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Superflashy! Local filming, hot openings and more

TV and movie crews, hot cross bun gin and Royal visits - it's all going on around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight this Spring! Here's all the latest.


At long last, carriages await for the feel-good Downton Abbey movie, coming to cinemas on Fri 29 April. Hampshire’s iconic Highclere Castle stars alongside local celeb Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham, who heads off to the South of France in search of the Dowager countess’ newly inherited villa. Well, nice work if you can get it.

And on the subject of historical movies, superflashy whispers have reached Muddy’s ears of a crew out making brand new historical blockbuster Napoleon at the 1,400-acre MOD-owned Hankley Common nature reserve a nudge over the Surrey border near Bordon. The Ridley Scott film will star Joaquin Phoenix (the first time the duo have been reunited since Gladiator). It’s set to air in cinemas and on Apple TV+ in 2023. Popcorn at the ready!

Master Builders Bucklers Hard

Staying close to East Hants, much excitement too when crews were spotted at a church covered in fake snow in the ‘abandoned’ village of Hartley Mauditt, near Alton and Bordon. They were filming a hot new production of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations for the BBC, returning to our patch a few weeks later to shoot more scenes along the Beaulieu River at the beautiful Buckler’s Hard (above). Written by Bafta-winning Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, the show will star Olivia Colman as Miss Havisham and Fionn Whitehead as Pip. Roll on Christmas!

Speaking of BBC dramas… Muddy absolutely can’t wait for the adaption of Kate Atkinson’s hit novel Life After Life, set to broadcast on BBC2 Tues April 19. Look out for locations around Basingstoke, including The Vyne (above).

And already aired on the Beeb (but well worth watching on catch-up), if you haven’t already, head out on a surprisingly emosh walk along the gorgeous River Test with Hampshire local and naturalist, Chris Packham. Then flip channels over to Five and you’ll find more wonderful local walks on the Isle of Wight, with Kate Humble’s Coastal Britain, which takes in Yarmouth and the iconic Needles.


Bakers at The WInchester Bakery

The hottest opening in Winchester so far this Spring, The Winchester Bakery (shop and cafe) is brand new on the High Street by the Buttercross. And according to superflashy’s spies on the ground, artisan sourdough bread, pastries and sweet treats, baked close by in their Winnall bakery (above), have been going like, err, hotcakes…

Partial to a dumpling? Then here’s another new(ish) opening in the city you’ll want to know about. Previously on the market, tasty Nepalese street food takeout, Marse, now has a fixed spot at The Brooks Shopping Centre.

The pies have it in Petersfield – or they’re about to. Turner’s, a family-run bakery based just over the border in West Sussex, will open a new shop in the popular Ram’s Walk (above). Also new, a pretty cupcake shop, Simply Scrumptious, has opened opposite Velvet & Rose boutique on Chapel Street. Err – that’s the diet blown then…

Bird restaurant new Port Solent Portsmouth Hampshire superflashy news gossip restaurant opening

Two brand new eateries to look out for marina-side at Portsmouth’s Port Solent. BIRD (above) is a small indie chain with branches in London and Kent, serving up chicken burgers, cheesy chips and the craziest hot pink waffles Muddy’s ever seen. In fact, they’re so pink, they quite literally come with a health warning (your teenagers are gonna love it…).

Pink waffles and fried chicken not your thing? Not to worry – there’s plenty more ‘grammable food at Port Solent. Like the Bao buns and Pad Thai Muddy’s looking forward to tucking into at the new branch of the Thai street food restaurant Koh Thai, which will also open here this April.

Susa plant-based kitchen

Over in Ryde, word is spreading fast about a new vegan cafe. And it seems SUSA – Plant Based Kitchen (above) is getting a big thumbs up, with Islanders and visitors raving about the pre-ferry brekkies, cakes and chilled-out vibes. Save us a seat by the window.

North House Cowes

Not quite a new opening but burning hot off the press, big foodie news too that top Isle of Wight chef and restauranteur Robert Thompson has moved over to the boutique North House hotel and restaurant in Cowes (above) where, as of now, he is the brand new chef patron!


Fancy a little snifter? Wessex Gin have just settled into their new Gin Palace tasting rooms at the restored 17th Century Lamb Inn in Andover. Pre-bookable group sessions and a lively open bar night are now in full swing. And now here’s a new one on us – seasonal hot cross bun gin anyone? You’d butter believe it…

The Grosvenor Stockbridge New cocktail bar Hampshire hotel. Superflashy gossip spring 2022

The Wessex Gin Palace is not the only new spot to whet your whistle in Hampshire this month. In Stockbridge, well-heeled locals have really been seeing red at the iconic Grosvenor Hotel’s smart new cocktail bar (above).

Fancy a crafty pint? Then head south, my friend. You won’t find beer much fresher than at The Brew Forest craft brewery’s new tap room in Lymington. And word has it they’ve also got a pretty good lineup of cocktails, too. Bottoms up!


Not your usual superflashy fodder, but then it’s not everyday we get a Royal in town – let alone three in short succession… (s’cuse the pun).

Covid put the kibosh on his first visit but when HRH Prince Charles did eventually make it to Winchester he was all smiles as he officially opened The Arc. (That’s the library/ gallery/ performance/ arts/ everything space, formerly known as the Discovery Centre, in case you were wondering).

Camilla Jane Austens House Mr. Darcy BBC
Pic: Luke Shears for Jane Austens House

Then it was the turn of HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, who took a tour of Jane Austen’s House near Alton (above). After inspecting a few recommended reads, she browsed some iconic garments on display from TV and film adaptations of Jane’s work. And Muddy couldn’t help but notice her lingering suspiciously over *that* Mr. Darcy white shirt. (We don’t blame you ma’am). Ahh, Mr. Darcy…

Err, right, where where we? Oh yes, Royal visitations on our patch. OK then, here’s another for you! Coming to Portsmouth this month, HRH Princess Anne will open the D-Day Landing Craft Exhibit at the D-Day Museum in Southsea and visit the TS Royalist at Gosport Marina, returning later for a visit to Sir John Moore Barracks in Winchester, where she’s set to plant a tree for The Queen’s Green Canopy.

Blimey, turns out Royal visits around here really are a lot like buses. You wait ages for one – then three come along at once!

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