Looking out over a field of green crops in the Hampshire countryside

Looking out over a field of green crops in the Hampshire countryside ()

Nestled along the valley of the crystal-clear waters of the River Test, just a short distance from London lies quaint and historic Whitchurch, Hampshire. Home to literary legends, unique shops, breathtaking views and scenic trails, this little enclave is bursting with day trip opportunities.

A stop in a pub is an essential aspect of visiting the villages and hamlets of England, and fortunately, the Whitchurch area happens to host a few spectacular ones. Just a short walk from Bombay Sapphire and down the road from the Whitchurch Silk Mill is the Watership Down Inn and its namesake trail. Richard Adams’ 1978 adventure novel, “Watership Down” brought to life a band of rabbits in search of a new home, encountering danger and adventure along the way.

Adams lived in Whitchurch and the actual warrens and trails that inspired the author may be found along today’s Watership Down trail, a 24-mile circular walking path. Crossing ancient woodlands, chalked ridges and bubbling streams, the trail marks locations pivotal to the novel’s storyline such as the Nuthangar Farm and the crossing at which the rabbits made their way to safety on their raft. If you were a child of the late 70’s and 80’s who had the unfortunate experience of seeing this story play out in the 1978 animated film, don’t worry. The novel and the real life setting are far more peaceful and charming!

The delightful country inn and 19th-century pub offers delicious lunch and dinner throughout the week. With warm rustic tables and chairs adorned with fluffy fleece and rabbit print pillows, it’s a great spot for an afternoon lunch date. The menu is varied and delicious. The hamburgers are massive, complete with a double patty, and if you are looking for a recommendation, the pie of the day is always a good choice (the venison option is particularly lovely). If you have just come from a visit to the Bombay Sapphire Gin distillery and are feeling like a switch from gin, the pub has a great selection of local ales, ciders, and wines to complement your meal. Feel like extending your stay? Seven en-suite rooms, all named for characters of the novel provide cozy and quaint accommodations. They are also pet-friendly!

If you find yourself in need of a bit of quiet and the crowds of London have left you desiring the picturesque countryside, a day out in Whitchurch and its surrounding areas just might be the tranquility you seek. Accessible via direct train from London’s Waterloo station or by car via the M3, M4, A34, and A303, the area’s attractions make for lovely stops on the way to Bath, Winchester, the New Forest, or the coast.

author picture
Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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