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Hot gossip in Hants and IoW!

All the latest hot gossip: Sexy Fred Siriex in Lymington, new openings, a Hampshire spy ring, illicit donuts, top gastropubs and more.

Fred in the Forest

Fred Siriex and Chris Bavin Remarkable Places to Eat Hampshire New Forest

Huzzah – our favourite French maître d’hôtel, Fred Siriex, is back with a new foodie TV adventure. Even better, the new Remarkable Places to Eat series will also star local spots in the fabulous New Forest. Broadcast on BBC 2 next week, the charismatic host-with-the-most will be shown the best fishing and local grub. His guide is fellow foodie presenter Chris Bavin (above). Already spotted by a few eagle-eyed locals during filming, the pair will also take a stroll down some very familiar cobbles in lovely Lymington.

Prime crew in Basingstoke

Netflix was out in force filming in Winchester last month. Now, the latest hot gossip is the crew spotted camped in a Basingstoke car park. Rumour has it they were filming a new Amazon Prime series. Described as ‘an epic global spy thriller’, Citadel will star Game of Thrones and BBC’s The Bodyguard star, Richard Madden. The red-hot cast will also features Indian actress and former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra Jonas. A Bond-style action series featuring a few familiar Basingstoke spots? Watch this space!

Hampshire’s best gastropubs


Congratulations to The Wellington Arms in Baughurst, The Anchor Inn at Lower Froyle near Alton and the Thomas Lord in East Meon (above). All Muddy favourites, the three have each nabbed a spot in the prestigious Estrella Damm top 100 list of UK Gastropubs. Judges were particularly taken by their use of home-grown produce, fine seasonal ingredients and countryside settings – we’ll raise a glass to that.

Street artist strikes again

Earlier in the month, we reported on a Banksy-esque street art setting social grapevines alight in Winchester. Despite not actually being a bona fide Banksy, the national papers were quick to splash the story. And there was a lot of love locally for the equally mysterious @Hendog_art, who claimed the work. Since then, the community-minded artist has been busy again, painting a young boy on the wall of a Winchester food bank with a box of donated goods.

Banksy’s NHS Millions

Banksy Game Changer NHS Southampton

The actual Banksy’s last confirmed work in Hampshire, titled ‘Game Changer’ has just raised a cool £16m+ for NHS charities. It was left in Southampton Hospital a year ago and beautifully summed up public admiration for NHS workers. Bravo Banksy.

Hot opening – Inn the Park

Inn the Park Winchester Chesil Rectory new opening hot gossip

It might not be open yet but Winchester’s hottest new ‘restaurant, grill, café, wine room, bottle shop and terrace’ – aka Inn the Park – has been tempting all who pass. Outside is Mozzo coffee cart plus there’s superfresh donuts and other baked goodies to-go. Locals are literally marking off the days until the historic Mill, overlooking the Abbey Gardens, can officially open.

Previously the River Cottage Kitchen Winchester, the site is in excellent hands. It’s been beautifully revamped by Mark and Eleanor Dodd, owners of the Michelin-rated Chesil Rectory. Fingers crossed for snagging a table!

Offbeet on the move

Offbeet vegan restaurant donuts Peter Axworthy row hot gossip

Speaking of donuts, an unexpected row between the New Forest vegan eatery Offbeet and Barker Mill Estate, landowners at Sunnyfields Farm, escalated fast in early March. Sadly, it resulted in an unexpected eviction notice. Shocked and unrepentant, restauranteur Peter Axworthy (above) will see out his tenure with a full-blown menu of illicit donuts (yum!). Funding permitting, the latest hot gossip is that Offbeet hope to hotfoot it to a new spot – the gorgeous, Muddy-rated Retreat New Forest – later in the year.

Winchester wins again

King Alfred Statue Winchester Sunday Times Muddy Stilettos Best Places to Live

Hot-on-the-heels of our reader vote, where YOU named Winchester as Muddy’s best place to live in the county, Sunday Times judges have added their seal of approval for the city, ranking it in the newspaper’s annual UK-wide list. Also top-rated was our fantastic Isle of Wight. Judges picked out the magnificent coastline and vintage atmosphere of the gorgeous Victorian pleasure piers and promenades as factors in their decision.

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