The ancient market town of Romsey lies in the heart of Test Valley surrounded by beautiful countryside. Dating back to the 8th century, the town was built on the banks of the River Test whose streams meander throughout the town. Its name is derived from Rum’s Eg meaning Rum’s area of dry land surrounded by marshes. Pretty medieval streets surround Romsey Abbey, the largest parish church in the county and one of England’s finest examples of Norman architecture.
The town started to grow in the first half of the 20th century, and is now a thriving market town bursting with shops, cafes and restaurants, and events. And the markets, a regular feature of the town since the 11th century, continue to be held weekly, with one of Hampshire’s busiest Farmers’ Markets, held on the first Sunday of the month, offering top quality products grown or made in the local area.
In the heart of the town, Market Place is a reminder of days gone by with the statue of Lord Palmerston, former Foreign Secretary, Prime Minister in the 1800s, and famous for his ‘gun boat diplomacy’. The Victorian Town Hall, which first opened its doors in 1866, now houses Romsey Town Council’s offices and is open to the public. In Church Street you’ll find King John’s House and Heritage Centre, a Tudor cottage in a former Victorian gun shop with a wonderful tea room in a cottage garden. You can pick up a copy of the Romsey Heritage Trail from the Visitor Information Centre next door which will guide you through other places in town to visit, including old coaching inns, and the beautiful Memorial Park and Romsey War Horse statue.
For nature lovers, Fishlake Meadows, a nature reserve on the outskirts of town, is well worth a visit. This spectacular 59 hectare wetland habitat is home to more than 170 bird species – a birder’s paradise! We’re also ideally located to visit some of the area’s most beautiful gardens, National Trust properties and attractions, with the New Forest just a short drive away.
For an hilarious flit through the history of Romsey with oodles of inaccuracy, watch 'Romsey the Movie' created by resident photographer and musician Kate Jackson.
Enjoy your visit!
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