my absolute favourite at this time of year. It’s the time when candles are lit and the atmosphere changes ever so slightly, with almost a trace of magic in the air. Then, before we even get the chance to truly appreciate it, it’s gone and we’re enveloped in a coat of darkness until the next day. I could live in this tiny space of time forever.
The evening well and truly upon us, it was time to move on to another equally welcoming bar. Winchester is full of snug places with nooks and crannies to hide away for a cosy drink, meaning we didn’t have to wander far. Enticed by its antique cast iron windows looking over the street and its warm, glowing interior, we selected Loch Fyne as our next port of call, a table for two waiting for us in that beautiful window. Here I opted for a glass of Malbec: rich, slightly spicy, and ever-so-warming on a cold evening. The bartender reached for a bottle from the beautiful display behind the bar, a thoughtful interior touch. I would have happily stayed here for the rest of the night.
With the sky now an inky blue, we finished our drinks and rushed hand in hand towards the high street, the crowd already forming and the procession in full swing. We collected our torches just in time, before lighting them from a friendly stranger’s flame. Swooped up by the fire-lit crowd, we followed the glow of the parade through the city centre, illuminated for the 60th year in history but only our second so far.