CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

What the market town of Romsey has to offer

PUBLISHED: 16:10 15 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:28 16 December 2016


As the market town gears up for Christmas along with the big boys, we went to see what it has to offer shoppers and tourists. The answer is a lot

What is it the estate agents say? Location, location, location. It counts for a lot, whether you’re selling or buying a home or choosing a community to live in. Romsey certainly ticks the location box, nestling seven miles from Southampton and 11 from Winchester. It’s close enough to commute and shop, but far enough to maintain its own identity.

The town is steeped in history of course and many famous names have made it their home over the years. We’re not talking about reality-TV famous here; former Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, Earl Mountbatten of Burma and Florence Nightingale have all lived in or near Romsey.

But as Christmas approaches, Romsey wants to make its voice heard as a shopping and leisure destination alongside its bigger neighbours. And for a town of its size, it has a lot to offer, with independents surviving and thriving among the high street names.

The market town feel is very much alive here, with markets every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday in the Cornmarket. For shopping, there are an encouragingly wide range of independents, particularly around Bell Street, Church Street and The Hundred.

There are designer boutiques packed with clothes, shoes, handbags, scarves, jewellery and accessories galore. Department store Bradbeers has everything from cookshop to cosmetics, an award-winning lingerie department, fashion and furnishings.

If you’re all shopped out and just want some of that history, it’s right there in the town centre; opposite Romsey Abbey is King John’s House and Heritage Centre, with 750 years of history in 13th century King John’s House, a Tudor cottage and Victorian museum, with tea room and gardens thrown in.

Talking of gardens, Romsey has plenty to offer. Apart from those of King John’s House there are the Memorial Gardens – five acres of public park bordered on three sides by the River Test. There’s a restored bandstand, children’s playground, and a magnificent war horse memorial, unveiled by Princess Anne last summer. Just outside Romsey lie gardens of national and international importance. Sir Harold Hillier Gardens has 180 acres of seasonal planting displays including, in spring, a profusion of camellias and rhododendrons and a magnolia avenue. There are national plant and tree collections, great views, a children’s garden, a cafe and gallery and a lively events calendar. The National Trust’s Mottisfont Abbey is set in an idyllic location alongside the Test and is world famous for its walled rose gardens.

For lunch and snacks, there is plenty on offer, from Dish Deli and Kitchen on Latimer Street for breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea to ice creams at Sundae’s Child. Cafes include the Daisy Cake Company and Rum’s Eg cafe.

The evening is all about great food. With a long brewing history, Romsey has a good selection of pubs including The Three Tuns, which has a Michelin Bib Gourmand, and The Old House at Home, a 17th century thatched inn serving traditional pub grub. Stay at The White Horse, the town’s principal inn since medieval times, now a comfortable boutique hotel with 2AA Rosette brasserie right in the heart of Romsey.

5 things to see in Romsey

1. History: Romsey Abbey

2. Gardens: Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

3. Shop: Bradbeers

4. Stay & eat: The White Horse

5. Kids: Romsey Rapids


Here’s why you should be visiting the Isle of Wight this Christmas - The Isle of Wight is not just a destination for summer and music festivals. There is so much more to it than that. Emma Caulton explores the Island out of season

More from Out & About

Mon, 15:25

Remember, remember… Here’s a quick round up of some stunning displays across Hampshire this year

Read more
Mon, 15:22

The community shop is thriving. Why? And what makes the perfect village store? We went in search…

Read more
Mon, 14:27

From Jane Austen to Karl Marx, our towns and villages have fascinating links to some of the biggest historical celebrities. Viv Micklefield follows in their footsteps with the help of a blue plaque or two

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

10 of best photos of Hampshire shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Our guide to some of the best Halloween events on offer across Hampshire this October

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

We round up 8 things you didn’t know about this little South Downs village

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Enjoy some easy walking around the Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Reserve says Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

Head to the Isle of Wight to enjoy the charming villages of Brighstone and Mottistone, taking in superb views, an ancient monument and enchanting gardens with our new walks writer, Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

With the centenary of the end of World War One commemorated this year, the reopening of the iconic Royal Victoria Chapel, part of our military heritage, is timely

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This year Winchester’s Theatre Royal celebrates the 40th anniversary of its re-opening as a performance theatre

Read more
Monday, September 17, 2018

Avon Valley, Beer and Cake is the ABC of why Ringwood, a busy market town on the western edge of the New Forest, makes a quirkily clever choice for a break away

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Lego enthusiast Duncan Titmarsh has built his business brick by brick; from tinkering in his garden shed to internationally acclaimed sculptures

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

New Forest ponies are an iconic sight, yet modern-day pressures pose a constant threat to the traditional landscape. Viv Micklefield heads to Lyndhurst to take stock of what happens inside England’s oldest forest court

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search