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Romsey is a picturesque market town of about 15,000 people (2011) in the Test Valley district of Hampshire, England. It sits on the outskirts of the New Forest, just over 3 miles (4.8 km) northeast of its eastern edge. It lies on the River Test, which is known for fly fishing, predominantly trout.


Corn Exchange

Romsey was described by The Guardian newspaper as 'resoundingly, timelessly English' in 2014, remarking on the town's representation of bourgeois provincial life. It is popular among retirees.

Romsey Abbey, the largest parish church in Hampshire, dominates the centre of the town. Other notable buildings include a 13th-century hunting lodge, an 18th-century coaching inn and the 19th-century corn exchange.

Romsey was home to the 17th-century philosopher and economist William Petty and the 19th-century British prime minister, Lord Palmerston, whose statue has stood in the town centre since 1857. The town was also home to the 20th-century naval officer and statesman Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who lived at Broadlands.

Get in


By car


Romsey has very good road links to other parts of the country. The M3 motorway from London and the A34 dual carriageway from the Midlands and the North converge at Winchester. Take the A3090 from Winchester (M3 junction 11) to Romsey. The M27 runs westwards towards the New Forest and Bournemouth, and eastwards towards Portsmouth and Brighton. Junctions 2 and 3 of the M27 are close to Romsey. The A3057 runs north from Romsey to Andover and south to Southampton. The A27 runs north west towards Salisbury. From Bristol and South Wales it is usually quicker to travel via the M4 and A34 than the shorter but much slower A36. Likewise from the South West of England, the route via the A303, B3089, Salisbury and the A27 is often quicker than the A35 and A31.

Parking in Romsey can be difficult on Saturdays, but not any more so than at other market towns. Parking is free after 4PM each day.

By train


1 Romsey railway station (a 5 minute level walk from the town centre). On the route from Portsmouth to Cardiff via Southampton, Salisbury, Bath and Bristol, and direct trains run by First Great Western link Romsey to these places (and some other smaller places along the route) hourly, seven days a week. Occasional through trains also operate, several times daily, to Gloucester, Worcester and Great Malvern, and also along the coast to Chichester and Brighton. Romsey railway station (Q1872195) on Wikidata Romsey railway station on Wikipedia

Local stopping services operated by South West Trains also serve Romsey frequently throughout the day and evening, providing additional journeys to Southampton and Salisbury and also link Romsey to Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Southampton Airport, various suburban stations in Southampton, and the nearby villages of Mottisfont & Dunbridge and Dean.

Trains from London, the Midlands and the North do not operate directly to Romsey. Change trains at Southampton Central or Southampton Airport Parkway stations, or take the bus to Romsey from Winchester station.

From the South West of England, change trains at Westbury or Salisbury.

From Bournemouth change at Southampton Central.

A useful tip when travelling from Southampton Central to Romsey is to take a train whose final destination is shown as Salisbury, Bristol or Cardiff. These reach Romsey much more quickly than those whose final destination is shown as Romsey, but which travel by a more circuitous route.

By bus


Buses from Winchester (operated by Stagecoach South), Eastleigh (by Wilts & Dorset) and Southampton (by Bluestar) run frequently and stop centrally in the town. Buses from Salisbury run less frequently. Limited services are also available from some nearby villages.

From Eastleigh, Southampton, and Salisbury the train is generally faster, cheaper and more frequent than the equivalent bus routes.

By plane


The nearest airport is Southampton Airport (SOU IATA), about 10 miles (16 km) away in Eastleigh, with flights to domestic and European destinations. Southampton Airport Parkway railway station is next to the airport terminal - trains run directly to Romsey twice an hour.

From Heathrow (LHR IATA) take the railair coach service to Woking station, then take a train to Winchester, Southampton Airport or Southampton Central for connections to Romsey.

From Gatwick (LGW IATA) take a direct train to Southampton Central, and change there for a train to Romsey.

Get around

  • The small and pleasant town centre is easily covered on foot.
  • Walking around will occupy a pleasant, easygoing half day. A few villages on the outskirts offer (mostly) real old fashioned English pub atmospheres, where a morning walk and a pub lunch plus pints make for a very agreeable start to a weekend. Ampfield and Braishfield are two such villages accessible by local bus (leaving from the bus station to the rear of the high street, adjacent to Bradbeer's) and there is a village to the Northwest that's on the train route direct. Stopping at Mottisfont and Dunbridge there is a pub by the name of the Mill Arms quite literally opposite the platform, which is full of atmosphere, and where on Christmas Day you can turn up and get your first pint of the day for free!


  • 1 Romsey Abbey. Romsey Abbey (Q6137344) on Wikidata Romsey Abbey on Wikipedia
  • 2 King John's House & Tudor Cottage.
  • 3 Broadlands. The estate of Lord Mountbatten is open to the public at different times throughout the week/year and more interestingly hosts concerts from, usually, popular music stars, like Earth, Wind & Fire, Phil Collins, Madness etc. When sunny, the estate is fantastic. It has a vast series of almost open fields, with stands of ancient trees and red deer roaming more or less freely. As a venue for an open-air concert it is about as good as they come. Broadlands (Q922620) on Wikidata Broadlands on Wikipedia
  • Walking tour of poetic quips and quotes. Plenty of towns in England have these nowadays, the Romsey version takes you on a particularly scenic meander along the banks of the Test a short way and through the town's modestly interesting historic streets, Bell street and parts of the High street especially still look and feel suitably ancient. Streets around the back of the Abbey are also on the route and they, with the abbey, lend a genuinely impressive air.

Further afield


A free minibus service links the town centre, and Romsey and Mottisfont & Dunbridge railway stations, to these attractions on summer Sundays and Bank Holidays.

  • 4 Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyns Lane, Ampfield, SO51 0QA. Daily, Apr–Oct: 10AM–6PM; Nov–Mar 10AM–5PM. Last entry 1 hour before closing. A garden and arboretum known for hosting over 40,000 trees and shrubs, including oaks, camelliae, magnoliae and rhododendrons. Particularly celebrated for its large winter garden, where conifers, dogwoods and grasses compete for attention. Adult £10.40, concession £9.50, child (5–16 years) £2.40, under 5 years free. Sir Harold Hillier Gardens (Q7527037) on Wikidata Sir Harold Hillier Gardens on Wikipedia
  • 5 Mottisfont, near Romsey, SO51 0LP (5 miles north of Romsey), +44 1794 340757, . A former monastery and stately home that in summer shows off its rose gardens in a gorgeous rural setting. Mottisfont Abbey (Q2731378) on Wikidata Mottisfont Abbey on Wikipedia


  • 1 Romsey Rapids Sports Complex (Romsey Rapids), Southampton Rd, Romsey SO51 8AF, +44 1794 835550. Swim at the Romsey Rapids.
  • 2 Plaza Theatre, 40 Winchester Rd, Romsey SO51 8JA, +44 1794 523054. A dozen or more plays a year show here courtesy of the local theatre group, RAODS. Energetic performances from a cast of surprisingly talented amateur dramatists that generally sell out; a wide variety of playwrights are represented too.
  • Fish the River Test, one of the most renowned trout rivers in the world. You will, however, need to obtain a permit beforehand.
  • Drink in one of the famously numerous pubs; in the 16th to 18th centuries Romsey held the record from the most pubs per square mile, around 18 per sq mile, which were all supported by a population of 4000 including children. Whilst the number of pubs has gone down, the population has gone up so one might find that the pubs are a bit cramped at times. The number of pubs has gone down and the population up, but there are still some highly venerable pubs in the area, and places like the Duke's Head a few hundred metres North of the town proper which has been the site of an ale house since the 11th century.
  • 3 Paultons Park, Ower, Romsey SO51 6AL. 10AM-5:30PM daily. Amusement park including Peppa Pig World. Paultons Park (Q3372842) on Wikidata Paultons Park on Wikipedia



Walk down the high street to experience high streets like they were in pre-recession Britain.

  • 1 Bradbeers, 14–20 Bell St, SO51 8ZE, +44 1794 515555. M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM, Su closed. Romsey's own department store. Bradbeers (Q4954399) on Wikidata Bradbeers on Wikipedia

There is also a market every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Most stalls are in The Cornmarket, but some are moved to Market Place because of social distancing.



There are many places to eat in Romsey ranging from cafés to pubs to restaurants. Some places that serve food are:



The multitude of pubs and cafés in Romsey mean that you won't need to walk very far to find a new one. Examples of good cafés are Caffé Nero, Asante, Miss Moody's tearoom and Bradbeers's cafés.



There is one hotel in Romsey and many bed and breakfasts.

  • 1 White Horse. hotel dating from around 1500, which does not have onsite parking. Restaurant has mains from £15 to £30.

However, there are more hotels slightly further afield, such as:

  • 2 Best Western Chilworth Manor Hotel, Chilworth, Southampton SO16 7PT, +44 2380 767333. Edwardian manor house with 12 acres of grounds.
  • 3 Ha'penny Acre B&B, Branches Ln, Sherfield English, Romsey SO51 6FH, +44 1794 341119. A family-run B&B near Mottisfont Abbey and Gardens.
  • 4 The Potter's Heron, Ampfield, SO51 9ZF (4½ mi (7.4 km) E of Romsey, via A3090), +44 23 8027 7800. Email via online contact form. Beautiful whitewashed thatched hotel and restaurant. Rooms have Hypnos beds, free Wi-Fi and a balcony or terrace. Dogs welcome (£20 per night). Rooms from £72/night. Half-board from £110/night.

Go next

  • The New Forest National Park, with its extensive woodlands and heathlands, picturesque villages, and freely roaming livestock, is located a short drive west from the town.

This city travel guide to Romsey is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.