Hampshire (//, /-/ (listen); abbreviated to Hants) is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in western South East England on the coast of the English Channel. Home to two major English cities on its south coast, Southampton and Portsmouth, Hampshire is the 9th-most populous county in England. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, located in the north of the county. The county is bordered by Dorset to the south-west, Wiltshire to the north-west, Berkshire to the north, Surrey to the north-east, and West Sussex to the south east. The county is geographically diverse, with upland rising to 286 m (938 ft) and mostly south-flowing rivers. There are areas of downland and marsh, and two national parks: the New Forest and part of the South Downs, which together cover 45 per cent of Hampshire.
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)|
|Members of Parliament||List of MPs|
|Lord Lieutenant||Nigel Atkinson|
|High Sheriff||Lady Edwina Grosvenor (2022–23)|
|Area||3,769 km2 (1,455 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||9th of 48|
|Population (mid-2019 est.)||1,844,245|
|• Ranked||6th of 48|
|Density||489/km2 (1,270/sq mi)|
|County council||Hampshire County Council|
|Area||3,679 km2 (1,420 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||7th of 26|
|• Ranked||3rd of 26|
|Density||376/km2 (970/sq mi)|
Districts of Hampshire
Unitary County council area
Settled about 14,000 years ago, Hampshire's recorded history dates to Roman Britain, when its chief town was Venta Belgarum (now Winchester). The county was recorded in Domesday Book as divided into 44 hundreds. From the 12th century, the ports settlements grew due to increasing trade with the European mainland resulting from the wool and cloth, fishing, and shipbuilding industries. This meant by the 16th century, Southampton had become more populous than Winchester. In 20th century conflicts, including World War One and Two, Hampshire played a crucial military role due to its ports.
At present, the county is divided into 13 non-metropolitan districts. Southampton and Portsmouth are unitary authorities and 7 hold borough status. This means that with the exceptions of Southampton and Portsmouth, the county is locally governed by a combination of the County Council and non-metropolitan district councils. In 1974, The Isle of Wight was made a separate ceremonial county from Hampshire and the towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch were transferred to Dorset.