We’re very lucky to live in such a special area, and our residents enjoy day trips out to beauty spots, historic houses, and many of the picturesque towns and villages that make Hampshire and Wiltshire so sought after.
One of our very favourite places is Stockbridge, a charming town straddling the River Test, which won Google Street View’s inaugural award for the foodiest high street in Britain.
Stockbridge’s single street boasts a deli bistro with its own fishmonger, a chocolate shop, a period pub, a bakery/tea room, a riverside café, a butcher, a wine merchant, a greengrocer, an Indian restaurant, two fine dining pub/hotels, a café with its own woodfire pizza oven, and an Italian deli with homemade pasta, meats, breads and cheeses. Here are our favourites to visit:
By the kissing gate that opens on to the path taking you down to the wide, open spaces of the Marsh is dog-friendly café Kudos, offering good coffee and tasty light bites served on benches beside the river.
The shelves of Thyme and Tides bistro and deli are packed with unusual delicacies alongside almost 40 cheeses, charcuterie, local sourdough breads and luscious Isle of Wight tomatoes. The fish counter groans with plump scallops, huge tiger prawns, and fat fillets of monkfish and cod.
Tempting deli specials and homemade sweet treats are served either inside or in the sunny, south-facing garden.
Further along, across the road, Prego is a stylish little gem of an Italian deli serving fabulous meat and cheese sharing platters, fresh pasta cooked to order, and real hot chocolate.
If chocolate is your thing, then stroll along to Mokaya Cocoa, where the smell alone is enough to tighten the waistband. The window looks like something Willy Wonka would have dreamed up, with giant colourful lollipops, sugar mice and cellophane-wrapped chocolate treats. Inside, shelves are lined with old-fashioned sweetie jars, and dozens of handmade chocolates are displayed in a glass cabinet.
We do love a period pub, and the Three Cups 15th century coaching inn is a lovely place to order a drink and sit on the sun terrace overlooking the stream running through a pretty rose garden.
Hampshire’s greatest country pursuits of shooting and fishing are brought together in splendid fashion at The Greyhound on the Test, where low, beamed ceilings and scrubbed oak tables set the scene for shoot dinners, and superb lunches are served to fly fishermen on the pub’s own private slice of the riverbank. This stylish pub and hotel is tempting for serious foodies, who will fall in love with delicious modern British cooking and fine wines, but it’s also a fabulous place for relaxed summer suppers under the canopy at Wilds Kitchen in the garden. Every night of the week brings something different, from fish and chips and woodfired pizzas to fantastic burgers from the Original Fry Up Material van in the car park.
It may be just one street, but working your way from one end to the other requires a serious appetite for fabulous food – and a very loose waistband! All in a day of retirement life we say!