Living in Emsworth
What is life like in Emsworth?
Located in south-east Hampshire, close to the A27 and the beautiful south coast, Emsworth is a pretty and historic town with plenty to offer people of all ages.
It is known for its quiet and peaceful way of life, which attracts many families keen to allow their children to grow up in safe and secure surroundings. Emsworth is popular with sailors and water sports enthusiasts, who are able to enjoy easy access to the sea and high-quality facilities within just a few miles.
The town is also a hotspot for artists, naturalists and walkers, all of whom benefit from its scenic location and many miles of beautiful countryside on the doorstep.
In years gone by, Emsworth was perhaps best known for oyster fishing, although this trade has largely died off in recent times. An intriguing history has created a town with a variety of architectural styles on show and many properties boast high-walled gardens.
However, it is harbour views that help Emsworth to stand out as a particularly attractive settlement, and properties that offer such panoramas are highly sought-after by all.
Emsworth began life as a small Saxon village, and was not included in the Domesday Book of 1086, meaning it was probably still too small at this stage to warrant acknowledgement.
Its name is believed to derive from ‘Emel’s worth’ or ‘Emil’s worth’, with a worth being an enclosure such as a farm or hamlet that is bordered by a palisade.
The town made its name as a small port, with a huge volume of wine brought to the UK through Emsworth in the Middle Ages. By the 18th and 19th centuries, it was known for shipbuilding, boat building and rope making.
At around this time, grain from the area became incredibly popular for use in flour mills. Several tidal mills were in operation in and around Emsworth. Local people also traded timber, while the town built a strong reputation in the fishing industry, with its nearby oyster beds proving profitable.
In 1840, the Church of St James was built and has remained a focal point of the area ever since, while Queen Victoria visited Emsworth in 1842 and Queen Street was named after her.
The population of Emsworth grew at a rapid pace in the 20th century, and escalated to about 5,000 by the halfway point in the century. A few decades later Emsworth became a resort for pleasure boats and it has retained strong marine links with the more recent development of Chichester Harbour.
Entertainment, sport and days out
Set within walking distance of some of the region’s most beautiful countryside, Emsworth offers ample opportunities to get outdoors and explore. It is only a short distance to the South Downs, the UK’s newest national park and a particularly eye-catching part of the country.
Sporty locals can venture to the Bourne Community Leisure Centre in nearby Southbourne in order to maintain their fitness, or head to Chichester Harbour for a spot of sailing or to engage in other water sports.
When it comes to enjoying a day away from Emsworth, the South Downs or the New Forest are the obvious choices for those seeking fresh air and rugged terrain. Alternatively, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to ships such as the Mary Rose and HMS Victory, and is a fascinating place for visitors.
Eating, drinking & shopping
Despite being a relatively small town, Emsworth has plenty of great places to eat and drink, so people will never be stuck for a social venue. There are nine pubs and five restaurants within a short distance of each other, as well as several cafes that are ideal for those who wish to stop for a cup of tea or a slice of cake.
There are a number of special events that take place throughout the year in Emsworth, such as the Coalie Fest celebration at the Coal Exchange, which takes place each spring and autumn. There is also a Glastonbrewery Festival each August.
A wide range of local, independent shops are open in the town centre, providing a chance to stock up on all manner of products. A fishmonger, two butchers and a greengrocer ensure nobody will go hungry in Emsworth.
Away from Emsworth, there are excellent shopping facilities on offer in nearby Portsmouth, including a main high street and the modern Gunwharf Quays development, while Chichester is a quaint city with many boutique stores.
Schools & healthcare
Emsworth is an ideal base for young families, so it is no surprise to find there are several excellent local schools. Even from nursery age, parents are spoilt for choice over where to send their little ones.
A trio of local primary schools - Emsworth Primary, Thorney Island Primary and St James Primary - ensure there are also plenty of options for children of this age. And once they progress beyond primary level, Bourne Community College and Warblington School are not too far away and offer secondary education.
When it comes to healthcare, Emsworth Hospital is positioned in the town centre and its staff are ready to deal with all manner of emergencies. There is also Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, just a few minutes away, which can also be used by patients.
Emsworth is located close to the A27, the main trunk road on the south coast through Hampshire and Sussex. This ensures residents enjoy easy and direct access to many other towns and cities in the area, including Portsmouth and Chichester, as well as Southampton and Brighton slightly further afield.
The town boasts its own railway station with direct links to Portsmouth, Brighton and London, making it an ideal spot for commuters. There is also a good local bus service.