Historic market town nestled in the Test Valley, surrounded by the beautiful English countryside. Romsey has caught my eye and captured my heart.
Because its flippin’ gorgeous! Romsey is a beauty, full of Instagram worthy corners, pretty streets, green spaces and indie cafes and boutiques. Romsey has also pulled off the tricky balancing of centuries of beautifully preserved history with a bustling, modern feel. Add to that welcoming locals, dog friendly everywhere and streets strung with bunting. I don’t know what more you could ask, really?
Oh wait! I do know what more you could ask. My Romsey best bits. I’d love to share. In absolutely no particular order, here we go..
1. Romsey Abbey
Or, to give the old place its full title The Abbey Church of St Mary and St Ethelflaeda. That doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue though, does it? Whatever you want to call it, this site has been home to a stone church and/or a nunnery since circa 1000 AD. It’s survived civil war, black death and long periods of neglect.
Today it’s a lovely place to explore, inside and out. Admission free, donations welcome.
2. Historic Buildings
Romsey Abbey is a beauty, but it’s by no means the only historic building worth a look. Romsey is full of them. Many of them beautifully preserved and kindly repurposed- like the former Corn exchange, now a branch of Barclays Bank.
Elsewhere in Romsey you’ll find Medieval homes, a Tudor cottage, a Victorian era former gun shop, a mill, a highly embellished terraced home that was used as a showcase for a local stonemason. Wander the streets, wander through time. Take your camera, you won’t regret it.
3.Homes & Gardens
I say take your camera (or just your phone, I think a lot of people just use phones now?) but it isn’t just the big old historic places that are worth capturing. There’s also loads of beautiful homes and gardens. Victorian terraces , grand Georgian homes, beautiful wisteria clad houses with balconies…so much loveliness.
We’re all friends here so I’ll just admit it. I am a proper property lurker. It started out online with Right Move and the like but now it’s elevated into real life lurking as well. I just love seeing and capturing beautiful homes and gardens. I’ve no idea if this is frowned upon or if there is any etiquette to this sort of thing. I hope if I’ve ever been spotted by a resident, they take my interest as a compliment. I’ve not been chased off. Yet.
4. River Walks
Pretty streets are all well and good but if you want to be by the water, it’s an easy stroll down to the river via the handsome Saddlers Mill. Lovely place to walk, some great access to the water if you have a dog with you. FYI, Romsey dog walkers are a friendly bunch. If you meet over the dogs at the river, you’ll likely be chatting for an age. But that’s nice, isn’t it? Especially after all the distancing we’ve lived with.
5. War Memorial Park
Created out of meadowland and funded out of money collected for a WW1 War memorial, this place is everything a traditional town park should be. Highlights include a war memorial, a restored Victorian bandstand and a Japanese field gun. You’ll also find a lot of colour here; in the pretty planting, the cheerful park cafe and via an eye catching mural by Hampshire artist Hendog.
6. Romsey War Horse
Located within the Memorial Park, but I think this one deserves its own mention. Created by Hampshire born sculptor Amy Goodman, the War Horse memorial was unveiled in 2015. This is Romsey’s tribute to the war horses of the First World War.
During WW1, the land just outside the town held a vast Remount camp. Over three years, the camp trained 120,000 horses to prepare them for service on the battlefield. Post war, the camp was demolished and the rubble used to prepare the ground of the War Memorial park. In a really lovely touch, four horse shoes recovered from the battlefields of France are set below ground within the footings of the statue.
7. The People
Have you heard the old idea that people are friendlier ‘Up North’ and more reserved the further South you go? Well, if that’s true- which it isn’t, in my experience- Romsey is definitely an exception. Talk about friendly locals. All the people I’ve encountered have been lovely.
We’ve met chatty dog walkers, experienced an amazingly warm welcome from independent department store Bradbeers and encountered a lovely lady who spotted us trying to find a parking space and divulged the secret of getting parked in town on market day ( I don’t think I should share it here though, I suspect it’s a bit frowned upon by some).
As well as being friendly, the people of Romsey are a good humoured bunch. So much so, many of them appear in Romsey The Movie. It’s a rip roaring, hilarious romp through the history of the town. Accuracy not guaranteed.
A wonderful account of a lovely place – with some beautiful photos!
I love the very timely image of the little footballer; so timely for this weekend’s cup final match!
Thank you so much -let’s hope he brings England good luck!
Romsey looks beautiful Helen. I think we were nearby a couple of years ago when we visited the Mottisfont Rose Gardens. I’ll definitely be adding a visit here to my list of places to visit next time I’m back in Hampshire. Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend. Marion
Yes, it’s just a stones throw from Mottisfont. I’ve been to the gardens but am yet to make it into the house. Hampshire is such a lovely part of the world for getting out and about.
Romsey does look a stunning place to visit. The detail in the War Horse memori is so intricate. The corn exchange / now bank looks an impressive building indeed. 🙂
It’s a lovely place. hope this is the year places like Romsey get to shine as so many of us lean towards staycations rather than overseas travel.
I lived in Hampshire for a year in 1978/9 and visited Romsey on a day off, including Broadlands, the home of Earl Mountbatten. Anything I remembered about it was obliterated by the fact that it turned out to be the day he was killed. Awful!
I did read about his death, really awful. Sounds like you’ve had a really interesting life Anabel, been about the place a bit (in the nicest possible way!). What brought you down to Hampshire?
A job! After uni I needed a traineeship before going to library school and jumped at the first offer, which was Hampshire.
Love the video, Helen! Every town should have one. I stopped by initially because one of our friends has family there. If I was him I’d be tempted to join them.
The video is brilliant isn’t it? I love it when life isn’t taken so seriously.
This was super informative. I will have to take a road trip down and visit…these sound incredible!
I hope you do, there’s lots of independent boutiques I think you’d enjoy. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, and have to say your blog is just stunning!
This Town looks a lovely place to visit. Love this post. Thanks for sharing
Thank you, its definitely a place I’ll return to!
What a beautiful, historic town. I love the wall plaques (not sure if that’s the correct name for them) that give more historical information. I would love to visit the Abbey. Thanks for sharing, especially in these times when o/s travel is not so easy!! xx
It really is a beauty. The plaques are all over the town, gives a nice sense of place and history. It’s sad that travel is so limited now, but the upside is finding all the lovely places right on our doorstep.
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
This looks like such a fun place to visit!
Thank you, it’s such a pretty place.
Such a beautiful little town. Looks exactly like the kind of place I love to wander through and snap photos along the way.
I’m off! When’s the next bus?
It would definitely be worth the bus fare!
The Romsey Abbey just made my bucket list. How beautiful. I can’t wait to get back there.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Definitely bucket list worthy!
Looks lovely! I love the area by the water.
It’s a beautiful place, I’d highly recommend a visit if you get the chance.
Thanks for a lovely review of our town!
Thank you so much! It means a lot, coming from a Romsey resident. I look forward to visiting again soon.
The river and gardens look so pretty! Romsey sounds like a lovely place 🙂
Worth a visit, for sure!
It’s a long time since I last visited Romsey, (late 1970s) but your photos show it much as I remember it.
Many thanks for following my blog.
Best wishes, Pete.
Romsey looks beautiful and peaceful. Definitely worth a visit
I agree, definitely is worth a visit. Something for everyone. Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment, means the world to me.
This looks like a brilliant place to visit, all the history and it’s own movie what more could people ask for…absolutely lovely.
Thank you so much- Romsey is a gem!
Romsey looks beautiful. I have lived in England for a year, but never got a chance to visit Romsey. I will have to go back sometime soon (with my husband and kids)! Thank you for sharing this post.
I hope you get the chance to make a visit, it’s a beautiful little town with lots to see at any time of year! Thankyou so much for taking the time to read and comment, appreciate it!