Top places to live in Hampshire & IOW Stockbridge
Mix a mega-foodie high street with indie boutiques and a focus on local produce, and you have mini town Stockbridge on the banks of the Test River. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
The beating heart of Stockbridge on the River Test is its fishing past, and local produce is a big pull in the various foodie pubs and cafes, delis, and butchers. Throw in a healthy number of stylish boutiques, smart coffee shops and chocolate-box thatched cottages, and you have one seriously desirable locale.
Where to start? Thyme & Tides bistro on The High Street is the perfect place to stop for a light lunch to break up a day of shopping (plus the sunny garden is dog-friendly), or you can pick up something delicious from their adjoining deli and fishmonger. For a hearty dinner, The Greyhound on the Test is one of the loveliest pubs in the area, and offers an excellent menu made with locally-sourced ingredients (we’re big fans of the Sunday sharing roast). For a special occasion, head to The Grosvenor Hotel for their oak-panelled Danebury Dining Room and its elegant menu. Too lazy to go out? Purbani is our favourite Indian takeaway, hands down.
Leckford Estate, aka the Waitrose Farm, is home to the Longstock Farm Shop which sells produce from the estate’s whopping 4,000-acres as well as other local goodies, and Longstock Park Nursery and Garden Shop. Those who appreciate a good bottle (or just regular boozehounds like us) will love Wine Utopia, as owner Rachel Gibson runs regular English wine tastings at her Stockbridge store.
For fashion, head to chic boutique The Owl & The Pussycat (as well as excellent clothing and homeware they also do an adorable line of childrenswear), and for handbags and shoes hotfoot it (sorry) over to La Bella Donna on The High Street.
As well as shops, the previously-mentioned Leckford Estate is also home to six acres of Water Gardens, two golf courses and no fewer that sixteen fishing beats, which means there’s something here to keep practically everybody happy. Garden lovers will also enjoy Houghton Lodge, just a 5-minute drive out of town – the Grade II* listed building is surrounded by a stunning walled garden. Danebury Vineyards are a must-visit for winos who can’t resist a good tour and tasting.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
You’ll have to beat off the competition with a stick to get your mitts on a terraced period cottage or detached property here (they’re in very short supply), but there are equally beautiful houses in the surrounding villages. Try Houghton, Broughton and the Wallops.
The local state schools tick the box, including the well-rated Test Vallery Secondary in the town itself, but there are some excellent independents on the doorstep too. Just ten minutes’ drive away, Farleigh School outside of Andover is a co-ed Catholic prep school for children aged 3-13 years, while Prince’s Mead, a great co-ed Prep school in Winchester, is around a 20-minute drive.
BEST KEPT SECRET
Art consultant Josie Eastwood’s gallery is squirrelled away in a 16th century barn on the banks of the river in nearby Houghton. Josie holds just three exhibitions a year with cherry-picked artwork for clients – sign up to the mailing list to get the head’s up on dates.
Grately train station is a 13 minute drive away, and will connect you to Waterloo in around 1h30. Southampton is around a 40-minute drive away, or you can catch a train from nearby Romsey and be there in just 10 minutes.
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