Hampshire has the beautiful countryside, market towns and heritage you would expect from a quintessentially English county, but explore a little further and visitors will find a whole lot more to appreciate and discover.
Those deciding to stay a little longer or even settle here enjoy an exceptional quality of life, with higher than national average temperatures and sunshine, and lower than average rainfall in which to enjoy it.
Hampshire offers a wealth of sporting opportunities for both the participant and the spectator. Water sports enthusiasts will find their perfect playground in the Solent, the home of ocean sailing and the county’s miles of countryside lend themselves to an array of country pursuits. World class cricket is played regularly at the Ageas Bowl near Southampton and Hampshire has several association football teams.
The 34 miles of Hampshire coastline have many attractive harbours, marinas and estuaries. The county hosts the internationally renowned Boat Show in Southampton and the annual Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight attracts over 100,000 spectators.
Venture just a few miles out of Hampshire’s towns or cities and you will find countryside that includes 3,000 plus miles of footpaths, bridleways and byways and twelve long distance footpaths.
Keen anglers from all over the world visit the stunning Test Valley to fish the River Test and its tributaries for its abundance of large stocked brown and rainbow trout.
The New Forest National Park is a unique landscape of 140,000 acres of ancient woodland and unspoilt grassland. To the east of Hampshire the rolling countryside of the South Downs National Park spreads into West Sussex.
The county’s cities and towns offer a range of bars, restaurants, shopping, festivals and theatres.
Southampton’s internationally renowned Art Gallery houses an impressive art collection, spanning six centuries of European art history, and the city’s Mayflower Theatre is the south’s major venue for large-scale touring musicals, opera and ballet.
Home to a month long food festival and proud of its quality produce, Hampshire has an abundance of food and drink grown, produced and reared in the county. From fresh trout to locally grown watercress, and national award-winning cheeses to quality meat, great food is easy to find in Hampshire and there are plenty of good eateries in which to enjoy it.
Hampshire is rich in history, and locations across the county provide visitors with captivating insights into Hampshire’s fascinating past.
Traces of Winchester’s status as the ancient English capital are found throughout the central Hampshire city. King Alfred’s statue dominates the eastern approach to the city and his legendary Round Table is displayed in the city’s Great Hall. Winchester Cathedral, resting place of the kings, is the burial place of King Rufus, killed while enjoying the royal hunting grounds of the nearby New Forest.
Hampshire has a wealth of literary connections. The county was the birthplace of authors including Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, the residence of others, such as Charles Kingsley, and the inspiration for many famous books including the first Sherlock Holmes story.
Famous ships have sailed from Hampshire's shores for centuries. King Henry VIII’s tudor ship, the Mary Rose, sank off Portsmouth in 1545 and is housed today in the city’s historic dockyard alongside the 18th Century HMS Victory and Queen Victoria’s HMS Warrior 1860. In 1912 the Titanic departed on its ill-fated voyage from Southampton which is remembered in the city’s recently opened