From Jane Austen to the Duke of Wellington, many of England’s most famous sons and daughters have made Hampshire home. Step into Queen Eleanor’s medieval garden and listen to the legends of King Arthur’s Round Table in Winchester. Picture Portsmouth’s seafaring past as you walk the decks of Admiral Nelson’s flagship. Or amble through the idyllic countryside of Watership Down. And, as one of England’s most desirable places to live, it is a haven for luxury and gorgeous country retreats.
From chalk hills to coastal cities, Hampshire has inspired novelists, knights and nautical heroes.
Things to do
Hampshire has a proud military heritage. In Winchester alone you’ll have your pick of five fascinating museums full of medals, uniforms and weaponry – not to mention stories of heroic exploits and daring escapes. Venture further afield to discover the cabins, cannons and cockpit – where Nelson spent his final moments – of the magnificent HMS Victory.
An unassuming, but utterly charming, cottage in Chawton is where one of England’s beloved writers spent her last – and arguably most prolific – years. Pay a visit to Jane Austen’s House Museum for an insight into her life and literature. If you prefer poetry, you can follow the route Keats often walked through Winchester as he dreamt up the lines to An Ode to Autumn.
Long before Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, Hampshire was host to thriving Roman settlements. Explore this rich past as you trace the city walls and amphitheatre at Silchester. Or go even further back in time and in pursuit of Iron Age relics. There are forts dotted all over the landscape, from Danebury to Warford – and even a museum dedicated to the era in Andover.
In recent years Hampshire has earned a reputation for fine wines. Sample a bottle from a local vineyard while enjoying a spot of fine dining.
Top Tip from SLH