Some of our cottages are close to Winchester, the administrative centre of the county and once the capital of the West Saxon kingdom of Wessex. The bronze statue of Alfred, the greatest of the West Saxon kings, guards the city from the bottom of the High Street. At the top is a reminder of a more legendary king; King Arthur’s Round Table hangs in the great hall of the former royal castle. Winchester has a great Norman cathedral, also shot through with reminders of historic events.
Hampshire’s two other large cities have strong maritime connections – Southampton primarily with trade, Portsmouth with defence. Both had Roman ports, the walls of Portchester Castle stand foursquare to the tides of Portsmouth harbour to this day. The naval dockyard contains Nelson’s flagship ‘Victory’ and Henry VIII’s Tudor warship ‘The Mary Rose’.
Hampshire’s greatest asset is arguably the New Forest, which covers an area of 220 square miles. The beauty of the New Forest is legendary and our New Forest cottages provide the perfect base from which to explore this unique landscape, where nature still reigns supreme. The New Forest has been “new” for something like 900 years, since William of Normandy, in search of royal hunting country, decided upon this part of Hampshire so convenient for his castle at Winchester. Many of the ancient laws of the New Forest still exist and the Verderers Court still sits at Lyndhurst to administer these rules. The free roaming animals, ponies, pigs and cattle continue to enjoy the ancient right of common grazing handed down for centuries. Hideaways has holiday cottages in the New Forest itself or within a few miles of the National Park boundary.
Hideaway’s other Hampshire cottages are located in or close to attractive country towns and villages. These are too numerous to single out but some of the most notable are Petersfield, an ancient market town in The South Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Alresford, famous for its watercress festival and steam railway and Stockbridge in the beautiful Test Valley. There’s a particularly rewarding ‘trail’ you can try while staying in one of our Hampshire cottages, associated with famous writers: Chawton and Steventon for Jane Austen, Selborne for Gilbert White and the Meon and Itchen valleys for Isaac Walton, the father of angling.
Hideaways’ extensive selection of Hampshire and New Forest cottages, both country and coastal, are spread right across the county and will allow you to discover its strong historical and cultural heritage as well as its rich and diverse landscape. Being on England’s south coast, Hampshire also benefits from a milder climate compared to many other counties, warmed by the ocean but sheltered from the Atlantic by the South West peninsula.