Winchester, the county town of Hampshire, was the ancient capital of England and the Saxon Kingdom of Wessex. This illustrious history is reflected in the medieval Cathedral and Great Hall.
Hampshire's close association with the sea and Britain's Empire is reflected in the historic ships at the dockyard in Portsmouth, their secret construction site at Buckler's Hard, and the Mayflower memorial in Southampton.
Numerous monuments of the Roman era remain in Hampshire. The Roman Villa at Rockborne contains fine floor mosaics, while Portchester Castle claims to be the most complete Roman fortress north of the Alps. Hollywood movie 'The Eagle' was inspired by an archaeological find at the site of the Roman city of Silchester.
Many sites in Hampshire are associated with its rich literary heritage. The writer Jane Austen lived in the county for most of her life and her house in the village of Chawton is maintained as a museum. In addition, the Charles Dickens's Birthplace Museum is in Portsmouth.
Hampshire is fortunate to contain two of the UK's 15 national parks. The New Forest and South Downs are beautiful areas for walking, cycling, horse riding and other outdoor activities.