|Hampshire (audio=En-uk-Hampshire.ogg|Ë|h|Ã¦|m|p|Ê|ÉªÉr or abbreviated Hants ) is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force. The ceremonial county borders Dorset to the west, Wiltshire to the north-west, Berkshire to the north, Surrey from the north-east, and West Sussex to east. It is partly bounded to the south by the coast of the English Channel and The Solent. Hampshire is the largest county in South East England and the third largest shire county in the United Kingdom. Hampshire has also lost the most amount of land during the Local Government Act 1972 boundary changes throughout England. At its size peak in 1889, Hampshire was the fifth largest county in England.
It has an overall area of with its widest points being approximatelyeast-west andnorth-south.
Hampshire's tourist attractions include many seaside resorts, the motor museum at Beaulieu, with national parks in both New Forest and the South Downs (covering some 45% of the county). Hampshire has a long maritime history and two of England's largest ports, Southampton and Portsmouth, lie on its coast. The county is famed as home of such writers as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, as well as the birthplace of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.