Hampshire (i/ˈhæmpʃɪər/ or /ˈhæmpʃər/; abbreviated Hants) is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, the former capital city of England. Hampshire is the most populous ceremonial county in the United Kingdom outside the metropolitan counties such as the West Midlands. Hampshire is notable for housing the birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force. The ceremonial county is bordered by Dorset to the west, Wiltshire to the north-west, Berkshire to the north, Surrey to the north-east, and West Sussex to the east. The southern boundary is the coastline of the English Channel and the Solent, facing the Isle of Wight.
Hampshire is the largest county in South East England and the third largest shire county in the United Kingdom despite losing more land than any other English county during the Local Government Act 1972 boundary changes. At its greatest size in 1889, Hampshire was the fifth largest county in England. It now has an overall area of 3,700 square kilometres (1,400 sq mi), and measures approximately 86 kilometres (53 mi) east–west and 76 kilometres (47 mi) north–south.
Hampshire's tourist attractions include many seaside resorts, the motor museum at Beaulieu, with national parks in both New Forest and the South Downs (covering some 45% of the county). Hampshire has a long maritime history and two of England's largest ports, Portsmouth and Southampton, lie on its coast. The county is famed as home of such writers as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, as well as the birthplace of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
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Famous quotes containing the word hampshire:
“Anything I can say about New Hampshire
Will serve almost as well about Vermont,
Excepting that they differ in their mountains.
The Vermont mountains stretch extended straight;
New Hampshire mountains curl up in a coil.”
—Robert Frost (18741963)
“The New Hampshire girls who came to Lowell were descendants of the sturdy backwoodsmen who settled that State scarcely a hundred years before.... They were earnest and capable; ready to undertake anything that was worth doing. My dreamy, indolent nature was shamed into activity among them. They gave me a larger, firmer ideal of womanhood.”
—Lucy Larcom (18241893)
“A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always like a cat falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days and feels no shame in not studying a profession, for he does not postpone his life, but lives already.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)