Southern Yacht

My little take on plus size fashion, life, travel and smurfs

Friday, 30 October 2020

Days out in Hampshire: Hinton Ampner

Hinton Ampner House

It feels like Autumn is well and truly here now in the UK. The clocks have gone back and the rain and grey clouds seem here to stay. It doesn't seem possible that only a few weeks ago we were enjoying the sunshine and blue skies at Hinton Ampner.

Hinton Ampner is a National Trust property in Hampshire. Originally the site of a Tudor manor built in the 1540's the building has had many incarnations over the years. The renovation of 1936 uncovered the original Georgian style and the subsequent rebuilding after a major fire in 1960 leaves us the house we see today. The house was left to the National Trust in 1985 by Ralph Dutton, the 8th and last Lord Sherborne.

Despite only being a 40 minute or so drive from Southampton, it was a place I had driven past many times but never actually visited (fun fact - I used to drive past regularly during my time when I was a Meals on Wheels delivery driver - maybe that's a story for another day?).

After seeing a story on the local news about the grounds being open for visitors we decided now was the time to finally visit and enjoy the last bit of summer. Although the house itself wasn't open, tickets were available for a timed entry to the rest of the estate.

Hinton Ampner walled garden

Hinton Ampner walled garden

Even so, it still felt busier than expected. Maybe we've become over sensitive to crowds now? We arrived at the exact time our visiting slot opened thinking we'd avoid too many people and instead went straight into a bottleneck. Probably due to first part of the grounds being the walled garden, so space inevitably was limited. We scooted off to one side to allow the crowds through and just pottered round at our own pace. Once out of the walled garden, there was a lot more space to be socially distant and enjoy the grounds.

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate

There are plenty of self-led walks to choose from. Ranging from a gentle stroll suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs up to a 4 mile Dutton Estate Walk that takes you through ancient woodland including a view over the Battle of Cheriton in 1644. Another highlight in the grounds is the Ancient Tree Walk which incudes trees of historical importance. The massive oak by the entrance is between 500-600 years old, dating back to Tudor times. It's amazing to think it survived the Civil War and is considered the most iconic tree on the Estate.

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate
View over the site of the Battle of Cheriton

It was also the perfect opportunity to try and take some photos with my new phone. I think though the other half's patience was tested at this point. Luckily, I'd bought a picnic blanket with me, so lunch from the cafe soon placated him. Although seating wasn't available, picnics were encouraged, so come prepared for alfresco dining!

Hinton Ampner Estate

Hinton Ampner Estate


Hinton Ampner Estate

Picnics and photos at Hinton Ampner

Although life is far from being back to normal - this felt like a near normal day in amongst all the confusion and disruption going on at the moment. It's left us wanting to explore more local National Trust properties and grounds. And lets's face it - a day out in the fresh air walking is always a good idea!

Cathy
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