Top places to live in Hampshire & IOW Wickham
With its peaceful location in the Meon Valley, listed buildings and bustling market square, Wickham Village is a slice of British history. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
A pretty market village within easy reach of Winchester, Southampton and Portsmouth, Wickham has history imbued every thatched roof and oak beam – not surprising for somewhere that boasts the second oldest medieval square in England. It may boast olde worlde charm and excellent countryside surrounds in the Meon Valley, but it’s far from stuffy, with a surprising number of boutique shops and eateries.
Can’t resist a slice of cake and a cuppa? You’ll be in good company here, as there are tearooms and cozy coffee shops on practically every corner. Lilly’s is a local favourite for afternoon tea, breakfast and lunch, while Bay Tree Tea Rooms is known for its excellent cakes (the lemon meringue pie here comes in ginormous slabs). Pubs aren’t in short supply either – try The King’s Head, The Five Bells and The Square Cow (which not only serves the extensive range of gins we expect of any good country pub, but also offers a full rum menu). For dinner, Greens Restaurant nails British classics, while Kuti’s and Verandah are the best Indian restaurants in the area.
Warwick Lane and Bay Tree Walk are the main haunts for keen shoppers, and antique hunters will absolutely be in their happy place here; Warwick Market Antiques and The Chesapeake Mill are total treasure troves waiting to be rummaged through. For something slightly more recent, head to quaint interiors and furniture paint shop J’adore la Maison.
Wickham is ideal for outdoorsy types. Walkers and cyclists will enjoy having the 10-mile Meon Valley Trail on their doorstep, while the famous Water Meadows make for a perfect picnicking spot on a sunny day, as does the West Walk at the Forest of Bere. Wickham Park Golf Club just outside of the village has a well-maintained 18-hole course that makes the most of the Meon Valley location. Got family coming to visit? The ivy-clad Old House Hotel on the Square is hard to miss.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
Detached properties command a high price point, with an average cost of £728,333, but with terraced houses costing just £357,750 the average overall property price is brought down to £449,305. Local estate agents include Byrne Runciman and Taylor Hill and Bond.
When it comes to state schools, there are a couple of good primaries in town, but you’ll have to travel for secondaries. For indies, nearby Boundary Oak School is a private co-ed boarding and day school for pupils aged 2 to 16, and slightly further afield, you have Meoncross School catering for boys and girls aged 3 to 18. Co-ed The Gregg School for 11 – 16 year-olds is 20 minutes’ away in Southampton while just over 15 minutes’ in the other direction is Portsmouth Grammar School, a co-ed city stalwart catering for nursery to Sixth Form.
BEST KEPT SECRET
Okay, not technically a secret, but Wickham Festival is still massively underrated in our opinion. Past line-ups for this four-day, family-friendly event have included The Proclaimers, KT Tunstall, Billy Bragg and James Blunt, and Van Morrison is due to headline in 2021.
It’s an easy drive to Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester (around 15 minutes for the first, and half an hour for the latter two), and those heading into London can then catch a train from Petersfield, Southampton Airport Parkway and Winchester. It’ll take well over two hours whichever you choose, so not for the regular commuter.
View the full Top 200 Places to Live