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Things to do in Hampshire


Hampshire is an attractive county on the south coast of England. The County has a wide range of landscapes, and a rich variety of flora and fauna.

Over one third of Hampshire is covered by the New Forest and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Solent and its associated rivers is one of the premier yachting and cruising areas in the world, one of Hampshire's greatest attractions.

The Rivers Test and Itchen are renowned for the quality of their fishing and the Basingstoke Canal has been restored to provide leisure facilities. Picture courtesy Britain on View.

The countryside around Aldershot, Basingstoke and Fleet, in the north of the County, is a delight, with ancient royal hunting grounds of forest and heath land, spectacular down lands, miles of leafy country lanes and a treasury of English villages.

This is excellent walking and cycling country, with a wide range of outdoor pursuits. Events occur throughout the year and there are many all weather activities for families.

Picture courtesy Britain on View.East Hampshire has perfect walking, cycling and riding country with around 500 miles of footpaths and bridle-ways, the hanging woods (known as hangers), and the chalk down-lands of the South Downs.

For shopping opportunities, visit the thriving market towns of Alton and Petersfield.

Discover a variety of visitor attractions from museums and country parks to steam railways and secret gardens. Enjoy self-guided literary walks tracing the footsteps of famous writers including Jane Austen, Gilbert White and Flora Thompson.

Picture courtesy Britain on View.The County town of Winchester, situated on the edge of the South Downs, surrounded by meadows and watercress beds was once England's ancient capital and former seat of King Alfred the Great. Winchester, famed as the start of the Pilgrim's Way, is now a stopping point on many long distance walks. A visit to Winchester is a must, to see the magnificent Cathedral and many historic attractions. You will find Hampshire Tourist Information in the town at the Guildhall, Broadway.

The attractive market towns of Andover and Romsey are situated in the Test Valley. The area is characterised by its wonderful countryside, varied landscape and gentle climate, an ideal all year round location for walking, cycling and exploring the history and heritage of Southern England.

Picture courtesy Britain on View.In the south of the County the vibrant city of Southampton is a popular leisure and cultural destination. Southampton Maritime Museum tells the story of this important port. Also, Portsmouth has a vast choice of attractions such as Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which includes Nelson's Victory and The Mary Rose.

Hayling Island, Havant and Emsworth are on the southern coast of Hampshire, often referred to as the Oyster coast, an unspoilt haven for those in search of tranquillity and relaxation. Picture courtesy Britain on View.Discover the fabulous quayside villages of Langstone and Emsworth, with great places to eat and fantastic views of the harbours.

Hayling Island has Blue Flag beaches, and is the place for windsurfing and water-sports. Windsurfing marathons and sailing championships take place in and around Hayling Island throughout the year, and even the inexperienced water-sport enthusiast can feel confident about having a go as, Hayling Island has some very safe waters to practice in.

Picture courtesy Britain on View.In southwest Hampshire you can enjoy an unique experience discovering the New Forest. The landscape is unique and traditions exist unchanged since mediaeval times; ponies and cattle still have the right of way as they freely graze the land. This ancient part of England is not entirely covered by forest, the area offers attractions for everyone. Lyndhurst is known as the 'Capital' of the Forest area (since William the Conqueror established the area as a royal hunting ground in 1079), and Ringwood is a traditional New Forest market town.

Picture courtesy Britain on View.One of the more famous attractions in Hampshire, in the heart of the New Forest, is Beaulieu - a wonderful combination of the National Motor Museum, 14th century Palace House, and the ruins of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1204. If that isn't enough, there's also Beaulieu Village and Buckler's Hard to visit nearby.

Find out more about Hampshire at www.hants.gov.uk

Days out in Hampshire

  • Aldershot Military Museum
    Welcome to Aldershot Military Museum & Rushmoor Local History Gallery housed in the only surviving brick-built barrack blocks left in Aldershot. Built in 1894, these bungalow-type buildings once covered the whole of North Camp.
    Aldershot Military Museum
  • Andover Museum & The Museum of The Iron Age
    Trace Andover's history from Saxon times to the present day. Step inside the Museum of the Iron Age and discover a way of life that was destroyed by the Romans
    Andover Museum & The Museum of The Iron Age
  • Avon Heath Country Park
    The large areas of heathland are scattered with trees, while purple banks of flowering heather provide a stunning sight in the summer. You may also be lucky enough to see some of the rare birds.
    Avon Heath Country Park
  • Beaulieu
    A unique day out in the heart of the New Forest. The list of things to see is as varied as its history which beckons you from across the centuries.
  • Breamore House & Museum
    The magnificent Manor House is set above the picturesque village of Breamore, overlooking the avon Valley on the edge of the New Forest just north of Fordingbridge.
    Breamore House & Museum
  • Broadlands
    Broadlands is to undergo major remedial work over the next two years and of necessity this means that the House and Mountbatten Exhibition will be closed to the public until 2012.
  • Bucklers Hard Maritime Museum
    Buckler's Hard is a picturesque 18th century village on the banks of the Beaulieu River in the heart of the New Forest. Historically, it is famed as the place where some of Nelson's fleet were built for Trafalgar
    Bucklers Hard Maritime Museum
  • D-Day Museum & Overlord Embroidery
    D-Day was the turning point of the Second World War. Allied troops landed in occupied France as the first stage towards the defeat of the Nazi regime in Germany.
    D-Day Museum & Overlord Embroidery
  • Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway
    Eastleigh Lakeside Railway started running in the summer of 1992 on a short and temporary track at Lakeside Country Park. The park is owned by Eastleigh Borough Council and the lakes were created from gravel workings when the M27 was built nearby.
    Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway
  • Eastleigh Museum
    Take a tour through Eastleigh's past and discover what life was like in the 1930s with our recreation of a local engine driver's family home.
    Eastleigh Museum
  • Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway
    A visit to Exbury is unforgettable. Created by Lionel de Rothschild in the 1920s, the Gardens are a stunning vision of his inspiration, offering 200 acres of natural beauty and horticultural variety.
    Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway
  • Finkley Down Farm Park
    There's so much to see and do at Finkley Down Farm Park. You can feed the ducks, hold a rabbit or groom a pony.
    Finkley Down Farm Park
  • Furzey Gardens
    These informal gardens were first planted in 1922 and are renowned for their all year round beauty.
    Furzey Gardens
  • Hawk Conservancy Trust
    The Hawk Conservancy has grown to become one of the major collections in the world.
    Hawk Conservancy Trust
  • Highclere Castle
    Highclere Castle, the family home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, is located in Hampshire near the town of Newbury. It is the fantastic setting of the popular television series Downton Abbey.
    Highclere Castle
  • Hinton Ampner Garden
    Hinton Ampner is one of the great gardens of the 20th-century. It is a masterpiece of design by Ralph Dutton, 8th and last Lord Sherborne, uniting a formal layout with varied and informal plantings in pastel shades.
    Hinton Ampner Garden
  • Itchen Valley Country Park
    With 440 acres of woodland and meadows adjoining the River Itchen to explore, the Park is an ideal place for a family day out.
    Itchen Valley Country Park
  • Jane Austen's House Museum
    Jane Austen's House Museum is housed in a charming red-brick seventeenth-century house, It was Jane's last home, where she lived with her mother and sister Cassandra from 1809 until 1817.
    Jane Austen's House Museum
  • Lakeside Country Park
    Lakeside Country Park is 60 acres of lakes, wet meadow and woodland situated between Eastleigh and Southampton.
    Lakeside Country Park
  • Longdown Activity Farm
    Longdown Activity Farm is perfect for a family day out. The daily timetable is packed with activities, which run throughout the day.
    Longdown Activity Farm
  • Marwell Wildlife
    Marwell Wildlife is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats both locally and internationally.
    Marwell Wildlife
  • Mary Rose Museum
    During action in 1545, Henry VIII's favourite warship, the Mary Rose, sank in the Solent with over 400 men on board. 437 years later, the world held its breath as she was finally recovered.
    Mary Rose Museum
  • Mottisfont Abbey Garden, House and Estate
    This 12th-century Augustinian priory was converted into a private house after the Dissolution and still retains the spring or "font" from which its name is derived. The abbey contains a drawing-room decorated by Rex Whistler.
    Mottisfont Abbey Garden, House and Estate
  • Portsmouth City Museum & Records
    Stroll through a 17th century Stuart bedroom, a 19th century Dockworker's kitchen, an art deco dining room and a 1950's living room.
    Portsmouth City Museum & Records
  • Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
    No visit to Southern England is complete without a great day out at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
    Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
  • Rockbourne Roman Villa
    Why not visit the remains of the largest known Roman villa in the area?
    Rockbourne Roman Villa
  • Royal Marines Museum
    The Royal Marines Museum celebrates the history of the Royal Marines from their origins in 1664 as Sea Soldiers through to their roles in Trafalgar, China, the Falklands and the Gulf with a series of interactive displays.
    Royal Marines Museum
  • Southampton Maritime Museum
    The Wool House was built as a warehouse for the medieval wool trade. Now it is a museum telling the story of the port of Southampton.
    Southampton Maritime Museum
  • Southsea Castle
    Southsea Castle was built by Henry VIII between 1544 and 1545 to protect Portsmouth against possible French invasion. Its revolutionary design provided for the most efficient use of guns in attack or defence.
    Southsea Castle
  • St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery
    The St Barbe Museum tells the story of the area between the New Forest and the Solent.
    St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery
  • Staunton Country Park
    At Staunton Country Park there is something for all the family, including farm, follies and fabulous glasshouses.
    Staunton Country Park
  • The Vyne
    Step into another world when you visit this richly historic house in a glorious, unspoilt setting, and discover a wealth of rare treasures and domestic features.
    The Vyne
  • Tudor House Museum
    Tudor House Museum re-opens in summer 2011.Tudor House is arguably Southampton's most important historic building, encompassing over 500 years of history on one site.
    Tudor House Museum
  • Willis Museum
    Travel back in time, and experience some of the major changes that have created the Basingstoke that we know today.
    Willis Museum
  • Winchester Cathedral
    Winchester Cathedral has its origins in the 7th century when a Christian Church was first built on this site. Since then the Cathedral has played a fundamental part in the life of this ancient City and a role in the history of our nation.
    Winchester Cathedral
  • Winchester City Mill & Shop
    Positioned over the River Itchen the mill was rebuilt in 1744 using materials dating back to the 15th century. There is a delightful island garden and an impressive millrace and restored waterwheel.
    Winchester City Mill & Shop

Places to Visit in Hampshire

  • Aldershot
    Known as the Home of the British Army, the town of Aldershot in Hampshire is in a pleasant urban location, 37 miles southwest of London.
  • Alton
    Alton is a charming old town Hampshire, famous for its college and its connections with the murdered 8-year-old girl called Fanny Adams.
  • Andover
    Andover in Hampshire is situated on the River Anton, 13 miles northwest of Winchester it has just over 52,000 residents.
  • Basingstoke
    Basingstoke is a progressive modern-day town in north east Hampshire, 48 miles south west of London.
  • Bedhampton
    The village of Bedhampton is now a conservation area, with country lanes and winding streams. Still standing is the Norman church of St. Thomas the Apostle and also the Old Mill House where John Keats once stayed.
  • Blackwater
    The small town of Blackwater is in north east of Hampshire near the border with both Surrey and Berkshire.
  • Brockenhurst
    The small town of Brockenhurst is four miles south of Lyndhurst in the centre of the New Forest, Hampshire.
  • Eastleigh
    The leafy town of Eastleigh lies between Southampton and Winchester on the River Itchen in Hampshire.
  • Emsworth
    Emsworth is a picturesque little fishing village with narrow streets, Georgian houses, high walled gardens and swans on the mill pond. Emsworth was the home of PG Wodehouse.
  • Fareham
    The moderately sized town of Fareham lies between Southampton and Portsmouth in south east Hampshire.
  • Farnborough
    Farnborough in Hampshire is best known for its air show. The town is situated about 34 miles southwest of London, close to the M3.
  • Fleet
    Fleet is a dramatically growing town in the borough of Hart. It's held to be one of the best place in the country to live for quality of life, amenities and services.
  • Gosport
    The town of Gosport is on the south coast of Hampshire bordering Portsmouth Harbour.
  • Hamble-le-Rice
    The very name Hamble-le-Rice conjures up images of a peaceful backwater village in an idyllic beauty spot, and that is exactly what it is.
  • Hartley Wintney
    Situated in the county of Hampshire, Hartley Wintney is a large village on the River Hart. It is located between Basingstoke and Camberley.
    Hartley Wintney
  • Havant
    Once a leading leather, glove and parchment-making centre, Havant evolved around an ancient network of springs and an old Roman crossroads which linked Arundel to Winchester and Hayling Island to Rowlands Castle.
  • Kings Somborne
    King's Somborne is a pretty and peaceful village nestling in the Test Valley three miles to the south of Stockbridge in Hampshire. It is recorded in the Doomsday Book, where its name was Somborne Regis.
    Kings Somborne
  • Langstone
    The Ship Inn and the Royal Oak on the harbour side at Langstone are said to have once been smuggler's haunts.
  • Liss
    Close by the A3 London to Portsmouth Rd. lies the large East Hampshire Village of Liss, dating back to medieval times and mentioned in the Domesday Book.
  • Lyndhurst
    Lyndhurst is a delightful village situated in the New Forest in Hampshire. It is nine miles from Southampton.
  • Marchwood
    Marchwood has a sailing club and small Marina, it has a village centre with bakery, supermarket, PO, beauty parlour and hairdressers. a fish and chip shop and Chinese TA also! Marchwood has several recreational open spaces.
  • Portchester
    Portchester is a coastal suburb of Portsmouth in Hampshire, situated on the busy A27 between Portsmouth and Southampton.
  • Portsmouth
    Famous for its Royal Naval base, historic dockyard and its football club, Portsmouth is a well-known port city in Hampshire on the south coast of England.
  • Southampton
    Southampton has been an important port for centuries, situated on Englands south coast and is a fascinating place to visit.
  • Southsea
    Southsea is a coastal town at the southern tip of Portsea Island near Portsmouth in Hampshire.
  • Swanmore
    Swanmore is a small village set amid beautiful countryside in rural Hampshire. It's a pleasant place with a good atmosphere and friendly people.
  • Totton
    Totton is a small town in Hampshire, separated from Southampton by the River Test.
  • Warblington
    Once an old Saxon village, Warblington is now pretty much deserted. All that remains are the ruins of a 16th century castle, standing alone in a farmer's field.
  • Waterlooville
    Waterlooville is essentially a community shopping centre, Waterlooville has plenty to offer the visitor also, there are often special shopping events taking place.
  • Winchester
    The cathedral city of Winchester is in Hampshire, bordering on the scenic South Downs.
  • Winchfield
    The small village of Winchfield is in southeast Hampshire, eight miles east of Basingstoke.

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