CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Things to see and do in Wickham

PUBLISHED: 10:57 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:31 05 July 2018

Chesapeake Mill © Paul Carter

Chesapeake Mill © Paul Carter

© Paul Carter

With festivals aplenty and foodie delights, Wickham is buzzing

Potted history

With its plethora of restaurants, cafes and independent shops grouped round its generous square, no wonder Wickham has become a favourite destination.

Not that it’s anything new for this south Hampshire village, because visitors have been flocking here since the Stone Age when, it’s believed, early settlers found it a convenient place to cross the nearby River Meon.

Ever the opportunists, the Romans utilised this facility themselves from around 43 AD onwards, with the first official mention of the village in a Royal Charter, dated 826, and later, in the Domesday Book.

What really put Wickham on the map, however, was the granting of a charter by Henry III in 1269 to hold a weekly market. The market is long gone, replaced by the annual Wickham Fair, but there’s been no stopping Wickham ever since.

Drawn by its plentiful water supply, tanning and brewing industries set up adjacent to the Meon at the Chesapeake Mill, which was built in 1820 from the timbers of an American frigate captured by The Royal Navy. The timbers and a historical display can be seen in the building, which is now an antiques emporium and café.

Chesapeake Mill caught the eye of the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, and so did the rest of Wickham. “The scale and disposition of the buildings in relation to the spaces are exceptionally happy,” he declared, describing it as ‘the finest village in Hampshire’.

Surprisingly he forbore to mention The Dip Hole, which lies in the Mill’s front car-park. This plain, stepped structure provided a safe place for villagers to collect water before the arrival of the mains.

Restored during the 1990s, it’s a charming reminder of Wickham’s past which – like many other local features and traditions - the parish has done so well to weave into its vibrant present.

Getting there

The trainline shut down in 1955 but you can still cycle safely to the village on the old route, which is now the Meon Valley Trail, connecting Wickham to a number of long-distance walking trails, including The Wayfarer’s Walk. The 69 bus will get you to Wickham from Winchester (and most villages in between), and the same service brings you to the village from Fareham. Driving? Wickham is on the A32 which means it’s an 11-minute journey from Fareham, and half an hour from Winchester. The village is also a ten-minute drive northwards from the M27’s Junction 10.

What’s going on?

Almost anything you can think of! Every May Day starts with Morris Dancers ‘greeting the Dawn’ in the village square, followed by the Scouts May Day Fayre and the annual fun fair, on May 20. This month sees the annual Duck Race, raising funds for young people’s organisations, and from August 2-5, the 2018 Wickham Festival swings into action again. Based on farmland just to the village’s north, the award-winning, four-day, boutique event sees Squeeze headlining, with appearances by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel and The Undertones.

The second Sunday of September sees another festival – Taste of Wickham, a celebration of everything which makes Wickham special (but especially food!).

Then, in November, Wickham Scouts put on their annual fireworks display, and the year ends with Santa turning on the Christmas lights.

Add to this all the events which take place at the Wickham Centre – from beer festivals to gong baths to spiritual healing and cinema club, Wickham Flicks, and it’s easy to see why so many are so keen to live in this town.

Food and drink

Wickham has established itself as a major foodie destination – and no wonder. Whatever you want to eat and whenever, they’ve got it covered; from sumptuous cakes and coffees at Lilly’s at the end of the Square (their Classic Afternoon Tea is £15), to highly-regarded curries at Kuti’s and Veranda, to high-quality pub food in The King’s Head and Greens (Gourmet steak burger, bacon, melted brie, chilli dip and triple cooked chips £14.95). Then there’s newcomers The Square Cow, and Offbeet in the Chesapeake Mill, whose vegan and gluten-free dishes have attracted some admiring attention from London reviewers.

Famous son

Wickham’s most illustrious son, William of Wykeham, was actually born William Longe, in 1320? After his education was paid for by benefactors he became a medieval success story, becoming Bishop of Winchester, Lord Chancellor (twice!), clerk of works at Windsor Castle and he also founded Winchester College and New College, Oxford.

Did you know?

Wickham was a veritable military hub during World War II – with an Army HQ in The King’s Head public house, Canadian soldiers at Rookesbury School and Army engineers based in a garage along the Fareham road.

Village voice

Two decades ago confidence coach Louise Bowditch decided to move to Wickham after she and husband, Mark, left their married Navy quarter. Last year, after living in several nearby villages, she finally achieved that ambition and has spent the past 10 months enjoying every good thing Wickham has to offer.

“We’d been living nearby but as the kids were getting older we wanted to move into a place where we could walk to the shops, or walk back after having a drink– somewhere that had a bit of life,” she says. “The nuts and bolts of a good village are all here, too – doctor’s surgery, Post Office, hairdresser’s, even a proper ironmongers.”

She and her husband now live close to the Square and relish the chance to enjoy village life – from the Wild Gastro evenings held at Lilly’s: “Amazing food!” to the independent shops and the village’s lively Facebook group. “It’s very well-used and gives updates about new companies or events, or just helpful local information,” she says.

They both enjoy Wickham’s flourishing food scene: “We’ve just had a new pub called The Square Cow open up and it’s fast becoming our favourite place,” she says, as well as looking forward to the annual Wickham Festival which takes place just ten minutes’ walk from their home.

Louise enjoys browsing at The Chesapeake Mill, and the couple also enjoy exploring the area, particularly the Millennium Water Meadows, which connect to the Meon Valley Trail.

So inspired has Louise been by her new home that she’s launched a new business,, giving talks and helping women find the courage to build a happy and fulfilled life.

In the meantime she’s determined to make the most of living in such a diverse place.

“I used to run a florist in the Square and remember looking out one day to see a lady taking a llama for a walk, which kind of sums up this lovely village.” 


Things to see and do in Whitchurch - Mills, quiet thrills and cocktails, Emma Caulton chills in Whitchurch

More from Out & About

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Treat yourself to lunch and tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Hampshire tea rooms.

Read more
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Is there anything more refreshing than a stroll on a crisp winter’s day? We don’t think so! Here are a few of our favourite rambles across the county to enjoy this season

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

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

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With 100 years since the last guns were fired during World War One, we remember the sacrifices Hampshire made

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With the New Forest, South Downs and a picturesque coastline, Hampshire is an amazing place for a walk. We round up a few of our favourites

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

There is so much to see and do in Hampshire over the festive season, from carol services to markets and of course amazing food and drink and our day-by-day guide brings you the pick of the best

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

If you’re planning to add a new extension, remodel the internal layout or create a brilliant new kitchen overlooking a landscaped garden, a visit to the South East Homebuilding & Renovating Show (19-20 January 2019) at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre is a must

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

Huge Christmas markets, frosty countryside and cosy pubs; winter in Hampshire is second to none…

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

When it comes to celebrating the festive season, Winchester is alive with the sound of music. From Cathedral choirs to community singers and from family musicals to classical concerts, there’s something for everyone

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Get in the festive spirit with our selection of the Hampshire's top dining experiences this Christmas…

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

This thriving community in North Hampshire is a desirable location for residents and visitors alike

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Running a successful regional theatre means thinking beyond the bricks and mortar to reach out to the community. We ask four of Hampshire’s leading impresarios, how do they ensure that the show goes on?

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Savour spectacular views of the Needles and Alum Bay and discover history tales on this invigorating walk on the Isle of Wight

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

With late-night shopping, fairs, Christmas markets and plenty of food and drink, we’ve rounded up some of the best festive offerings in Hampshire

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