A bustling market town dating back to Saxon times, Andover expanded rapidly as an industrial zone in the 60s, with developments in printing and light engineering. Later adopted as a London overspill, the district is still expanding and has a interesting mix of old and modern architecture.
Andover became a municipal borough under King John and later developed as an important wool centre. Chantry Street has some fine medieval timber-framed cottages dating back to the period. The town became an important 17/18th century coaching stage on the route from London to Oxford. Many of the town's old inns were visited by royalty. James II rested in the Angel the night before his abdication. Charles I and later George III stayed in the Star and Garter.
A handsome Grade II listed Guildhall (1825) dominates the market place. It has magnificent Georgian architecture on the exterior and an equally impressive interior. The spectacular parish church of St Mary, built by a former headmaster of Winchester, is a fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture.
The town's Anglo Saxon roots and ancient past are explained in the Andover Museum and Museum of the Iron Age, which has interesting displays of local geology and archaeological artefacts.
Andover is a good centre for visiting the region. To the north-west is Hiarwood Forest, and two miles east is Finkley Down Farm, a country park with farm animals and an agricultural museum.
A few miles south-west, at Kentsboro, is the Army Flying Museum with over 30 historic military aircraft, including fighter planes and attack helicopters.
The remains of several Iron Age encampments can be found on the surrounding hills. One ancient hill-fort at Bury Hill, excavated in 1938, has Bronze Age boundary ditches. Quarley Hill, at 560ft, offers spectacular views over the countryside.
The nearby village of Amport has old thatched cottages, a green and a stream running through it. Amport House is a 19th-c Elizabethan property belonging to the Marquess of Winchester.