Romsey has very good road links to other parts of the country. The M3 motorway from London and the A34 dual carriageway from the Midlands and the North converge at Winchester. Take the A3090 from Winchester (M3 junction 11) to Romsey. The M27 runs westwards towards the New Forest and Bournemouth, and eastwards towards Portsmouth and Brighton. Junctions 2 and 3 of the M27 are close to Romsey. The A3057 runs north from Romsey to Andover and south to Southampton. The A27 runs north west towards Salisbury. From Bristol and South Wales it is usually quicker to travel via the M4 and A34 than the shorter but much slower A36. Likewise from the South West of England, the route via the A303, B3089, Salisbury and the A27 is often quicker than the A35 and A31.
Parking in Romsey can be difficult on Saturdays, but not any more so than at other market towns. Parking is free after 4PM each day.
1 Romsey station is on the route from Portsmouth to Cardiff via Southampton, Salisbury, Bath and Bristol, and direct trains run by First Great Western link Romsey to these places (and some other smaller places along the route) hourly, seven days a week. Occasional through trains also operate, several times daily, to Gloucester, Worcester and Great Malvern, and also along the coast to Chichester and Brighton.
Local stopping services operated by South West Trains also serve Romsey frequently throughout the day and evening, providing additional journeys to Southampton and Salisbury and also link Romsey to Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Southampton Airport, various suburban stations in Southampton, and the nearby villages of Mottisfont & Dunbridge and Dean.
Trains from London, the Midlands and the North do not operate directly to Romsey. Change trains at Southampton Central or Southampton Airport Parkway stations, or take the bus to Romsey from Winchester station.
From the South West of England, change trains at Westbury or Salisbury.
From Bournemouth change at Southampton Central.
A useful tip when travelling from Southampton Central to Romsey is to take a train whose final destination is shown as Salisbury, Bristol or Cardiff. These reach Romsey much more quickly than those whose final destination is shown as Romsey, but which travel by a more circuitous route.
Romsey station is located a 5 minute level walk from the town centre.
Buses from Winchester (operated by Stagecoach South), Eastleigh (by Wilts & Dorset) and Southampton (by Bluestar) run frequently and stop centrally in the town. Buses from Salisbury run less frequently. Limited services are also available from some nearby villages.
From Eastleigh, Southampton, and Salisbury the train is generally faster, cheaper and more frequent than the equivalent bus routes.
The nearest airport is Southampton Airport (SOU IATA), about 10 miles (16 km) away in Eastleigh, with flights to domestic and European destinations. Southampton Airport Parkway railway station is next to the airport terminal - trains run directly to Romsey twice an hour.
- The small and pleasant town centre is easily covered on foot.
- Walking around will occupy a pleasant, easygoing half day. A few villages on the outskirts offer (mostly) real old fashioned English pub atmospheres, where a morning walk and a pub lunch plus pints make for a very agreeable start to a weekend. Ampfield and Braishfield are two such villages accessible by local bus (leaving from the bus station to the rear of the high street, adjacent to Bradbeer's.) and there is a village to the Northwest that's on the train route direct. Stopping at Mottisfont and Dunbridge there is a pub by the name of the Mill Arms quite literally opposite the platform, which is full of atmosphere, and where on Christmas Day you can turn up and get your first pint of the day for free!
- 1 Romsey Abbey.
- 2 King John's House & Tudor Cottage.
- 3 Broadlands. The estate of Lord Mountbatten is open to the public at different times throughout the week/year and more interestingly hosts concerts from, usually, popular music stars, like Earth, Wind & Fire, Phil Collins, Madness etc. When sunny, the estate is fantastic. It has a vast series of almost open fields, with stands of ancient trees and red deer roaming more or less freely. As a venue for an open-air concert it is about as good as they come.
- Walking tour of poetic quips and quotes. Plenty of towns in England have these nowadays, the Romsey version takes you on a particularly scenic meander along the banks of the Test a short way and through the town's modestly interesting historic streets, Bell street and parts of the High street especially still look and feel suitably ancient. Streets around the back of the Abbey are also on the route and they, with the abbey, lend a genuinely impressive air.
Hillier's Arboretum, and Mottisfont Abbey and Gardens are nearby. A free minibus service links the town centre, and Romsey and Mottisfont & Dunbridge railway stations, to these attractions on summer Sundays and Bank Holidays.
- 4 Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyns Lane, Ampfield, SO51 0QA. Daily, Apr–Oct: 10AM–6PM; Nov–Mar 10AM–5PM. Last entry 1 hour before closing. A garden and arboretum known for hosting over 40,000 trees and shrubs, including oaks, camelliae, magnoliae and rhododendrons. Adults: £10.40; concessions: £9.50; children (5–16 years): £2.40; under 5 years: free.
- 5 Mottisfont, near Romsey, SO51 0LP (5 miles north of Romsey), ☏ , email@example.com. A former monastery and stately home that in summer shows off its rose gardens in a gorgeous rural setting.
- 1 Romsey Rapids Sports Complex (Romsey Rapids), Southampton Rd, Romsey SO51 8AF, ☏ . Swim at the Romsey Rapids.
- 2 Plaza Theatre, 40 Winchester Rd, Romsey SO51 8JA, ☏ . A dozen or more plays a year show here courtesy of the local theatre group, RAODS. Energetic performances from a cast of surprisingly talented amateur dramatists that generally sell out; a wide variety of playwrights are represented too.
- Fish the River Test, one of the most renowned trout rivers in the world. You will, however, need to obtain a permit beforehand.
- Drink in one of the famously numerous pubs; in the 16th to 18th centuries Romsey held the record from the most pubs per square mile, around 18 per sq mile, which were all supported by a population of 4000 including children. Whilst the number of pubs has gone down, the population has gone up so one might find that the pubs are a bit cramped at times. The number of pubs has gone down and the population up, but there are still some highly venerable pubs in the area, and places like the Duke's Head a few hundred metres North of the town proper which has been the site of an ale house since the 11th century.
- 3 Paultons Park, Ower, Romsey SO51 6AL. 10AM-5:30PM daily. Amusement park including Peppa Pig World.
Walk down the high street to experience high streets like they were in pre-recession Britain.
- 1 Bradbeers, 14–20 Bell St, SO51 8ZE, ☏ . M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM, Su closed. Romsey's own department store.
There is also a market every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Most stalls are in The Cornmarket, but some are moved to Market Place because of social distancing.
There are many places to eat in Romsey ranging from cafés to pubs to restaurants. Some places that serve food are:
The multitude of pubs and cafés in Romsey mean that you won't need to walk very far to find a new one. Examples of good cafés are Caffé Nero, Asante, Miss Moody's tearoom and Bradbeers's cafés.
There is one hotel in Romsey and many bed and breakfasts.
- 1 White Horse. hotel dating from around 1500, which does not have onsite parking. Restaurant has mains from £15 - £30.
However, there are more hotels slightly further afield, such as:
- 2 Best Western Chilworth Manor Hotel, Chilworth, Southampton SO16 7PT, ☏ . Edwardian manor house with 12 acres of grounds.
- 3 Ha'penny Acre B&B, Branches Ln, Sherfield English, Romsey SO51 6FH, ☏ . A family-run B&B near Mottisfont Abbey and Gardens.
- 4 The Potter's Heron, Ampfield, SO51 9ZF (4½ mi (7.4 km) E of Romsey, via A3090), ☏ . Email via online contact form. Beautiful whitewashed thatched hotel and restaurant. Rooms have Hypnos beds, free Wi-Fi and a balcony or terrace. Dogs welcome (£20 per night). Rooms from £72/night. Half-board from £110/night.
- The New Forest National Park, with its extensive woodlands and heathlands, picturesque villages, and freely roaming livestock, is located a short drive west from the town.