WHETHER YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A RURAL RETREAT, ACTIVE BREAK OR A CULTURAL AND ENRICHING EXPERIENCE, HAMPSHIRE IS THE PLACE TO VISIT!
The county of Hampshire on the southern coast of England comprises of many districts including Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester, offering visitors the chance to learn about local history, indulge in a variety of fresh local food and unwind and relax on the beaches; making it the perfect getaway, no matter what kind of holiday you are looking for!
Why not begin your visit with some history and explore Winchester Cathedral – one of the largest cathedrals in England.
Before heading over to Hampshire’s Living History Museum in Basingstoke, where you can have a truly interactive historical experience, complete with costumed actors. For those with a passion for military history, you will be amazed by Winchester’s six military museums, as well as the Royal Marines Museum at Southsea, where there are regular mock battles and fun for all the family.
Hampshire is also associated with one of the most famous ships in history – the Titanic. The ocean liner set sail from Southampton over 100 years ago, and is regularly remembered in this district through art exhibitions and parades. A must-see for military fans is Her Majesty’s Naval Base in Portsmouth, which is one of only three British Royal Navy bases still in use.
If literary is more your thing, then you will not be left disappointed, as Hampshire is the birthplace of the infamous Jane Austen. Explore her home in Chawton, which is now a captivating museum and see the place where she wrote many of her novels including Pride and Prejudice or take a Jane Austen tour, where you can explore her life and work first-hand. Charles Dickens was also born in Hampshire, a county that gave him much inspiration whilst penning his novels.
Explore these literary legends for yourself, or better yet, take inspiration from the great Hampshire landscape to serve as a backdrop for creating something great of your own.
For more family orientated activities, you’ll be spoilt for choice with how to spend your time. With a number of fun attractions on offer you can start by visiting the animals at Marwell Zoo, or by taking long afternoon walks at the New Forest Wildlife and National Park. The Blue Reef Aquarium will offer hours of fun, as you come face to face with colourful tropical fish, while sharks and stingrays pass by or for a more personal experience, head over to Longdown Activity Farm, where you can feed baby animals and see lemurs, monkeys, deers, lions and tigers in their habitat.
The Hampshire coastline hosts one of the largest annual water sports festivals in the UK and boasts perfect beaches for windsurfing. Home to one of the biggest outdoor activity centres in England, Calshot Activity Centre, has a wide range of activities such as rock climbing, cycling, archery and skiing. If you prefer something less daring, then there are many popular walking paths to explore on the coastline with stunning views.
If you want to kick back and relax then no visit to Hampshire is complete without visiting Hayling Island. Regarded as one of the best beaches around, you can take a dip in the cool and crisp water before relaxing on the sandy beach in the sun.
For a more different bathing experience, visit the oldest open air baths in the UK and take a dip in the Lymington Sea Water.
It is said that the mud in these baths contain health boosting minerals and salt.
Take a wander around the vibrant farmers’ markets, where high quality local food is plentiful. You can find anything from fresh bread, fruit, vegetables, jams, chutneys, chocolates, and meat, alongside a range of local and organic produce, such as Hampshire’s award-winning cheeses, honey and beer.
Hampshire has a history with celebrity chefs and is home to a number of award-winning restaurants, including Raymond Blanc’s renowned Brasserie Blanc in Winchester.
If you want to sharpen your cooking skills, there are many cookery demonstrations and short courses available, making it a perfect activity no matter what time of the year! Enjoy food tastings, old fashioned sweet shops, and even a food-themed ride on the renowned Watercress Line steam railway.
With high quality restaurants, traditional pubs, beaches and history, visitors will never get bored in this part of the country! Offering timeless attractions and unique and unforgettable experiences, Hampshire is a place well worth visiting.