Things to do in Fleet, Hampshire
Fleet is a dramatically growing town in the borough of Hart. It's held to be one of the best place in the country to live for quality of life, amenities and services.
Fleet has a thriving town centre based on a single street - Fleet Road - with an enjoyable mix of individual shops plus the chain stores you'd expect.
What makes Fleet stand out from other towns in the area is the amazing selection of pubs, restaurants and coffee shops. All are within walking distance and mostly on the high street.
Two key features of Fleet have contributed significantly to the growth in popularity and population of the town: Firstly, the railway station. The rail journey from Fleet to Waterloo is around 50 minutes, with half-hourly services and modern trains. This makes Fleet a very popular commuter town.
Secondly, Fleet pond. Once the largest pond in Britain, this beautiful natural feature is surrounded by reedy marshland and then lightly wooded copses, with a variety of walks available all around it. There are picnic sites, a beach and even Shetland ponies grazing in some of the woodlands.
Another lovely aspect of Fleet is the Basingstoke Canal which runs right through the town and through neighbouring Crookham. Lovingly restored to a wonderful leisure facility, the canal features canal boats moored at various points, walks throughout its length on good quality paths, and a wealth of canal history.
Not far away at Frimley is a centre where you can hire boats, go on barge tours and enjoy picnics or café fare. In the other direction at Odiham are boat trips and very pretty surroundings. There are canalside pubs all along its length.
A recent addition to Fleet is Elvetham Heath. Apparently, this is the site of the wealthiest residents in the country. Not quite believed by the residents themselves, no-one disagrees that Elvetham Heath is one of the most successfully designed modern housing developments, with quirky winding streets and endless green spaces, playgrounds and natural features.
The 'village' green features a large play field, children's playground, a Community Centre, pub/restaurant, supermarket, and the recently built Church on the Heath. There is also a large Nature Reserve with pond, walks, meadows, woods and large-scale cattle grazing.
Finally, Fleet is brilliantly located for enjoying the surrounding Hampshire countryside with its endless succession of charming villages full of thatched cottages and wonderful gastro-pubs. The larger towns of Surrey and Berkshire are a short drive away.
Head out from Fleet to London, the New Forest, Stonehenge, the south coast - all are within an hour and a half's drive or train journey. That is unless you'd rather just stay and spend the afternoon fishing peacefully off a jetty on Fleet Pond!
Description by Virginia Heffernan