Andover is a market town of 50,000 people (2020) in Hampshire. It is well-known as the location of an important Royal Air Force base. Surrounding Andover is the Hants portion of the North Wessex Downs, which includes interesting small towns such as Whitchurch.
The town's largest employer is the Ministry of Defence. RAF Andover was opened on Andover Airfield, to the south of the town, during the First World War and became the site of the RAF Staff College.
Andover is on the major A303 trunk road at the eastern end of Salisbury Plain, 18 miles (30 km) west of Basingstoke. It is 20 miles (32 km) NNW of Winchester, 35 miles (56 km) north of Southampton and 65 miles (105 km) WSW of London.
The M4 motorway, to the north, can be reached by way of the A34 trunk road, which continues to Birmingham; or via Marlborough, Wiltshire.
1 Andover station is on the London Waterloo to Exeter line. Trains arrive from Salisbury, Yeovil Junction, Exeter St Davids, Basingstoke and London Waterloo (with a usual intermittent stop of Woking) and some stopping services to places such as Whitchurch.
- 1 Andover Museum and Museum of the Iron Age, 6 Church Close, SP10 1DP, ☏ , email@example.com. W-Su, bank holiday 10AM-4PM. Built as a smart townhouse in the 18th century, converted to a school in the 19th, and made a museum in the 1980s, covering local history from the Neolithic until the modern age. Highlights include an exhibition on the Weyhill agricultural fair diorama depicting the town's infamous Victorian workhouse. Also in the grade II-listed building, the Museum of the Iron Age, which houses the finds from excavations at nearby Danebury hillfort. Hands-on activities for kids and the obligatory café are included. Free.
- 2 Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort (7 mi (11 km) S of Andover: take A343 to Kentsboro, then follow brown sign L down unnamed road for 1 3/4 mi (2.8 km). Free parking on R.), ☏ (Hampshire Countryside Service), firstname.lastname@example.org. 24 hours daily, though the car park may close at dusk. 2500-year old hillfort, ringed by mature beech trees and butterfly-rich grassland. You can explore the earthworks yourself with the aid of information boards scattered around the site, or download the family-friendly story trail. As one of the most-studied Celtic hillforts in Europe, there's a wealth of information available about life in this agricultural and defensive settlement. The path up to the fort is short but a little steep and the site itself is undulating with some uneven paths and wooden steps. Free.
- 3 Army Flying Museum, Middle Wallop, Stockbridge, SO20 8FB (on A343, 6 mi (9.7 km) SW of Andover), ☏ , email@example.com. Daily 10AM-4:30PM/5:30PM (Jul-Aug). The official regimental museum of the Army Air Corps (AAC) and its predecessors. The aircraft collection includes military gliders, famous British army helicopters such as the Gazelle, Lynx and Scout, and an American-built "Huey" captured from Argentina in the Falklands War. The information can be somewhat dry, but there are also hourly audio-visual shows and flight simulators to keep you entertained. Onsite café and picnic area with playset. Fully wheelchair accessible. Adults £14, children aged 5-15 £8, concessions £10. Children under 5, carers, military personnel, and AAC veterans free. Booking essential.
- 4 Hawk Conservancy Trust.
- 5 Longstock Water Garden.
- 6 Ludgerhall Castle and Cross.
- 7 Whitchurch Silk Mill, Winchester Street, Whitchurch, RG28 7AL, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su, bank holidays 10:30AM-5PM. Grade II*-listed 19th-century watermill on tiny Frog Island in the River Test. See the original mill wheel, creel and looms, explore the gardens and follow the Frog Island nature trail. Not just a museum, the mill still weaves silk in the traditional way for the luxury market and also sells silken items (ties, scarves, brooches, purses, pillows...) in their shop. Special mention for the on-site café, which serves local delicacies such as smoked trout and honey roasted ham on its small selection of sandwiches, toasties and cream teas. Adult £8, child £4, concession £7.
Andover and around
- The Lights arts and entertainment venue hosts professional artists throughout the year.
- 1 Finkley Down Farm, Finkley Down Farm Park, North Way, SP11 6NF, ☏ , email@example.com. Daily 10AM-5:30PM, booking essential. Meet, feed and handle the residents of Piggy Penthouse, Meerkat Mansion, Cluckingham Palace, and many more domesticated and wild farmyard animals. The "farm" has lots of activities for toddlers and kids up to pre-teen, from tractor go-karting, to crazy golf, trampolines, and indoor and outdoor play areas. In the summer, additional birds of prey displays and goat racing take place. On-site picnic area and café. Adult £13, child aged 2-16 £11, aged 1 £5, under 1 free, disabled visitor and carer £11. Animal feed pot £1.50. Cash not accepted.
- 2 Rooksbury Mill Local Nature Reserve, Barlows Lane, SP10 2HA (This address and postcode are for parking, although you can walk for 1 mi (1.6 km) along a 1 footpath from the big roundabout by Sainsbury's and the Odeon), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily dawn-dusk. Green Flag nature reserve covering former mill ponds, their feeder channels and surrounding chalk grassland and woodland. Rooksbury Mill, first recorded in the 17th century, functioned as a flour mill until the early 20th century, and now a private residence. The reserve is good for short walks and for communing with nature. It's also possible to fish here, though getting a licence is a little complicated for visitors compared to commercial fisheries in the area (see below). Free.
Distillery and winery tours
- 8 Bombay Sapphire Distillery (Laverstoke Mill), London Road, Whitchurch, RG28 7NR (In the hamlet of Laverstoke, 2 mi (3.2 km) E of Whitchurch), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-6PM, F-Su 10AM-8PM; last entry 2 hr before closing. Email via online contact form. Gin distillery housed in an 18th-century paper mill. The tour takes you around the distilling chamber, botanicals glasshouses, and the dry room where the gin is infused with aromatic vapours. You can also learn to create two cocktails in a mixology masterclass with one of the experts. The tour is somewhat corporatised, mostly ignoring the site's prior history, but on the plus side everything about the visit, from the displays of electric blue bottles, to Thomas Heatherwick's glasshouses, to the cocktails you sample at the end, is highly instagrammable. Guided tour + one cocktail (2 hr) £17.50 pp, concessions £15.75; tour + cocktail masterclass + two cocktails (3.5 hr, over-18s only) £45 pp; both include a cocktail at the end. Booking required.
- 9 Black Chalk Vineyard, The Old Dairy, Fullerton Road, Cottonworth, SP11 7JX (5 mi (8.0 km) S of Andover on A3057), ☏ , email@example.com. Public tours Th-Su, by reservation. Private tours M Tu Th.. Small-batch producer of white and rosé sparkling wines, whose flavours are influenced by the Hampshire chalkland terroir. Although the company only launched in 2015, both of their creations are already picking up international awards. The winery offers guided tours of the vineyard, followed by tastings and the option of lunch. Not wheelchair accessible. Public tour and tasting £20 pp. Public tour, tasting and lunch £32 pp. Private tour, tasting and lunch £50 pp. Wine £19-£40 per bottle. Cash not accepted.
Walk and cycle
- Mill Trail - a circular walk of up to seven miles partly along the Test.
- Walk or cycle to Watership Down
- Walk around Longparish
- Wallop Wheels and Wings, Army Flying Museum, Middle Wallop, Stockbridge, SO20 8FB. First Saturday of July, annually. Car, motorbike and vintage aircraft show, with displays and flypasts. Music and drinks throughout the day, and a grand finale of hot air balloons taking off.
- The café at Whitchurch Silk Mill is a great choice for locally-sourced light bites.
- 2 Crown Inn, Upton SP11 0JS, ☏ . W-F 12:00-23:00, Sa 10:00-23:00, Su 12:00-22:00. This country restaurant gets great reviews.
- 1 Esseborne Manor, Hurstbourne Tarrant, Andover, Hampshire, SP11 0ER, ☏ . Located between Andover and Newbury, once referred to as being 'invitingly snug', this family-run Victorian country house hotel is small, unpretentious, yet stylish.
- 2 Star and Garter, 2 High St, SP10 1PB. 35 room hotel in a building dating from 1770.
|Routes through Andover|
|Exeter St. David's ← Salisbury ←||W E||→ Basingstoke → London Waterloo|
|Exeter ← Stonehenge ←||W E||→ Basingstoke → London|