Situated on the south coast of England and separated from the Isle of Wight by the Solent the area includes the national park of the New Forest and the fine trout rivers of the Test, Itchen and the Meon.
Hampshire has a fine literary heritage, Jane Austen’s home at Chawton is open daily, Charles Dickens was born at Portsmouth, his birthplace is a museum, and Conan Doyle wrote the first Sherlock Holmes tale whilst a doctor at Southsea.
The powerful medieval Bishops of Winchester have left us the magnificent Winchester Cathedral and the ruins of two of their palaces at Bishops Waltham and Wolvesey. There are a number of quite exceptional parish churches in Hampshire including those at Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst Boldre and Minstead.
The Isle of Wight
The island is separated from Hampshire by the Solent and is only 13 miles by 23 miles wide but offers the tourist a wide variety of attractions with half of the area being designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Victorians ‘discovered’ the Island as a tourist attraction and Queen Victoria gave the island the Royal seal of approval when she purchased the Osborne Estate in 1845. Among other famous people to make their home here have been the poets Tennyson and Swinburne as well as the pioneer woman photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.
The town of Ventnor has a Museum of Smuggling, Cowes has a maritime museum and is famous for yachting, and Newport has a Roman Villa. Discovery of the remains of Dinosaurs have resulted in the Dinosaur Farm Museum on the south west of the island and the Dinosaur Isle at Sandown.