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Things to do in Hamble - places to eat, where to stay and more

PUBLISHED: 12:53 13 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:53 13 January 2015

Hamble's iconic pink ferries

Hamble's iconic pink ferries

Archant

Five miles south east of Southampton lies the chocolate-box village of Hamble. Not just a top haunt for sailors, it’s also the perfect place to soak up shorefront views, cosy up in ancient pubs or ponder seaside-inspired artwork in cool galleries

Feast
When it comes to finding a decent place to eat, you really are spoilt for choice in Hamble. Start at the top and wander down the cutesy cobbled High Street to find enough eateries to keep you full for a week. Devour delicious pan-fried scallops and fine wine at the River Rat Cellar and Kitchen. (
www.riverrathamble.co.uk) Sup one of six cask ales at The Ye Olde Whyte Hart (www.yeoldewhyteharte.co.uk), whilst marvelling at one of the oldest windows in the UK, listed with English Heritage. Or for knock-out marina views opt for The Water’s Edge (www.watersedge.co.uk), overlooking the River Hamble.

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Mooch

Sea Sky Art (www.seaskyart.co.uk) is a thriving creative space on the High Street that showcases striking artwork from seven local painters. This includes gallery founder, Sandy Curry, whose onsite studio doubles up as a space for workshops and pop-up exhibitions.

Whilst most of the exhibitors have found their inspiration from the surrounding shoreline, Sandy’s stint as resident artist in a women’s prison provided plenty of stimulus. Besides the beautiful canvases, you’ll find ceramics, sculpture and jewellery - plus a room chock-full of nautical-inspired treasures from driftwood sculptures to vintage sailor prints, and pretty note pads adorned with beach huts – ideal gifts or a little treat for yourself.

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Sail

Having earned a rep for its boat building industry and world-renown yachting, a visit to Hamble would not be complete without taking to the water. And what better way than on the legendary, lipstick-pink, ferry that chugs between Hamble pontoon and the waterside village of Warsash. With a history dating back to at least 1493, the two postcard-perfect, 12-passenger boats, fondly named ‘Emily’ and ‘Claire’, carry holiday-makers, cyclists, ramblers and locals alike on the 1/4 mile stretch of river. Armed with an ice cream (or a hot chocolate) from the Blue Star café kiosk, hop aboard and enjoy an alternative view of Hamble, whilst watching the world and his boat float by. Sails daily 9am – 4pm. Costs: Adult - £1.50, Children (under 12) - £1.00, Cyclist - £1.75. Find out more at www.hambleferry.co.uk.

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Explore
Hamble proves a popular pub stop for walkers, as it falls halfway along the 60-mile Solent Way, from the seaside town of Milford-on-Sea to Emsworth Harbour. If you’re looking for a more agreeable, post-Sunday lunch stroll, follow The Hamble Rail Trail. This 4.5 mile meander follows a disused railway track that was built at the end of WW1 to transport aircraft from Manchester to Hamble, and links Hamble Common, Royal Victoria Country Park, the Solent Way and the Strawberry Trail.

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Local knowledge

“Apart from the coastal location and sailing, one of the best things about Hamble is the fantastic range of places to eat and drink,” says local, Sally Rogers. “Our village only has a population of 4,500 but because of the visiting yachtsman and day trippers, we have enough pubs and restaurants to visit a different venue every night of the week. From a romantic meal in the wonderful River Rat Restaurant, Steak Night at the King and Queen or beans on toast and a cup of tea at the Blue Star Café, we have something for everyone.”

Having moved to Hamble, from the South Downs, nearly five years ago, to be close to her husband’s yacht services business, TJ Marine – Sally has since set up Saint Odo Antiques, selling a range of furniture and decorative items online and in pop-up shops. When she’s not sniffing out unusual pieces, Sally loves hanging out locally: “This time of year is fantastic for a walk through Hamble Common, along the banks of the River Hamble and through the woods to the shores of Southampton Water to collect shells - a hot chocolate next to the fire in Castaway warms us up afterwards. In the summer, we have so much going on: there’s the River Raid, trips on the Pink Ferry, ice creams, crabbing, Hamble River Games, yacht racing, cricket on Bramble Bank (when the tide allows), the Foxer fleet out every Sunday morning and a dozen places to eat and drink.”

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Sleep
Perched towards the bottom of the High Street, overlooking a sliver of the quayside, you’ll find Castleton House. This beautiful, period, holiday home is within stumbling distance of a plethora of pubs and restaurants. If you would prefer a bed & breakfast, look no further than its immediate neighbour, Compass Point (www.compasspointhamble.co.uk), whose vista is equally enviable.

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Don’t miss

Grab yourself a truly authentic souvenir, whilst helping to raise much needed funds for the Hamble Lifeboat. Last year, the Hamble Business Women’s group tastefully disrobed and turned ‘Calendar Girls’ to raise over £5000 for the local lifeboat station. Not to be outdone, the men of the village decided to up the ante, throw in their caps and publish their own Full Monty calendar, with the aim to beat last year’s amount. The jury is still out, but every penny of the £10 purchase price goes straight to the lifeboat. The calendar can be bought online at www.fullmontyhamble.co.uk or at most of the shops and pubs – although if you buy from the latter you may look at the landlord in a whole new light!

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