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Things to see and do in Botley

PUBLISHED: 09:37 07 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:37 07 July 2014

Credit: James Newell

Credit: James Newell

JAMES NEWELL

For a unique ‘Rural Ride’ along the Cobbett Trail or afternoon tea in the mill, this historic village has a charming boutique quality and is truly delightful

A Potted History

For over a thousand years, a flour mill has existed in Botley. It was first mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086 A.D and it finally ceased production in 1993.

Luckily, a decision was made to preserve the machinery rather than destroy it and the huge mill stones can be seen when you visit.

The building now houses an array of businesses and has been owned by the Appleby family for over 100 years.

In 1665 a tax was levied on hearths. At that time Botley had a population of about 350 yet half the people were exempt from paying the tax because of poverty. One person was wealthy enough to own six hearths!

William Cobbett, a radical Politician and Journalist is one of the most famous residents. Best known for his travel journal ‘Rural Rides’, he also wrote ‘Advice to Young Men’ and ‘Cottage Economy’.

He once said that “Botley had everything in it that he loved and nothing that he hated.” He would probably still say this today.

Shop till you drop

With none of the familiar chain stores, shopping in Botley is a breath of fresh air. Shopkeepers give you the attention you deserve. Sophisticated and exclusive boutiques provide everything you need whether you’re going on a dream cruise, to the prom or preparing to tie the knot. Hidden Agenda stocks lingerie and swimwear all year round, and to ensure you have the best foundation to build your perfect look they provide a full fitting service. Designer baby and children’s wear can be found at etikett alongside teensy weensy outfits for premature babies (or dolls). Original Artworks and bespoke framing are available at The Penny Farthing Gallery and if you have a treasured family heirloom, book or maybe a personal journal, pay Lancefields a visit. Operating since 1967, Rex and his family of skilled book binders will ensure those special words survive for generations to come.

Out & about

Nearby Manor Farm Country Park is set in 400 acres along the banks of the River Hamble. Step back in time to see what life on the farm was like in the Victorian era. Children will love seeing the animals and there’s a café near the entrance if you need perking up. A 13th century church and medieval farmhouse will whet the appetite of those who enjoy historical architecture. For the walkers, Botley is the starting point for many interesting way marked walks or simply explore randomly by tossing a coin to decide if you should go right or left. Follow the Cobbett way marks around Botley to discover some of the places associated with William Cobbett or The Strawberry Trail is approximately 15 miles long, stretching from Botley to Netley taking in farmland, woodland, riverside and coast. At Pinkmead Farm and Equestrian Centre you can book a hack around the countryside or fishing, kayaking and rowing up the River Hamble are a source of pleasure to many. Watch closely as you may spot a Kingfisher or a brood of ducklings.

Food & drink

If it’s international cuisine, or quaint English Cream Teas that tickle your taste buds, Botley has plenty to choose from. Discover Regginas for classic and modern Italian cuisine, Purbani’s authentic Indian dishes or try a Croque Monsieur or a lemon and sugar crêpe from the French run Délicieux Café. The beautifully converted Courtyard Kitchen at Botley Mills is spacious, quirky and relaxed offering homemade cakes and locally sourced food including breads from the Happy Toast Bakery. Elsie’s Traditional Tea Rooms located in what was originally a stable, also serves real leaf tea in vintage style china. At one time, there were 14 ale houses in Botley, as visitors were regularly restricted by the tides affecting the river Hamble. Nowadays, three village pubs, The Dolphin, Brewery Bar and The Bugle cater for the 21st Century traveller, where real ales may be imbibed and pub fayre enjoyed.

My weekend in Botley

“I love coming to shop and wander around Botley because of its lovely atmosphere and preserved village feel,” says Becky Henderson from West End, Hampshire. “I’ve been visiting for years and love going for a walk and stopping for coffee or a browse. My sister is having a sports massage and I quite happily came with her as I can relax, read and sip a cappuccino here in the Mill. The surrounding countryside is beautiful, especially over in Manor Farm. I especially like visiting at Christmas as it’s so pretty and different to the other towns and villages. It’s definitely worth a visit. A bunch of my friends have been kayaking up the Hamble to Botley and although I haven’t tried it yet, this summer I might give it a go.”

Getting there...

Botley is in Southern Hampshire on the A334 just a few miles from junction 7 of the M27. If you fancy leaving the car behind, Botley train station is on the main line between Reading and Brighton. It has direct connections to London Waterloo, Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Winchester, Reading and Brighton and is also served by several bus companies. Car parking is free in Botley and it’s an easy cycle from Manor Farm County Park.

Satnav postcode: SO30 2EA

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