Get inspired by visiting the best of Hampshire

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Get inspired by visiting the best of Hampshire

Hampshire is the perfect blend of city, coast and country. Situated on the south coast of England, just one hour from London, it comprises of three cities - Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester, and is spoilt with two National parks, the New Forest and South Downs. Check out this ultimate guide to the beautiful region, created by our partners at Visit Hampshire.

Hampshire has an abundance of things to do, you’ll never be bored with attractions for all interests and ages.

If travelling with the family, a great place to start is taking in the spectacular views from 100m up in the air from the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, on a clear day you can view up to 23 miles, spot the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Isle of Wight.

If you are looking for something a little more thrill-seeking, head to the family theme park, Paultons Park, it’s also great for smaller children too as it’s home to Peppa Pig World.

Winchester Science Centre will help spark your little one’s imagination in science, there are lots of hands-on and interactive exhibits and a 360° planetarium, where visitors will have a truly immersive journey through the solar system.

There are so many activities to keep you busy whether that’s high ropes at one of the Go Ape centres, getting on the water in a Kayak or SUP with New Forest Activities.

There’s plenty for adults to do too… why not visit one of the many award-winning vineyards in Hampshire or visit the Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Whitchurch where you can learn about the gin-making process.  Visit the iconic Winchester Cathedral, which has the longest nave in Europe, with many events happening throughout the year, a must not miss is the stunning Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market which begins in late November.

Follow in the footsteps of Hampshire author Jane Austen with a visit to her former home, now an intimate museum in the village of Chawton, in east Hampshire. Spend time exploring the rooms in which she used to live and write and see some of the fascinating artefacts she once owned.  Within the village is Cassandra’s Cup a quaint café named after Jane’s sister, also visit Chawton House Library which Jane Austen called the “grand house” and was her brother Edward’s home. 

Jane fell in love with the Hampshire countryside, which inspired some of her work. So the perfect chance to soak up the scenery she enjoyed so much with a panoramic drive through the South Downs National Park to Winchester to continue your Jane Austen experience.

Winchester was the former Ancient Capital of England and the city has strong links with King Alfred and it is home to King Arthur’s legendary Round Table, based within the Great Hall. The city is a postcard picture of medieval cobbled streets, period buildings and historic attractions ripe for exploration.  Visit Winchester Cathedral, where you can visit Jane Austen’s grave and a permanent exhibition dedicated to her memory (Also pre-booked Jane Austen guided tours are available at Winchester Cathedral). Jane lived in the city for a short time before her death and burial in 1817.  There is a house on College Street where Jane Austen died, marked with a plaque (Please note it is not open to the public).

Soak up the delights of Hampshire’s New Forest National Park, a superb example of the quintessential English countryside, breath-taking scenery and unique wildlife.

Visit the world-famous 200-acre Exbury Gardens in the heart of the National Park. Explore the stunning collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, all located in a superb setting along the Beaulieu River. Once described as ‘heaven with the gates open’ Exbury Gardens was the inspiration of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, and his vision has made them what they are today.

Visiting the New Forest gives you a great opportunity to soak up the picturesque chocolate-box villages, cosy thatched pubs and wild ponies which adorn the heathland. Key photo opportunities can be found in the villages and towns of Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Lymington and Burley. Cycling in the New Forest offers plenty of diversity, whether you are looking for family-friendly car-free routes or road cycling on the quiet lanes, there’s something for everyone.

A must visit is the award-winning Beaulieu National Motor Museum. Uncover a fascinating collection of over 250 automobiles and motorcycles telling the story of motoring from when it began to the present day. Enjoy time to explore the on-site exhibitions such as James Bond and Top Gear, there are also ruins of Beaulieu Abbey, historic Palace House and the mono-rail which tours the Estate.

Visit the home of the fictional Grantham family at Highclere Castle, the backdrop for popular period drama Downton Abbey. Walk around the magnificent library, bedrooms, drawing room and entrance hall, now familiar to millions.

Away from the cameras, this superb country estate belongs to Lord and Lady Carnarvon, and their presence is felt around the house. From family photographs to painted portraits, visitors will gain an insight into how important this home has been to the Carnarvon’s over generations.

After a tour of the house, explore the extensive grounds, you can also decide to visit the Egyptian exhibition. Dedicated to the 5th Earl Lord Carnarvon who financed the expedition to find Tutankhamun.

Book your visit today!