In my 15 years of living in Hampshire (since birth), I have seen enough interesting places in this humble county in the South of the UK to call it a great place to be.
There is so much history and exotic locations, some of which are very important to the country’s history. Here are some reasons why Hampshire is an important and must see British location.
Busy and important cities
It may sound pompous, but I believe that the cities in Hampshire are extremely important.
Let’s start with the historical city of Winchester. It’s small but sweet, with plenty of history. It houses Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in England and it contains the tomb of Jane Austen, who lived in the city near the end of her life. If the rumours of a Doctor Who episode starring Jane Austen is true, then I hope that they film in Winchester.
Winchester is also the former capital of the country and was ruled over by Alfred the Great, whose statue is in the city. Other historical elements of Winchester include Winchester Castle, home of the Round Table of Winchester and Wolvesey Castle, a ruined castle which was the location of Mary 1’s wedding to Phillip II of Spain. It was destroyed by the Roundheads in the Civil War (the castle, not the wedding).
The two other major cities are Southampton and Portsmouth. Both are major ports and Portsmouth was a hugely important naval base. Portsmouth is also home to the Spinnaker Tower, the tallest tower in the UK not in London. The city is the UK’s only island city, as it is on Portsea Island. The city is also the birthplace of Charles Dickens.
Southampton is still one of the UK’s major shipping grounds and is still a major part of history, thanks to the fact that the Titanic set sail from Southampton’s port. The SeaCity Museum is a great insight into Southampton’s role in the event. The city is mainly a shopping place though, which isn’t a bad thing really, as some of the shops are great.
The New Forest
The New Forest is one of the UK’s most important natural areas and national parks. Things to see include the New Forest ponies and has a lot of history linked to my local area. William II was killed in the New Forest while hunting. He was killed with an arrow shot by Walter Tyrell, who may have killed him by accident or deliberately.
His tomb was carried across Hampshire, including the area which is now Chandler’s Ford. The way is now marked with a road called Kings Road. As mentioned before, William II is now buried in Winchester Cathedral. Two of my primary school house names were Rufus (the nickname for William II due to his hair) and Tyrell.
The picture below is when we went camping in the New Forest with my friend and his family. On the last day some donkeys invaded the camp site and poked their heads in the tents.
Those are two reasons why I believe Hampshire is an important UK destination. Even though I’ve been to a lot of places in Hampshire I haven’t been to every area in the county. Hopefully this post has persuaded you to visit the south of England.
Editor’s note: The original version of Reasons Hampshire is a must see British destination was published on 30th June 2015 in Ben Williams’s World.
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