Abbey Gardens, Broadway Winchester SO23 9GH
This is a brilliantly central green space where shoppers and tourists can refuel and take a breather and children can run around in the small enclosed play park at the back, ensuring there’s something for everybody in this pretty urban idyll. The modest park incorporates two large lawns separated by landscaped borders and a pathway running through the middle and along the boundaries, meeting up with the Abbey Mill stream flowing next to the Broadway and winding round to the front of the play park, where weeping willows cast dappled shade for the occasional ducks and trout.
These beautiful gardens were once part of St Mary’s Abbey, remnants of which can be seen behind the Guildhall (where you can grab a coffee from the café) next to the gardens. Abbey House at the front of the gardens is used as the Mayor of Winchester’s official residence at the foot of which lies a charming scented garden with raised beds of lavender and rosemary and a monolithic water feature. There are also very clean public loos with disabled facilities.Look out for the exceptionally friendly ginger Tom cat that likes to greet surprised office workers on their lunch break.