Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > England > South East England > Hampshire > Eastleigh
Eastleigh is a town in the south of England that sits between Winchester and Southampton. The town has a long history associated with the railways, being the site of a large railway works that at one time was the major employer in the area.
The Borough of Eastleigh contains many small villages and hamlets, with Chandler's Ford to the north, Bishopstoke, Fair Oak and Horton Heath to the east.
Perhaps the best-known piece of history associated with Eastleigh is that it is the home of the Spitfire (WWII fighter plane, designed by R.J.Mitchell). The aircraft was built, designed and first flown from what is now Southampton Airport (which actually resides in Eastleigh). Interesting trivia: Southampton Airport was claimed to have been sunk by the German Air Force during the Second World War! During its military service, it was known as HMS Raven, and this name was announced by the German propaganda machine as a successfully sunk ship of the British Navy!
The town also boasts a link to one of the UK's best known comics, Benny Hill. Indeed it was his work as a milkman in the town that spawned his well known "Ernie - the fastest milkman in the west" tune. The cartoon character - 'Jane' and musician -'Heinz' are both connected with the borough.
In the last 20–30 years, it has become a bit of a dormitory town, in that it has become home to many people who live here, but work elsewhere. This is mainly due to the good transport links of the M3 and M27 motorways and Southampton Airport - with direct flights to much of the UK and many points within Europe.
In 2006, Eastleigh was named as the ninth best place to live in the UK by the Channel 4 television programme 'The Best and Worst Places to Live 2006'. The abundance of jobs and the excellent transport links were named as some of the primary reasons for this award. Nearby Winchester was named the best place to live in the UK by the same programme.
- Bishopstoke is just one of the many small villages and hamlets in the borough of Eastleigh in Hampshire, England.
It has a history which stretches back to Anglo-Saxon times. It is featured in Domesday Book and has long links with Winchester Cathedral and its bishops. King John signed charters here during his visits in 1205 and 1207. William Gilbert, the novelist father of W.S.Gilbert, is stated to have been born here in 1804. During the reign of Queen Victoria Dean Garnier's garden is said to have rivalled that at Chiswick. In the early 1940s Benny Hill's milk round served part of the village.
Bordering the River Itchen with a unique riverside frontage, the Angler's public house & restaurant is a favourite stopping off point for ramblers using the Itchen Way.
- Chandler's Ford has a long history associated with the railways, being the site of a large railway works that at one time was the major employer in the area. The population of Chandlers Ford is now over 20,000 and still growing.
Local rail connections to nearby towns are described at Three Rivers Rail Frequent rail services to Eastleigh station from Southampton, Winchester, Portsmouth, Basingstoke & London.
Fast services from Bournemouth/Poole, the Midlands, Scotland & London are available to Southampton Parkway station to the south.
Chandler's Ford Station is on the main line between Weymouth and London. A service to London runs between half an hour to an hour. A train that runs from Romsey to Totton, which also stops at Eastleigh, Southampton Airport Parkway and Southampton Central, stops at the station.
- Galaxy Cars, ☎ . local taxis in eastleigh Private Hire Service
Southampton Airport, just to the south of the town, has regular services to most major European cities, the Channel Islands, a number of UK airports, and during the summer months also has flights to the more common British holiday destinations of the Spanish Costas.
Eastleigh is also the end point of the M3 connecting the South Coast via the M27 with the rest of the country's motorway network.
Travel times (approximately)
- London (1.5 hours)
- Birmingham (2.5 hours)
Eastleigh town centre is very small and can easily be travelled on foot. It takes less than ten minutes to traverse. Eastleigh does have a large residential sprawl a-joined in the North and West known as Boyatt Wood. There are regular buses and travel time on foot to the opposite end of Boyatt Wood is only 25 minutes.
Bishopstoke is a one mile walk along Bishopstoke Road or a short taxi ride. Alternatively catch a bus from the bus station in the town centre to "The Mill" stop which is at the centre of the village and close to Riverside and the river Itchen.
- 1 Eastleigh Museum, High Street, ☎ . open Tuesday-Saturday. has files covering Bishopstoke's long history. Light refreshments are available & special exhibitions are staged on a regular basis
- The site of the old parish church, at the lower end of Church Road, Bishopstoke. is where John "Billious" Bale medieval rector, writer & playwright preached his infamous sermons. Samuel Sewall, a judge in the Salem Witch Trials was baptised here.
- 1 Lakeside Country Park, Wide Ln,, ☎ . is an area of land left behind by the gravel extraction for the M27. The three large holes are now flooded and provide a very pleasant green belt between Southampton and Eastleigh. Fishing, Walking and bird watching are all possible at the site, as well as a miniature railway that runs during School holidays.
- Vue Cinemas, Swan Centre. 9-screen cinema
- Hollywood Bowl Eastleigh, Swan Centre. a 20 lane bowling alley, run by AMF
- Itchen Way. Ramblers can use to reach other locations along the valley of the river Itchen including Allbrook (home of Mary Beale, the artist, during the late 1660s) Brambridge (home of Maria Fitzherbert in the mid 1700s), Shawford, St Cross & Winchester.
- 2 The Point (Arts centre), Leigh Road (not far from Eastleigh town centre), ☎ . provides a variety of stage and film productions throughout the year.
- 3 Itchen Valley Country Park, Allington Ln, West End, Southampton (approx. 2 miles south of Bishopstoke, can be accessed by car via Allington Lane, Fair Oak to the east of the village or walkers may use the Itchen Way which adjoins the western edge of the village.).
- Bishopstoke Players, Memorial Hall. If your visit coincides with the staging of a performance by the talented Bishopstoke Players and you book early enough, you are in for a treat.
- Hiltingbury Lakes. about seventeen acres of water, woodland and wildlife. Here you can enjoy walking, fishing or just watching the wildlife.
The town centre consists of two streets (High Street and Market Street) and one shopping centre called "The Swan Centre" which sits at the end of the two. Many national chains are represented as well as independent shops. The main supermarket in the town centre is Tesco, which is attached to the Swan Centre. There is also a Sainsbury's, but there is a giant Asda 'Hypermarket' in nearby Chandlers' Ford which has recently undergone refurbishment, as well as an out of town retail park alongside the M27 near Hedge End. There is also a market in the town centre twice a week.
Most tastes are catered for in Eastleigh. In the town centre, Ghandi's and The Great Moghul are very well respected Indian restaurants. The Peking Phoenix is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the area. There is also an Italian restaurant and Nashaa's, as well as cafés, sandwich shops, and the usual array of chain outlets including KFC, and McDonalds and various take aways. There is no Burger King or Subway in Eastleigh town centre, but there has been unconfirmed rumours that they have bought plots in the new development of the Swan Centre, along with Nando's and Frankie and Benny's. Most pubs in the town centre also have food menus. Pizza Hut has now closed, but there's still a Domino's Pizza.
There is an array of Chinese takeaways, Indian takeaways and fish and chip shops in Chandler's Ford.
- 1 The Angler's Inn, 17 Riverside, Bishopstoke, ☎ . Parking available.
- The River Inn, Bishopstoke. Parking available
- 2 The Welcome Inn, 154 Fair Oak Rd,. Parking available.
There are many pubs in the Town Centre catering for all tastes. There was a night club - Earth - which has now been closed and pulled down and is currently being turned into housing. Pubs in the Town Centre include The Wagon Works (Formerly The Tavern), Stones and The Litten Tree. The Good Companions, The Grantham, The Chamberlayne Arms, are all within walking distance.
If alcohol is not for you, there is Costa Coffee in High Street or Boswells within the Swan Centre. Also, a Shakeaway opened in August 2008.
- 1 Holiday Inn Southampton-Eastleigh, Leigh Rd (M3,jct13), ☎ .
- 2 Premier Travel Inn, 117-119 Leigh Rd, ☎ .
- Southampton five miles to the south has several cinemas and theatres.