Alton – Hampshire: A Market Town Near The South Coast

Alton – Hampshire is a market town situated in southern England. Although its position is inland it is a mere 30 miles from the nearest coast. The town is administered by the East Hampshire district council and was built around a settlement which dates back to Saxon times.

These days Alton combines the old with the new, with a wealth of historic buildings and those added more recently. In the local Curtis Museum, visitors will find comprehensive exhibitions on the history of Alton and has some really interesting historical finds like an Anglo Saxon buckle and a Roman Cup. The nearby Allen Gallery is also worth a visit with its various ceramic collections.

The town is in a beautiful location and within easy reach of the South Downs National Park and other areas of open countryside. There are abundant walking trails with itineraries of varying lengths, taking in many different landscapes. The area also has a wealth of interesting flora and fauna, and is a great location for wildlife enthusiasts.

The village of Chawton, where English novelist Jane Austen once lived is located just a short distance away to the south of the town. Visitors to the village can visit the former home of Jane Austen, a 17th century house where she lived between 1809 and 1817. Items on display include copies of some of her letters, other documents and period furniture. Visitors can also follow one of the literary walks itineraries available on the Jane Austen Trail around the village and further a field, taking in all the sites which have connections with the author.

The old and new aspects of Alton are also present in the local railway network. Direct trains run to London Waterloo and a restored steam train line is also in operation in the town, The Watercress Line. The line connects Alton to Alresford and there are different themed journeys to choose from. A popular one is the Real Ale Train where travelers can enjoy local beers during their journey.

Alton has been a market town since at least 1232. In those days the market was held on Saturdays and today it is held on Tuesdays. The Hampshire Farmers Market also comes to town once a month and stallholders sell a selection of goods including locally made preserves and breads as well as fruit and vegetables.

Alton – Hampshire has a pretty full events calendar, particularly during the summer months. In June, Alton and Chawton jointly host the Jane Austen Regency Week, with readings, plays and concerts among other activities. Events held in July include The Alton Show, Food Festival and the Bus Rally.

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