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Romsey - The Town I live In

In this article, you'll learn all about Romsey, my hometown. After all, there's no better way to get to know a place than through the people who live there. Throughout the article, you'll see words and phrases that have been highlighted. At the bottom of this article, you'll find two vocabulary tasks where you can learn and test your knowledge of this vocabulary.

How long have you lived in Romsey?

I’ve been living here for a couple of years. In fact, this is the second time I’ve lived in this town. In my twenties, I lived here with my mum, but when I bought my first home, I moved away. I wanted to return because during the pandemic, I realised that I craved being closer to nature. Plus it’s also nice having my dad around the corner.


Tell us what makes your town unique.

Romsey is a pretty little market town with the River Test flowing through it. The river is very clear, as

the water flows through chalk that filters it, so it’s not unusual to see trout and other fish in the rivers and streams around the town. The most dominant building in the town is Romsey Abbey, which is around 1,000 years old. Bell ringers practise every Wednesday evening, and when I'm home, I can often hear the sound of the bells drift across the town at that time. Another interesting titbit of information is that the Broadlands Estate, which is on the outskirts of the town, was the honeymoon destination for Queen Elizabeth II.

In addition, Diana and Charles spent the first three days of their honeymoon at Broadlands.

What time of day or season do you most enjoy?

I enjoy walking through the town on a summer evening when the outdoor terraces are bustling with diners and people enjoying a drink in the sunshine. There’s also a community festival, called The Beggar’s Fair, held across the town in July every year. You can see many musicians, bands, dancers and entertainers perform and it’s completely free.



What’s the nature like?

There are a number of green spaces and gardens in the town centre, including a hidden labyrinth garden a stone’s throw from the market square. The town is surrounded by fields, woods and water meadows and the salmon leap is also a short walk from the town and there I’ve seen kingfishers flash across the water. The most peaceful and beautiful place to be in nature is Fishlake Meadows, a nature reserve you can easily reach if you walk along the Sprat and Winkle line that takes you from the train station, along the former canal and into the reserve. It’s by the far the best place to watch the sunset, and there are two viewing platforms just off the path that make it easy to do this.


Where’s your favourite outdoor space?

There is a beautifully manicured park on the edge of the town, but my favourite green space is located in the heart of the town. It is tucked behind King John’s House and Museum, a group of mediaeval, Tudor and Victorian buildings, in a pretty monastic garden. I like to go there whenever I get a takeaway or sandwich. There are a couple of benches against the southern wall, and in the spring and autumn it’s a lovely suntrap. When it’s raining, I can sit on the other side of the wall under a shelter and enjoy the colourful flowers and fruit trees.    

Tell us more about the people who live there.

Many of the residents are retired so there is definitely a slow pace of life in the town compared to others, but most people are very friendly and if you’re walking down a side street and come across another person, it’s not unusual to be greeted by them.


What are your favourite places to go with friends?

I love to take my friends for a walk over to Fishlake Meadows because it’s such a peaceful place to be, it’s always luscious and green and you can see so much nature. I’ve recently seen mice, frogs, dragonflies and interesting looking furry caterpillars on the path, as well as buzzards and red kites flying above. Then, if they’re up for it, I’ll take them for a stroll along the River Test to the Duke on the Test, which is a lovely pub, with delicious food and a country pub atmosphere. You’ll also find my grandad’s artwork on the wall behind the bar.


Tell us about eating in your town.

If you want to try locally sourced food, then you can order trout from the River Test in the restaurant of the White Horse Hotel. There are also plenty of pubs in the town that serve good food, some of which are really cosy places to spend the evening.


Despite not being a large town, there are several options if you’re looking for international cuisine, including authentic French eateries (La Parisienne and Luc), as well as Indian, Thai and Chinese restaurants.


If you’re looking for breakfasts, light meals or a coffee and cake, the town is dotted with little cafes. One of the most popular is Josies, which is in the Market Square, and it’s often hard to get a table, so be prepared to wait, sit outside, or do what I do, and just grab a takeaway.  Another unique café is the cat café (Paws for Thought), where you can relax and pet the rescue cats they look after.  The most popular bakery is Reeves, and you’ll often see locals queuing outside down the street at lunchtime. Their hazelnut brownie is to die for!


What’s your favourite way to get about the town?

Romsey is so small and compact that it’s easy to explore on foot, although some of the pavements are narrow so you have to keep your eyes peeled for cars.  


What shops do you most like to visit?

There are a wealth of independent shops and charity shops in my town, where you can find some special items. There’s also an independent department store that has been in the town for decades. If you want to buy handmade treasures, wander around an art gallery or take a class with a local artist or maker, then Forest and Cove is the place to go.

 







Where do you like to escape to?

A ten-minute drive from Romsey is Mottisfont, a romantic, historic house and gallery set in a beautiful riverside garden. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in all seasons. The winter garden is full of colour in the colder months and there’s always something interesting to see in the house.


There are carpets of spring flowers from January to March, while in the summer, the old-fashioned rose garden is full of scented roses in bloom. Then in summer and autumn, the walled garden is overflowing with vegetables that are harvested and used in the kitchen café. The natural spring that gave Mottisfont its name is a beautiful, ornamental feature of the garden.




What one thing would you change about your town?

Although it would be nice to have a cinema or shop to buy affordable children’s clothing, I think I would most appreciate a really good bookshop with cosy places to sit and read, study or have a drink.

 

Where would you recommend somebody stay?

Apart from the White Horse Hotel, you could also stay in my mum’s Airbnb, which is a very comfortable one-bedroomed bungalow just a fifteen-minute walk from the town centre. 

 

What keeps you here and where else would you live?

As you can probably tell, I really love the connection I have to nature living here, but also the fact there are cafes and shops close by. It’s also a fairly well connected to cities nearby. I can hop on the train or bus and get to cities like Southampton, Salisbury or Winchester. Another thing that keeps me here is the fact my dad is just a 3-minute walk away, and I have lovely neighbours. I’m not sure there’s anywhere else I’d rather be in the UK, but I would happily live in Spain again.


SARA’S PERSONAL TOUR

Favourite Shops Kit & Caboodle and Consortium

I have two! Both of them are independent shops, not high street chains, so you can find really unique items in both. Kit and Caboodle is an Aladdin’s cave of lovely things I like to give as gifts. Consortium is also a great place to go if I’m present hunting, but they also sell quirky items and vintage and antique furniture.


Favourite Museum

Romsey Signal Box

Located a few minutes’ walk from the train station and dating back to 1873, the building is a working museum that gives visitors an insight into the life of a railway signalman. You can have a ‘hands on’ experience, by operating points, clearing signals and ringing bells to control a simulation of trains passing through the town, just as a 19th century signal box worker would have done.

 

Favourite Café or Bar

Cork and Bean

This coffee and wine bar is definitely not the place to go if you’re on a budget, but it certainly has unique décor, tasty dishes and drinks and very attentive staff. I particularly like to go in the winter, as they serve the best hot chocolate in town. You can also sit on a little heated terrace in winter, and they provide blankets to keep you warm and toasty.


Favourite Pub

The Cromwell Arms

On the edge of town, across from Broadlands, is the Cromwell Arms. In the winter, you can sit by a roaring fire and relax, while in the summer, there’s a nice beer garden, where you can enjoy views of the green hills to the west.

 

Favourite Hotel

White Horse Hotel

The most upmarket place to stay in the town has lots of places to sit and enjoy some food and drink.

The café at the front is a very cosy, luxurious place to grab a coffee, but the jewel in the crown of this centuries old hotel is the Tudor Room, which has an original Tudor fresco on the wall.


Best Views

Take a walk down to Sadler’s Mill and the Salmon Leap, where you can enjoy beautiful view of the river. Then, if you fancy a little walk, you can take the footpath across the fields and climb Green Hill, where you get a great view of the town and Romsey Abbey.

Useful links:

 

Vocabulary Tasks

 

1.     Match the words from the article above to the definitions. You'll find the answers below the video.

1.bustling

a) of very high quality and intended to be bought or paid for by rich people

2. chalk

b) have a strong desire for something

3. crave something

c) a small, narrow river

4. keep your eyes peeled for something

d) comfortably and pleasantly warm

5. luscious

e) a small piece of interesting information

6. quirky

f) a very sunny sheltered place that is warm and bright

7. roaring

g) used to describe a place that is full of people who are very busy or lively

h) soft, white rock

9. suntrap

i) unusual in an attractive and interesting way

10. toasty

j) watch very carefully for something

11. titbit

k) used to describe a fire that has large flames, is noisy and is giving out a lot of heat

12. upmarket

l) used to describe countryside that is very green, healthy looking and attractive

Exercise 2. Complete the sentences with the correct word from above.

One word you’ll need to use twice. One word you’ll not need to use.

 

1.     My feet feel so warm and _____ in the new slippers.

2.     This used to be a _____ town but a lot of people have moved away over recent years.

3.     I need to buy some cough medicine, so _____ for a chemist.

4.     After the walk through the snow, they were happy to sit down in front of a ____ fire.

5.     The climate results in a _____, green countryside and many plant species grow wild.

6.     Our guide gave us some interesting _____ about the history of the castle.

7.     The house, usually _____ with activity, was strangely silent.

8.     Anne chose an _____ employment agency aimed at professional people.

9.     From wall ornaments to 3D wall hanging decorations, we have the most ______ accessories for your walls!

10.   There is a secluded terrace at the back that can become a ______.

11.   The _____ was quite shallow so we were able to walk across it.

12.   The review gave Picasso a taste of the recognition he _____.


If you have any questions about the vocabulary in this article, let me know. You can leave a comment under my YouTube video or Instagram videos on this topic. 😊


You can watch the video that accompanies this article below:






Answers to the exercises above

Exercise 1: 1g, 2h, 3b, 4 j, 5l, 6i, 7k, 8c, 9 f, 10d, 11e, 12a

Exercise 2: 1.toasty 2. bustling 3. keep your eyes peeled 4.fire 5.luscious 6.titbit 7.bustling 8.upmarket 9. quirky 10.suntrap 11. stream 12.craved

 

 

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