What celebrities love most about Hampshire

Some of Hampshire’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about the county. Here, we compile some quotes from our interviews over the years

Juliet Aubrey - November 2016

Fleet born Juliet Aubrey has had an acting career spanning stage, set and big screen. But her memories of Hampshire keep her coming back time and time again “Hampshire for me is all about beautiful memories of my dad, and even now I ring him if anyone has an ailment. And my mum and sister were very loving, so I had a happy family life.”

Raymond Allen - July 2016

From a phonebox in Ryde, the man behind the comedy icon Frank Spencer would call the BBC with his latest script for Some Mothers Do Av Em: “It took longer to write that one sketch than it did the entire first series, because Michel is now such a perfectionist. I did the dialogue, and a couple of guys called the Dawson Brothers worked on the stunts with Frank.”

Michael Chance - June 2016

Acclaimed counter-tenor Michael Chance is taking charge for The Grange Festival 2017: “We shall have a young artists programme for singers, musicians and conductors. While for technicians, there will be opportunities for apprenticeships, internships and residencies, and even hopefully bursaries.”

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Chris Packham - February 2016

Saving the world’s wildlife is Chris Packham’s mission, but nowhere grabs his attention more than the New Forest: “My favourite part of spring without a doubt is when the beech trees in the New Forest break into bud. Normally it’s around the second week in May, after the catkins, snowdrops and primroses have come and gone. As I drive towards Ashurst there are some beech trees on the side of the road, and when the leaves first break out they are an incredible shade of green, and translucent.”

Ed Chamberlin - January 2016

The Sky Sports presenter spoke of Mottisfont and the local area fondly: “We live close to Mottisfont, so we visit there a fair bit. The National Trust are great at organising activities for children… so it’s always a real family day out there. We get to Winchester a fair bit too. That’s where Kyoto Kitchen, my favourite restaurant in the county, is! Down the road, Middle Wallop is a lovely village and when I get some spare time, I do play a fair bit of golf! I’m a member at the Leckford Golf Club in Stockbridge.”

Mike Batt - October 2015

The Southampton boy who became the star of Wimbledon with his Wombles theme tune told us: “Our house straddles the border between Surrey and Hampshire, so I get up every morning and look out across Hampshire and think just how lucky I am.”

Denise Black - May 2015

The star of stage and screen on her Hampshire childhood: “We could walk from our house through the fields and onto the marshes back then. We played there for hours. I had a den – an old war look out. When not playing by the water, we’d be on the water. Dad built a little 19-foot wooden motorboat. He’d cut out the engine and we’d fish as we drifted. Watch birds. Swim. Camp out for the night. Langstone Harbour and Chichester Harbour were the backdrop of my childhood. On special nights out mum and dad would buy fish and chips and we’d eat them in the car up on the Downs, looking over the twinkling Portsmouth lights. I love that view. We called it ‘Fish and Chip Hill’.”

Jing Lusi - March 2015

The Holby City star told us why she loves to come back to Hampshire: “Most of my friends who I went to college with are all in London, so I don’t have that many left here at home. When I come back it is family time and rest time. It’s nice to have more than a minute to myself. I call coming back here, emotional rehab. You can sleep and not worry about anything. With him (she nods at Nori) we go to Itchen Valley, Southampton Common and Winchester Castle walking. It’s the complete opposite to what I have in London, which is why I come back.”

Rick and Jack Stein - January 2015

Rick tells us why they chose Winchester: “We thought that if we were going to open a restaurant outside of Cornwall, then Winchester was probably the place for it to be. We find that loads of our customers in Padstow actually come from this area.”

James Durrant - August 2014

The Great British Menu winner on his favourite place to spend a quiet day in Hampshire: “I have a three-year-old, a nine-month-old and 12-year-old so it’s nice to go away. It can be anything, a walk in the New Forest or crabbing in Mudeford, as long as we’re together I don’t mind.”

Kiran Rai - July 2014

The actor on his love for Hampshire: “I love Hampshire every time I go there, which hopefully I shall do more often.”

Colin Firth - February 2014

The world-famous actor’s heart remains in one place: “I do always look towards Hampshire and plan my return. I’m sure it’ll happen one day.”

Lucy Alexander - December 2013

The property expert loves the rural side of the county: “We had a lovely lunch and then went all round the Hampshire countryside which was breathtaking.”

Amanda Lamb – November 2013

The TV property expert shared why she loves Hampshire: “I love Hampshire; it’s such a beautiful county. We’ve recently discovered Alice Holt forest – we’re there a lot now we have kids. We often visit the Old Town in Portsmouth and Langstone too.”

Julia Fordham – July 2013

The Hampshire singer-songwriter spoke about memories of Southsea: “I absolutely love Southsea Promenade and the fair. I remember my granddad taking me there when I was about eight and last year I got to take my own little girl there, she will be eight this week. It was such a treat to see her enjoying all the rides that I remember so fondly.”

Raymond Blanc – May 2013

Local produce is very important to the celebrity chef: “There is always a good backdrop of local produce; you don’t have to travel millions of miles in order to get it.”

Simon Reeve – April 2013

The BBC explorer puts his success down to his Hampshire education: “I owe an awful lot, if not everything to Highbury College, they really were quite an inspiring lot.”

David Gower – March 2013

The cricketing legend loves life in Romsey: “I am very happy with the lifestyle I have and with the friends we made when my daughters were at Twyford School.”

Sophie Cranston – February 2013

The fashion designer for royalty and stars on seeing her Hampshire house for the first time: “We got here and it was a grey day, but we walked in and we both looked at each other and said this is the house. It had everything that we needed a house to have.”

Martin Freeman – January 2013

The Hobbit and Sherlock star had this to say: “I love the times when I am back in the county. The peace and pace of the countryside – it’s incredibly nurturing and therapeutic for me.”

Alistair Appleton - October 2012

The property expert told us about his Hampshire childhood: “I loved the countryside where my mum’s family lived near Titchfield and spent lots of lovely summers there - but I guess I was mostly connected to the sea: swimming, wandering along the coast, a little windsurfing here and there. I have a soft spot for the chalky downlands and the gorsy, shingly beaches around Hillhead and Alverstoke.”

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