01/09/2007
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Solent Secrets

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VISIT: Tudor House


Built in 1495, Southampton’s Tudor House in Bugle Street is in the middle of a massive restoration project. It’s owned by Southampton City Council and is the subject of a fund-raising programme to finance the restoration.

Alterations and strangely incongruous updates down the years have left Tudor House with a hotch-potch of styles, conflicting and interwoven in this web of architectural history. There’s a Baltic oak ceiling in one room; one wing is of Georgian style, with expansive windows, floor to ceiling – this is evidence of work carried out while the house was in the ownership of artist George Rogers whose paintings sell for £2-3 million; another room has William Morris wallpaper...

Although Tudor House is gulfs apart from anything pristine, that is the fascination here. In parts a state of disintegration is obvious; the restoration project now under way is gargantuan.Worth a visit now – and also in a few years’ time when transformation will be complete.

While you’re here, take a peep into the garden, designed on Tudor lines, with arbors, herbs and a central knot garden – interlaced herbs planted in hedge formations. On the day of our visit a couple of artists were busy recording its prettiness on canvas.

Entry is free; the fascination immense.

WALK ALONG: West Wittering Beach


Even if your tour of this corner of southern England is fast running out of time, make the effort to visit West Wittering beach, just along the coast to the east.

It’s a vast open playground – families come here to play cricket and rounders, fly kites, play ball, walk dogs, barbecue – or just relax in the sun. Its lure is a long curving beach with white sand and beautiful views. On the other side of a wind-break hedge is the green sward that is the weekend playground of local families – we suspect this is a beach yet to be discovered by tourists, a peaceful delight with farmland and coastal views. A magical discovery and a highnote on which to end your tour.

STAY AT: Hill Farm Caravan Park


Four miles north west of Romsey and ideal for a Southampton-Portsmouth visit is a touring park with the best of both worlds. It is a park catering for families – and also with an adults-only area of pitches, secluded and quite separate from activity areas. The log-cabin-style toilet buildings contain fully-tiled shower and toilet facilities that are immaculately kept. The exterior covered washing-up area is equipped with free-standing tables and draining racks – again, spotless in cleanliness. There’s a nine-hole pitch-and-put course and an activity area equipped with giant trampoline, practice football goal and volley-ball net.

Info: Hill Farm Caravan Park
Address Branches Lane, Sherfield English
Romsey, Hampshire SO51 6F
Telephone 01794 340402
Email [email protected]
Website www.hillfarmpark.com
Facilities Bakery, take-away, shop, motorhome service point, washing-up area, two toilet buildings

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