10 reasons to live in Hampshire
This week the limelight falls on Hampshire, home of the New Forest and, of course, Jane Austen. Covering picturesque countryside towns and villages, popular shopping cities such as Winchester, and seaside locations such as Portsmouth and Southampton, Mumsnet Local editor Kirsten gives us her take on Hampshire.
1. Things about the area
It's such a beautiful part of the world, so much
stunning scenery - the Downs, the New Forest, the south coast - but, no matter where you live in Hampshire, you're pretty well connected, too: good links to London and the rest of the South East make Hampshire a great place to live and work (and never too far from John Lewis either).
All the lovely countryside not too far away from shops and lovely little towns and small city of Winchester. Puddlelane
2. Child-friendly café
Café Bridge in Andover is a fab café, which serves good coffee and has a free children's play area. What could be more perfect?
Depends what sort of night out you're after! Audleys Wood Hotel near Basingstoke does amazing food (and has beautiful rooms if you can manage a whole night away).
For wine lovers, The Black Bottle in Winchester boasts 36 wines available by the glass through their wine dispensing machines!
Drinks - The Black Bottle, Winchester. Eating - The Chesil Rectory. Puddlelane
4. Outside spaces
Where to start? I'm a sucker for a pony and the New Forest National Park is full of them as well as beautiful scenery, great walks and some pretty towns (with great pubs and fantastic ice cream).
Also worth a mention is Mottisfont Abbey, a lovely National Trust property with lots of room to run around.
Southsea Common, Mottisfont Abbey, New Forest. HappyToBeInHampshire
Average semi-detached house price
Average class size for primary schools
Hampshire: 27 pupils
UK: 27 pupils
Average class size for secondary schools
Hampshire: 22 pupils
UK: 20.4 pupils
5. Hidden gem
Not very hidden, but the viewpoints on top of Portsdown Hill are fabulous (probably best avoided after dark). Oh and Hilsea Lines. HappyToBeInHampshire
6. Community venues
Lots of fantastic community spaces but Winchester Discovery Centre stands out. Primarily a library, it's also home to a gallery and coffee shop. It has rooms that can be hired and is currently offering Zumba classes.
7. Free visitor attractions
Hampshire Food Fare is brilliant - lots and lots of fun events. Puddlelane
8. Day out
Finkley Down Farm is a lovely farm park, children can coo at the baby farm animals, let off steam in the playground, build a den and there's even soft play if it rains - they do great cakes too.
For a more cultured day, there are some great National Trust properties including Hinton Ampner in Alresford which runs various activities for children throughout the year. If you can stand the piped Peppa Pig theme tune then head to Paultons Park pre-schoolers heaven
Portsmouth Harbour / Historic Dockyard / Gunwharf Quays / Spinnaker Tower. HappyToBeInHampshire
9. Places to live
Winchester is very lovely with a decent array of shops, good schools and a nice vibe. Alton and Alresford are lovely market towns and there are loads of pretty villages all over Hampshire.
Tough one - you can be really rural in the New Forest; live city life in Southampton; be on the commuter belt in Winchester or you can opt for all the lovely little villages inbetween. Puddlelane
10. Places to shop
Winchester hosts the largest regular farmers market in the country and is foody heaven.
Basingstoke's Festival Place is a pretty big shopping mall with easy parking and all the usual suspects (sadly no John Lewis yet).
Basingstoke is surprisingly good if you want all the big chains in one place, will be even better if they get John Lewis. But I prefer Winchester, a great mix of smaller and more individual shops, cafes, etc plus all the historic buildings. HappyToBeInHampshire
I've been addicted to Mumsnet since I had my first child five years ago. Back then it gave me a vital connection to other mums when leaving the house was a mission and I had to start navigating the whole new world that opens up when you have kids.
I'd lived in Basingstoke most of my life but had no idea where to go on a damp Monday morning with a baby. I didn't know many people with children and MN really saved my sanity. I love the idea of MN Local - being able to meet people in real life and tapping in to local knowledge.