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Alresford is a Georgian town of pure indulgence with the biggest challenge of the day working out the correct pronunciation – ‘Allsford’ is how the locals say it.
Built on the wool trade during the Middle Ages, New Alresford (or just Alresford) is really rather old and replaced the even more ancient settlement of Old Alresford which predates around 1200. Alresford is characterised by iconic Georgian architecture with pretty pastel coloured houses and offers a charming and accessible bolthole with lots to see and do, a surprising depth of quality bearing in mind Alresford is not a large town.
Seven miles from Winchester and within easy reach of Junction 10 of the M3, Alresford is always a pleasure, for retail, dining or just a quiet day spent wandering through the pretty streets.
The Mid Hants Railway, also known locally as the Watercress Line, offers a trip back in time with a beautifully restored station plus a ten-mile trip to Alton on a steam locomotive. This historic line used to transport locally grown watercress from which it takes its name and was of significance during the war, moving military traffic and evacuees between Aldershot and Southampton. There are themed days for children and adults with engineering sheds for enthusiasts to learn more about the restoration projects taking place, a fully restored ticket office and Station Master’s parlour plus a gift shop and station buffet for refreshments.
Explore all of Alresford's delights
The fun way to explore Alresford is with the Alresford Treasure Trail with its spy mission theme, this is sure to delight both children and adults as well as taking in all the sights and points of interest around the town. The element of detection and puzzle makes this an interesting adventure for all ages and includes the railway station on the Watercress Line, the town centre, scenic paths along the river and the churchyard.
Alresford is surrounded by meandering chalk streams - the town itself is located on the banks of the River Alre from which it takes its name. There are several scenic riverside walks to enjoy.
The annual Alresford Watercress Festival (yes, this really is a thing) takes place during a week in May with a celebration of all things watercress, the forgotten superfood. Activities and events centre around growing watercress, recipes which can use watercress with cooking demonstrations, talks about the medicinal benefits of watercress plus interesting ancillary topics such as conserving water in the garden.
Daytime to evening dining
Happily, for visitors and locals, Alresford offers a smorgasbord of delightful eateries with traditional pubs, chic bistros and classic tea rooms to suit all tastes and requirements.
For a light lunch or delicious afternoon tea, Heidi’s Patisserie has it all with a delightful high street location as well as the most tempting menu. With genuine Swiss antecedents and a real-life Heidi, this business began back in the late 1960s and is still family owned and run today. Enjoy traditional English favourites with the style and taste of continental confectionary.
An historic town like Alresford does not disappoint when it comes to dining pubs. Visit The Globe, a 15thcentury pub with a terrace and garden overlooking a small lake or enjoy a meal in the cosy, historic interior – dine inside or out. Traditional country pub meets a modern British menu with locally sourced produce a speciality.
Image by Long Barn
Alresford is a breath of fresh retail air, brimming with authentic independent shops – high street shopping as it used to be. Alresford has everything you need to avoid the supermarket with a butcher, hardware shop and chemist plus numerous gifts shops and quirky, niche retailers to make even browsing and window shopping a real pleasure.
Alresford Linen Company in Broad Street is a must for interiors enthusiasts with homeware and fashion, a professional and specialist dry cleaning and laundry service on the premises and even a coffee shop. Textile heaven!
Also situated in Broad Street, is Fowler & Smith for antiques, collectables, ephemera and so much more. For vintage, retro and contemporary, Fowler & Smith expanded their premises when they came to Broad Street and as well as their own collections, also showcase pieces from other dealers within the same building. Plan to spend some time here – thankfully, there is a tempting restaurant with an ethical vibe, serving meals with organic and locally sourced produce, plus it is fully licensed with a range of wines, cocktails and local, craft beers. You can even dine outside in the pretty Courtyard Garden.
And a bit further afield, just outside the town centre, is Long Barn. Drawing on Alresford's wool history, Long Barn is where they used to hold the sheep for the Alresford Sheep Fair. This, coupled with a love of lavender growing, has resulted in a shopping destination for clothing and gorgeous interiors items, plus indoor and outdoor cafe areas and a garden centre.
Near to Alresford is our much-featured ‘Thatched Cottage Alresford’ project.
We embraced all of its cosy charms while modernising it with contemporary colours, quirky furnishings and a Shaker style kitchen.