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Alresford (pronounced "ALLS-ford") is a country market town on the River Arle in Hampshire.
Although the overall look of Alresford is that of a Georgian market town, the area is believed to have been inhabited since the Bronze Age. The initial settlement of the locality began with the village of Old Alresford, mentioned in the Domesday Book. In the late 12th Century, a "Great Weir" was constructed to create Old Alresford Pond, and at this point a (comparatively) new settlement sprang up alongside: this second town is to this day known as "New Alresford", despite the fact that it is over 800 years old. Locals refer to it as simply "Alresford", only adding the prefix in the case of Old Alresford, which remains a sleepy but picturesque little village.
Today, in many ways Alresford is the quintessential English small country town, with the friendly atmosphere and English traditions maintained throughout the ages. This "vibe" is owed in part to the fact that it is sufficiently inconvenient for commuters to London that the demographic of the town is mostly families and retirees, many of whom have lived there for generations. Young people who grow up in the town frequently move away for their career, then return to start a family. As a result, there is a strong sense of community, and a warmth towards both visitors and locals.
The oldest and most picturesque part of the town is where Broad Street meets East Street and West Street. These three streets are lined with beautiful Georgian townhouses and shops.
By bus: The 64 (Winchester to Alton) runs through alresford every half hour, while the the 67 (Winchester to Petersfield) runs every two hours.
By steam train: One of Alresford's main attractions is a the Watercress Line, a preserved railway which runs from Alresford to Alton, and has a number of special events throughout the year. Alton has direct trains to London Waterloo running at least hourly, half-hourly during most of the day. There are also bus links to Guildford (X65) and Basingstoke (28/X28).
Alresford is a small town, and its attractions are concentrated into a fairly small area. As a result, walking is the easiest mode of transport. If you have a car, it's best to park at Station Yard, Perins School, Broad Street (except Thursday, which is Market Day), West Street, or Arlebury Park.
Alresford has several boutiques along its three main streets, as well as a number of small specialist shops selling items such as antiques, china, pictures and food. Souvenirs of the town, including tea trays, mugs and calendars, can be bought at the Alresford Gift Shop, and antique photographs of the town can be purchased from Alresford Heritage , through Oakleaf Stationary Shop, 56 West Street, Alresford.