Between 1806 and 1820 it was the home of the famous journalist and radical politician William Cobbett, who described the village as the most delightful in the world. There is a memorial stone to William Cobbett in the village square.
Flour mills have existed in Botley for over 1,000 years; the old Botley Mill is at the end of High Street.
The village itself grew around a ford over the River Hamble (which powered the mill) where an Inn was built for travellers to stay in overnight on occasions when the tide was in. At high tide small boats such as canoes can still navigate up the River Hamble, which runs through the village.
Nowadays, the village can be easily accessed from Eastleigh and Fareham by train. Previously, a rail service operated to Bishops Waltham along the Bishops Waltham Branch Line. Botley railway station is just outside the modern boundary of Botley, within Curdridge.