Hampshire England

In mid July my husband and I traveled to the enchanting countryside of Hampshire England.  I was doing a bit of research on my ancestors from that region, so we booked a room at a country inn and found ourselves smack dab in the middle of heaven.

The village of Bishops Waltham was a charming place to stay and held a strong connection to my families history.  The village was a quaint and thriving  place, with a population just over 6500 residents.  The High St. in town had everything we could need, from a small grocer carrying local produce and products, to an up scale coffee shop that seemed to be the center of activity every morning of the week.

We had rented a car in order to move about the county and really see the countryside, and we were so glad that we did.  This truly was one of the most idyllic spots we had ever been to, it seemed each village we came across was more lovely than the last and in between each village were  rolling hills that shifted from vivid green to pale yellow, in a patchwork of color.   We found that in any direction within a ten or fifteen minute drive there was some new village and ancient medieval church to investigate.  Now, the driving in the English countryside is not for the faint of heart.  The hedges grow right up to the side of the road, there is no shoulder to speak of and the streets are very very narrow.   There is however for those who would rather not drive a local public bus system that allows for travel from place to place.

While traveling from village to village, you will be guaranteed to find a pub in any given stop where you can sit, eat, have a local ale and learn from the villagers any history of their
 home that you may not be privy to already.

Bishops Waltham dates back to medieval times and was the site of the famous Bishops Waltham Palace and was the largest city at that time between Portsmouth and London.  The ruins of the palace are easily accessible and the adjacent museum has wonderful artifacts from the period.  The bartender at our inn had an endless supply of stories regarding the medieval history of Bishops Waltham, add a few pints to that and its the perfect end to a day of exploring.

We highly recommend this area of England, if you are curious about the English countryside, and love history, Hampshire is a spot where both of those pursuits can be accomplished.

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