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Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.

Church
“The Abbey Church of St Mary and St Ethelflaeda can trace its origins back to 907 AD, the year in which King Edward the Elder, son of the Saxon King Alfred the Great, first settled some nuns here under the charge of his daughter Elflaeda. King Edgar refounded the nunnery circa 960 under the rule of St. Benedict. Ethelflaeda, whose reputed acts of sanctity included chanting Psalms whilst standing naked in the River Test at night, was abbess around the time of the first millennium. The first stone church and nunnery were built c. 1000 AD and flourished as a place of education for the daughters of kings and noblemen. Work began on the present building c. 1120-1140 with the Choir, Transepts, a Lady Chapel at the East end and first three bays of the Nave, a fourth being added in 1150-1180. The last three arches, in the Early English style, at the West end of the Nave were added in 1230-1240, at which time over 100 nuns belonged to the foundation. In 1349, however, the Black Death decimated the population at large and, at the Abbey, the number of nuns declined to just 19. Its dark shadow had receded by the turn of the Fifteenth Century, during which a second aisle on the North side of the Abbey was built to accommodate a church, dedicated to St. Lawrence, for the townspeople. It is probable that this shared use of the building spared Romsey Abbey from complete demolition. Many similarly fine religious buildings were lost under the general dissolution of the monasteries instigated by Henry VIII after his final break with Rome in the late 1530’s. The Abbey was nevertheless suppressed, its nuns dispersed and, in 1539, the Lady Chapel was demolished. but, in 1544, the townspeople were allowed to buy the building for £100 to be used as their parish church. They later demolished the extra aisle previously built for them because the Abbey was too large for their needs and resources. Further damage to the fabric occurred during the English Civil War when, in 1643, Parliamentary troops entered the Abbey, pulling up the seats and destroying the organ. A Puritan form of worship was imposed under the régime led by Cromwell and many independent ministers, including the ‘intruder’ John Warren at Romsey, were appointed. The Eighteenth Century witnessed a long period of neglect. A visitor complained in 1742, for instance, that at least 40 windows were bricked up. In the Nineteenth, however a renaissance of the Abbey began, particularly under the ministry of the Rev. Edward Lyon Berthon. Scanned print of an old lithograph illustration of a large church ‘Rumsey Nunnery’, as depicted in an old lithograph The Abbey remains the largest parish church in Hampshire and is home to a vibrant congregation drawn from the town and beyond. It is affiliated to the Greater Churches group, which includes Beverley Minster, Christchurch Priory, Leeds Parish Church and Sherborne Abbey.”
  • 8 locals recommend
Grocery or Supermarket
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  • 1 local recommends
Gym
“Experience a world of water fun and adventure. An all-year-round tropical water wonderland. Ride the Rapids. A swirling canal of foaming water. Zoom the flume high above the pools. Relax in the spa pool. A huge, warm bubbling jacuzzi. Fully trained lifeguards keep a discreet watchful eye over your safety and enjoyment. A special ‘ozonation’ process limits chlorine and maintains the Rapids water in the very best condition. Overall water temperature is a constant 85F with the temperature and environment creating a tropical water wonderland. There’s something for everyone at the Rapids; Rapids ride, flume, bubble seats, pirate galleon, tipping bucket, treasure chest and much more.”
  • 8 locals recommend
Establishment
“A grand estate whose stunning house and gardens are open to the public (see website for days and times), Broadlands also hosts a variety of events throughout the year.”
  • 5 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Great restaurant in Romsey, some fantastic British food in a very old english style restaurant”
  • 5 locals recommend
Cafe
“Great for lunch. Situated in central Romsey. The perfect escape from shopping duties!!!!”
  • 4 locals recommend
History Museum
“King John's House and Heritage Centre; a museum that encompasses three buildings that contain 750 years of history.”
  • 4 locals recommend
Bar
  • 5 locals recommend
Restaurant
  • 3 locals recommend
Grocery or Supermarket
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Park
“Perfect for a stroll or to sit and enjoy one of the regular concerts in the Bandstand, the park's facilities include a cafe, lawn bowls club, fishing, formal gardens, inclusive children's playground, tennis courts, toilets and seating.”
  • 1 local recommends
Cafe
“Really nice spot for lunch whilst taking a break from shopping in Romsey. Fantastic deli and lovely food....for large groups or families we recommend you book first”
  • 4 locals recommend
Bar
  • 2 locals recommend
Pub
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“Good portions, good selection and only 2 miles away. Quiz night on Sunday. Dog friendly.”
  • 2 locals recommend
Meal Takeaway
“We love Natraj for sit-in and takeaways. Friendly service and fantastic Indian food. ”
  • 1 local recommends
Cafe
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  • 1 local recommends