Nestled in the South-East of England, Hampshire is a county of rolling hills, vibrant cities, serene countryside, and historical landmarks. It boasts a beautiful coastline melding seamlessly with the stunning countryside dotted with charming villages.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into diverse aspects of Hampshire, offering a harmonious blend of peaceful rural living and bustling urban lifestyle in cities like Winchester that teem with history or Southampton, known for its premier league football and international airport. We also shed light on practical information for living in Hampshire such as the property market, schooling, transport and local attractions.

History of Hampshire

Known as the county where Lewis Carroll conceived Alice in Wonderland and Jane Austen penned her classic novels, Hampshire's rich history can be traced back to pre-Roman times. Home to an ancient Celtic tribe, the Atrebates, Hampshire transformed into Roman settlement before being taken over by the Saxons. The turning point in Hampshire's cultural history was the Norman Conquest in 1066, when the victor William the Conqueror constructed the kingdom's first castle in Winchester. Since then, Hampshire has seen a multitude of events that shaped British history, including civil wars, industrial revolution and two world wars.


In Hampshire, history echoes in every corner. The Winchester Cathedral, a medieval marvel, is Britain's longest cathedral. Portchester Castle is a stunning waterfront fortification that fended off invaders for centuries. Highclere Castle, a breathtaking country estate, famous globally for being the filming location of the ‘Downton Abbey’ television series, is another gem.

Landmarks we love

  • Beaulieu: In the village of Beaulieu, the National Motor Museum, with over 250 vintage vehicles, is sure to provide excitement to both motoring enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.
  • South Downs National Park: It is England's newest National Park, a serene retreat boasting beautiful landscapes for hikers, cyclists or simply nature lovers.
  • The Vyne: This warm and welcoming country house in Basingstoke, owned by the National Trust, showcases beautiful gardens and woodlands, blending history with natural beauty.
  • The Mary Rose Museum: Situated in Portsmouth, this museum exhibits one of the finest Tudor warships ever recovered, offering a peek into the life of King Henry VIII's navy.
  • Great Hall: One of the only surviving parts of Winchester Castle, the Great Hall is now home to King Arthur's Round Table, attracting history and mythology enthusiasts.
  • Top 10 things to do in Hampshire

    • Stroll through The New Forest: Walk, bike or simply watch the wild ponies roaming free in this beautiful national park.
    • Discover the Heights: Explore the South Downs National Park's rolling chalk hills and beautiful valleys.
    • Water Activities: You can sail, canoe or motorboat along the Hampshire coast or along the River Test for some of the best trout fishing in the world.
    • Visit The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth: Enjoy panoramic views from this 170 meter high emblem of the county.
    • Rhinefield Ornamental Drive: This beautiful drive in the heart of The New Forest offers a stunning display of Rhododendrons, Azaleas and giant Redwoods.
    • Explore Marwell Zoo: Get closer to the wonders of the natural world with hundreds of exotic and endangered species.
    • Hampshire Farmers Market: Meet local farmers and artisans, support local businesses and take home delicious, freshly prepared produce from one of the UK's largest farmers' markets.
    • Visit the Itchen Valley Country Park: Walking trails, play areas and a variety of wildlife make this the perfect family day out.
    • Join the Jane Austen Tour: Visit Chawton, where the celebrated author spent her last eight years and penned her best-known work.
    • Romsey Abbey: Visit Hampshire's largest parish church, an architectural marvel dating back to 907 AD.

    Our recommended areas to live in Hampshire

    • Winchester: An historic cathedral city known for its high quality of life, low crime rate, and high performing education sector.
    • Southampton: A vibrant port city with a rich maritime history that offers a mix of history and modern living.
    • Eastleigh: A small town that offers a mix of suburban comfort and rural beauty. Noted for its excellent schools and leisure facilities.
    • Fleet: Renowned for its community spirit, Fleet offers excellent schools and easy links to London.
    • Portsmouth: A coastal city with a rich naval history, Portsmouth offers fantastic sea views coupled with a varied cultural scene.

    Best schools in Hampshire

    Hampshire is home to a range of well-regarded schools. Some of the best include the independent Portsmouth Grammar School, Kings' School in Winchester, and Perins School in Alresford. In terms of state-funded secondary schools, Thornden School in Chandler's Ford and St. Anne's Catholic School in Southampton are top performers. Hampshire also hosts multiple top-tier higher education institutions. The University of Southampton boasts a solid global reputation, while the University of Winchester is known for its education and humanities departments.

    Transport links in Hampshire

    Hampshire offers excellent transport links both on land and water. The M3 Motorway links the county to London in the north and to Southampton and the coast in the south. The South Western Railway provides frequent services to/from London Waterloo, taking around 1 hour. For air travel, Southampton Airport serves many UK and continental destinations. Portsmouth’s ferry services provide connectivity with the Isle of Wight and France, while Southampton is the UK’s largest cruise port.

    In conclusion, Hampshire is a spectacular blend of bustling cities, charming villages, and historic landmarks. Whether you're seeking a lively city lifestyle, a tranquil countryside retreat, or a coastal haven, Hampshire has it all.

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