Hampshire offers the best of both worlds with beautifully countryside and a varied and historic coastline. Hampshire has a long maritime history, and the mighty seafaring ports of Southampton and Portsmouth stand on its coast, within two great natural harbours. With excellent road and rail links to london, Hampshire is one of the most popular rural destinations in England, for Londoners.
Portsmouth Harbour © Hannah Brownlie
The north of the county is banded by the chalky uplands of the North and South Downs. A few wooded areas in the east are all that remain of the ancient Wealden Forest, that once stretched right across Sussex. However, the large expanse of the New Forest, one of Hamshire's two national parks, still remains in the south-west, where the famous New Forest wild ponies roam freely through its glades.
The south coast is low-lying and indented, with several parts, such as Hayling Island, cut off from the mainland by narrow strips of sea. The Isle of Wight is more widely separated from the mainland by the Solent. Cowes (on the island) is a world renowned sailing centre, where the Royal Yacht Squadron has its headquarters.
'Should all our churchmen foam in spite At you, so careful of the right, Yet one lay-hearth would give you welcome (Take it and come) to the Isle of Wight.'
|Winchester - distance from London: 66 miles (106 km)
|Berkshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Surrey, Sussex, Wiltshire
|Bournemouth, Heathrow (International), Southampton
|South West Trains
|Pilot Hill, 938 feet
|Avon, Beaulieu, Hamble, Irchen, Meon, Test (the River Test is said to be the finest trout stream of its kind in the world.)
|Winchester Pudding - a traditional rice dish.
Fish dishes - such as baked mackerel and many recipes for trout.
First recorded in 755 as Hamtunscir. Homm or Hamm means a water meadow in Old English. The original name for Southampton was Homtun or Hamtun, meaning 'the farm on the river land'.
Beaulieu National Motor Museum | Breamore House | Bishop's Waltham Palace | Highclere Castle | Mottisfont Abbey | New Forest Centre | Portchester Castle | Royal Armouries | Sandham Memorial Chapel | West Green House | Marwell Wildlife Park | The Vyne