Hampshire’s friendliest market town, Alton is a delightful and welcoming place and the ideal base for exploring. The surrounding area, home to Jane Austen, is renowned for its tranquil and unspoilt beauty. You can vist Jane Austen's House and the Chawton House Library at nearby Chawton and walk in Jane's footsteps on self-guided walks.
A thriving country market town, with a fascinating history, Alton was built around a wealthy Saxon settlement and had the most valuable recorded market in the Doomsday Book. Discover some of the history on a guided walk of the town starting from the Market Square or the rail station.
Saxon discoveries, including the famous Alton Buckle, are among the artefacts displayed in the Curtis Museum. The 11th-Century St Lawrence Church was the scene of the civil war ‘Battle of Alton’ and still bears the scars. At one time the town was notorious for the brutal murder of ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’. Today a delightful mix of historic buildings jostle with modern shops and arcades. Tuesday is market day, and the town hosts many markets and fairs throughout the year.
The Watercress Line steam railway goes from Alton, trundling through beautiful countyside through the village of Ropley and on to Alresford. The village of Selborne was home to Gilbert White, and you can visit the Gilbert White's House & the Oates Collection or walk up Selborne Hanger for amazing views over this part of the South Downs.
At Lasham Airfield, nearby, gliding competitions take place and gliding lessons are possible, or experience a peaceful flight above breathtakingly beautiful countryside. Further afield, Milestones, Hampshire's Living History Museum (in Basingstoke) brings the past to life.
Long distance footpaths and other rights of way offer many opportunities for walking and cycling.
With a variety of places to stay, Alton is perfect for short breaks, a centre for exploring the literary and cultural heritage of this part of Hampshire.
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