Hamble via Bitterne
BITTERNE, Woolston and Sholing float on the skyline like a sea of chimneypots. This is probably the cheapest part of Southampton, composed mainly of late 19th-century and early 20th-century terraces, but with some Thirties’ housing stitched in, too. It lies on the east side of the Itchen River, crossed by a tollbridge that can seem a bit of a bother. A three-bedroom terraced house would cost around £160,000; a three-bedroom Thirties’ semi about £185,000, possibly with good views thrown in. Houses backing on to the river cost substantially more.
Netley is given a certain status by its pebbly shoreline on Southampton Water. It leads to the Royal Victoria Country Park – a marvellous place for picnics, and a vantage point for watching the ferries and tankers chugging across to the Fawley oil refinery on the other side of Southampton Water. Netley also has the remains of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital, where Florence Nightingale nursed casualties from the Crimea. Large four-bedroom family houses, built in the early Eighties, might cost around £500,000. More modestly, a small two-bedroom terraced house would fetch around £190,000. Part of the old military hospital has been converted into flats, selling at around £190,000 for two bedrooms.
Hamble (together with the village of Warsash on the other side of the Hamble River) is used as the setting for yachty television series. It is one of the most concentrated yachting centres in the country, positively bristling with marinas and boats for hire. It is very smart, though in spite of all the visible wealth it still retains the atmosphere of a village. There is a green and a church, and a huge common that leads down to the water. It was a working fishing village until 1914. Some pioneering aviation work was also carried out here, and in the Second World War the Americans used it as a base to prepare for the D-Day landings. Property prices can break the £1m barrier, but you could find an ordinary three-bedroom semi for around £300,000.