With its top-rated schools, wonderful open countryside, a cathedral city and extensive leisure opportunities, Hampshire harbours an undeniable attraction for families looking for that coveted combination of a semi-rural setting and a vibrant city scene.

While the start of the new school year is still several months away, as far as the property calendar is concerned, the hunt for a family home within the catchment area of a top local school starts now.

For those who are either not ready or want to try before they buy, the family homes rental market in Hampshire is thriving, and Carter Jonas has a breadth of properties on offer.

In the popular village of Vernham Dean, to the north west of Winchester, which boasts an excellent local primary school and easy access to Andover and Whitchurch, Carter Jonas is offering a charming four bedroom detached cottage. The cottage enjoys spacious rooms and has a number of period features including exposed beams, a large brick fireplace and a thatched roof. Ashton Cottage is available to rent for £2,000 per month.

Further east, in the village of Dummer, Field House is a more contemporary proposition. Recently refurbished, it is light and airy with large windows to maximise the enviable views of the surrounding countryside. The ground floor comprises an entrance hall, kitchen, breakfast room, utility room and reception room while the four bedrooms, one with an en suite, can be found on the first floor, as well as a small study and family bathroom. The property has a fantastic garden and a gardener is included in the rental price. This property is on the market for £2,500 per month.

Nearby in Malshanger, five miles to the west of Basingstoke, Carter Jonas is offering a spacious three-bedroom house with uninterrupted countryside views. Families are well served by two local schools in the neighbouring villages of Oakley and Overton, which also offer shopping facilities. Home Farm House is on the market for £2,250 per month.

For more information on family homes in Hampshire contact the Carter Jonas Winchester Lettings team on 01962 876838 or visit www.carterjonas.co.uk.