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Living in Alresford: the local area guide

Alresford is a small market town in Hampshire, England. Voted by Country Life Magazine as their 'Favourite Market Town', it is well known for its beautiful Georgian colour-washed architecture, which appeared after a series of fires in the 17th century that destroyed much of the town. Prior to that, it had a long established reputation as an economic hub, especially in the wool trade. Human habitation in the area is thought to have gone back as far as the Stone Age.

It is now a very popular town to both visit and live in. It has a far-ranging reputation for its excellent restaurants, bistros, tea rooms, cafes, pubs, independent stores and riverside walks. Since the wool and grain trade took a hit during the industrial revolution, watercress became the town's export of choice and it is now known as the capital of watercress farming in the UK.

Alresford has its own heritage steam railway, known colloquially as the Watercress Line. It also puts on several events throughout the year which attract plenty of visitors. These include the Alresford Music Festival, and the Watercress festival.


Alresford has a population of just over 5,400 people according to the latest census. Nearly a quarter of the populace works in a professional role, with another 14.1% in associate professional or technical roles. 13.6% have skilled trades.

A little over 38% of working people in Alresford work within the town itself. 24% work in nearby Winchester, to which the town has close historical economic links, and most of the rest either work in Basingstoke, Southampton, Alton, or London. Education rates are exceptionally high, with more than 40% of people in the region having earned an undergraduate degree or greater.

There are approximately 2,500 dwellings in Alresford, of which three quarters are privately owned and less than 10% are privately rented.

Culturally, Alresford is very active and sociable. The community put on a lot of events throughout the year which attract a lot of visitors. As well as the two festivals mentioned before, there are a wide range of events which include a Duck Race and an agricultural show. The town is also very sporting - it has its own football and rugby clubs, as well as a cricket club which was among the best in England during the industrial revolution.


There are some very good schools within and nearby to Alresford, making it an attractive option for families. Within the town there is a nursery, a primary school, and a secondary school. The secondary school (Perins School) is a sports college and academy with a very good reputation. It is one of the top performing sports colleges in Hampshire, and has around 1,200 pupils.

Within an easy drive of Alresford there are plenty more schools, both state and independent, and Winchester in particular has some very good ones. There is plenty of choice should parents wish to specify curriculum, faith or co-educational policy.


Getting around Alresford and the surrounding area is easiest by car. The A31 is the closest artery road, and reaches Winchester in under 15 minutes. At Winchester it links to the M3, where drivers can drive north east and reach London in an hour, or south west and reach Southampton in half an hour, making commuting a realistic option.

There is no mainline station, but Alresford Railway Station runs heritage steam trains which are worth a ride for the wonderful historic sites and smells. Bus services are fairly regular, and can reach Winchester in just under 20 minutes.

Amenities and shopping

Within Alresford there are some excellent independent stores offering local produce and craft. They are interspersed with an abundance of cafes, tea rooms, bistros, restaurants and cosy pubs.

Winchester, just down the road, is easy to visit for a day and is renowned for its antique stores, artisan shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and more. Those looking for high street brands, though, will find themselves making the trip to Southampton where there are some large modern shopping centres.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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