Things to do in Hambledon and facts you might not know

Illustration by Lucy Atkinson

Illustration by Lucy Atkinson - Credit: Archant

The village of Hambledon is on the ball when it comes to sparkling wine and soft drinks

A Look Back In Time

History began for Hambledown during the Bronze Age. By 100 AD, however, the Romans had moved in, establishing a villa at Bury Lodge. The first mention is in a charter by King Edgar dated 956, granting land at Chidden, and the village’s Saxon church and medieval buildings bear witness to its success as a settlement. It grew with the granting of the right to hold a weekly market and prospered until visitors began going to Portsmouth instead.

What’s Going On

Well cricket, obviously – currently the Hambledon Cricket Club fields three XIs and three Colts sides. There are senior team home fixtures for every Saturday afternoon from April through to September. Tennis is popular, too, with a public court situated just behind the Church. It is a free facility for all villagers, with racquets supplied too. Film Night is held on the first Sunday of the month and there is a Folk Club as well as a programme of walks.

Making a Toast

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In 1951, Major General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones, decided to plant a vineyard on a field at Hambledon’s Mill Down House. Advised by Pol Roger Champagne house, he then single-handedly started the British wine industry. The estate was revived by Ian Kellett in 1999, and with more assistance from Pol Roger launched a suite of sparkling wines. Hambledon is now acknowledged as Britain’s oldest commercial vineyard.

Food and Drink

If you’re looking for a quiet drink or something to eat then The Bat and Ball inn at Hyden Farm Lane is an ideal pub for all the family. There is a large restaurant to the rear of the building, with a wide and comprehensive menu. The Vine in West Street has a programme of live music, as well as Burger Nights and Fizzy Fridays, and The Old Forge Tea Rooms sells everything from jacket potatoes to cream teas.

Secret Royal Visit No.1

In October 1651 villagers may have thought they recognised the dark-haired man who was being spirited into the house of Ursula Symons who lived on West Street. And they’d be right. Prince Charles Stuart, later King Charles II, was offered a night’s stay, as he escaped abroad from defeat by Roundhead forces at the Battle of Worcester. He managed to flee to safety and the now-named King’s Rest house still stands.

Secret Royal Bisit No.2

Nearly 300 years after Hambledon received its first royal visitor another arrived, just as clandestinely. It was May 1944 and the area around Hambledon was rammed with troops and military hardware awaiting the signal for D-Day. On May 22 King George VI arrived to review those troops. His trip was meant to be a closely-guarded secret but word got round and His Majesty was greeted by enthusiastic villagers.

The Murderstone

Take a turn about Claire’s Copse to the west of the village and you’ll soon discover why it’s often referred to as Headstone Copse. A small stone – now Grade II listed - marks the location of a terrible crime. In August 1782 labourer James Stares, collected some cash he was owed and was joined on his walk home by a young blacksmith, John Taylor. The next day Stares’ battered and bloody corpse was discovered and Taylor’s mother identified a bloodied smock as that of her son. Although he never admitted guilt, Taylor was tried and hanged and the Stares family erected what has been known ever since as The Murderstone.

The Big Pipe

It cost £4.3 million and you can’t even see it. But The Big Pipe is set to become a beloved feature of Hambledon village as it is very much hoped this feat of engineering, designed to redirect the flood water, will help the village avoid the prolonged flooding and misery it experienced in the winter of 2013-2014 when more than 100 homes were flooded or threatened with flooding for three long months.


The thwack of leather on willow has been heard at Hambledon since the 1750s when the Hambledon Club was formed, leading to this village becoming known worldwide as ‘The Cradle of Cricket’, after it formalised the game’s laws. In 1777 they beat an All-England team by a whole innings - and they would also appear to have pioneered the use of the ‘straight bat’ rather than the curved object previously in use.

Family Firm

Based at The Maltings in West Street, Hartridges, maker of delicious soft drinks, is now run by its fourth generation. Born in 1847, Francis Hartridge trained as a brewer in Kent and at the age of 35 purchased the Alliance Brewery in Hambledon, and Hartridges Soft Drinks Company was born. Despite an horrific explosion which occurred during a German bombing in 1940, the company thrived and is still successful today.


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