Bishop’s Waltham is a vibrant medieval market town at the source of the River Hamble with a charming centre of pretty streets lined with 17th and 18th century buildings.
The town sits midway between Portsmouth and Winchester on the edge of the stunning South Downs National Park.
Its heritage and history - which stretches back to the 12th century – is remarkably well preserved, but there’s also plenty for the 21st century visitor.
Surrounding areas include Wickham, a characterful town steeped in history with independent shops and serene water meadows, Swanmore, with its early and mid-Victorian brick architecture, and Botley – a picturesque market town on the upper banks of the River Hamble.
Josies is an independent, family-run coffee shop offering great cake and delicious pancakes.
Giorgio’s restaurant and bar transports you to the Mediterranean with a good selection of Greek-Cypriot classics including lamb moussaka and chicken souvlaki – chicken marinated in garlic, lemon and herbs with tzatziki, salad and pitta bread.
The Crown is a charming 16th century coaching inn in the heart of the town, offering great British classics and cask ale.
Busy village local pub The Barleycorn Inn has a pretty garden for summer and an open fire indoors in winter. It serves good, homecooked food, real ale – and more than 39 gins!
South Downs National Park
Walk and cycle in the stunning South Downs National Park, which runs up to the northern edge of Bishop’s Waltham.
Bishop’s Waltham Palace
Explore the extensive remains of this grand medieval palace, which was founded in the 12th century. Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, IV, V, VI, VIII, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I all passed through the doors of the Bishop’s Palace, which was destroyed in 1644 under Cromwell’s orders. You can find three other castles and abbeys within nine miles of Bishop's Waltham Palace, so make a day of it and explore Titchfield Abbey, Southwick Priory and Porchester Castle.
Bishop’s Waltham Museum
Find out all about the history of this medieval town at the free museum.
The High Street
St George’s Square, at the south end of the High Street, is all that survives of the original marketplace, with the stone under the Jubilee Clock the last remaining part of the original market house that once stood in the square.
St Peter’s Church
This site at the end of the Georgian St Peter’s Street has been a place of worship for more than 900 years. The church has a Norman core, Saxon font, Jacobean pulpit and a 14th century iron clock from the Bishop’s Palace, with a pendulum weighing a third of a ton and believed to be the third heaviest in the world.
Moors Nature Reserve
The Moors Nature Reserve is the main source of the Hamble River. It’s a Site of Scientific Interest and is a great spot to see kingfishers and dragonflies.
Claylands Nature Reserve
On the outskirts of the town, Claylands has lush, grassy meadows and ponds that are home to one of the largest populations of crested newts in the country.