Just one hour drive from London this beautiful county will offer the best of England! If you are looking for the typical green, rolling hills, farms and small villages, you’ve come to the right county.
Start out in Farnham, a cosy market town with a small castle and one of England’s finest streets, the Castle Street, lined with beautiful Georgian buildings. Just outside the village is a beautiful bird park, the Birdworld, with flamingos, talking parrots and strange birds. Also visit the ruins of Waverley Abbey, Britain’s first Cistercian Abbey, dated back to 1128.
Heading south, take the A325 passing the RAF-camp of Bordon and then the tiny roads to the pretty, old town of Selborn. This small village of stone houses has a famous church (for what I don’t remember, but there’s the base of the 1400 year old yew tree in front of the church, that might have been the reason.) The village also host a tiny museum of the 18th century Natural Historian and ecologist Gilbert White. There’s a pottery, a nice pub – the Selborn Arms and a local store. No pictures are found, this is a place not many tourists visit and that’s just why you should go there!
From Selborn follow the B3006 and it will eventually lead you to Chawton, home of famous author Jane Austin during her last years. You can visit her house and have a cup of tea at Cassandra’s Cup, the Tea Room across the road.
Further on to New Alresford, a former stop for coaches driving between London and Southampton. Check out their antique shops and great pubs and take a walk along the famous watercress fields. You can search for more information about New Alresford previously on the blog.
Spend a good time in England’s first capital, Winchester. The grand cathedral is beautiful and has a good range of quality stores. Winchester has several famous boarding schools with Winchester College as the oldest continuously running school in England. Jane Austen is buried in the impressive cathedral and the town has several award-winning tea-rooms, gastro-pubs and restaurants. Try out the local pub, The Eclipse Inn at 25 the Square! Winchester also claims to have King Arthur’s Round Table on show. Stay in the old Mill YHA or enjoy some of the nice small hotels around.
If you’re a cricket fan, don’t miss the village of Hambledon near by. It says it’s the “cradle of cricket” and that the local Hambledon Cricket club in late 18th Century “raised the sport to an art” and formed the now known rules of the game.
A 10 min. drive away you’ll find Marwell Zoo with its snow-leopards, giraffes, tigers, monkeys and rare breads not found anywhere else. For the tiny ones there’s also a small fun fair.
So, buy yourself a good map, rent a car and start exploring the Hampshire County. You will not regret it!