"Hampshire" Top 5 Page for this destination Hampshire by leffe3

Hampshire Travel Guide: 919 reviews and 2,126 photos

The southern county of Hampshire has a long history of strategic importance.

Winchester was the capital of the Kingdom of Wessex and capital of England until the Norman invasion in 1066. The protected deep water of what is now The Solent lead to the building of the important docks at Southampton (commercial) and Portsmouth (naval), with the county associated with being the official birthplace of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.

But its also long been an important agricultural region, and away from the coast has, like much of affluent southern England, a genteel air. And with 45% of the county (the 9th largest in England) designated as national park, its something of a tourist magnet.

Winchester, with its long history and beautiful cathedral, can now only boast as being the county town as opposed to the capital city. Southampton is now the biggest city, followed closely by its 'arch-rival', Portsmouth, only a few miles to the east. The former is one of the largest commercial ports in Europe, whilst Portsmouth developed as a naval yard and ferry service to the nearby Isle of Wight and cross-Channel links to France. Both were virtually levelled during WWII.

But it's nature and the many castles/abbeys that are the main attraction of Hampshire. The New Forest in the far west alone accounts for approximately 20% of the county and attracts more than 7 million visitors per year. Dotted along the (small) Hampshire coastline are numerous castles, built to protect Southampton and Portsmouth from invasion. And where there's castle, its not unusual to find an abbey nearby.

In spite of all its history, its likely that the name Hampshire is known due to New Hampshire in the US - Hampshire (also known as Hants) being the departure point of those who followed the Pilgrims and the Mayflower in the 17th century.

  • Last visit to Hampshire: Sep 2010
  • Intro Updated Oct 21, 2010
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Reviews (4)

Comments (2)

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2007 at 4:11 AM

    Winchester seems to be a must-visit place!

  • iwys's Profile Photo
    May 6, 2005 at 12:14 AM

    My home county and where Shane Warne spends the Aussie winter months. He's doing a great job at the Rose Bowl.


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