Historical haven

Famed for its silk mill and the renowned Red House restaurant, Whitchurch is well worth spending the afternoon visiting

The quaint country town of Whitchurch is situated alongside the upper reaches of the River Test and, much like its neighbouring hamlets, is nestled among chalk hills and tranquil countryside. Despite being small in comparison to other nearby towns, Whitchurch is a constant hive of activity with its smart boutiques, weekly markets and regular festivals.

Most noted forHaving the only working silk mill in the whole of the county, Whitchurch Silk Mill was built on the River Test in 1880 and still produces high quality silk for theatre performances, interior designers and historic houses. The mill is open to the public on Tuesday through to Sunday all year round except for a week over Christmas. Visit www.whitchurchsilkmill.org.uk or Tel. 01256 892065.

Don’t missThe many festivals and events held in Whitchurch throughout the year by the Whitchurch Festival Team to raise funds for local good causes and charities. Visit www.whitchurchfestival.org.uk for more information and dates.

Stop forWhitchurch’s traditional Country Market held every Friday morning at the Gill Nethercott centre, sample local produce, cakes, arts and crafts and generally get to know the locals over a nice cup of tea.

Prehistoric linksEvidence suggests that the town of Whitchurch could date back to the Romans after a coin minted in the reign of Tacitus Marcus Claudius, Emperor of Rome AD275 was found in the area in 1891.The name is thought to have derived from the Saxon church built in the parish in the year 1000 and as it was the only church to be built in stone within the area, the name ‘White Church’ or Whitchurch would have been recognised. Much of the town’s architecture seen today is made from the stone ruins of Bolebec Castle built around the time of William the Conquer and destroyed in 1657 by Oliver Cromwell’s army after the civil war. The site of the Castle is still visible near to the town at Moat Hill.

Stay atThe White Hart, Whitchurch 01256 892900.Why? Step back in time in this historical coaching inn that once would have been ideally positioned on the crossroads between Oxford and Winchester and London to Exeter.

Eat atThe Red House, Whitchurch 01256 895558.Why? Recently featured on BBC2, The Red House is full of antiques and has a warm and relaxed atmosphere. The food is made from locally sourced produce and the menu is constantly changing to make full use of the county’s seasonal offerings.

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