Visit Hamphire
Catergories: Activitiesthings to do

Discover what makes Hampshire extra special by planning your days out around some of our top wildlife encounters. Whether you know your thing when it comes to flora and fauna or are a novice, there are some fascinating opportunities to get close to, and learn more about Hampshire’s wildlife.

Here are some of our top places in Hampshire for wildlife encounters:

New Forest Reptile Centre, nr Lyndhurst

Sand lizards at New Forest Reptile Centre

During the summer months, the New Forest Reptile Centre opens up in the heart of the New Forest National Park. Here, you can find out more about Britain’s native reptiles and lizards, including the UK’s only venomous snake, the adder. 

The outdoor viewing pods give excellent close-up chances to see the various species. Entry is free but donations are welcome. 

Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, Fareham

Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, Hampshire

Titchfield Haven is a nationally renowned wetland nature reserve with a rich habitat of rivers, marshlands, and scrapes. It’s excellent for birdwatching and attracts thousands of visitors each year hoping to spot a rare species.

The reserve features 7 hides, allowing the chance to view ducks, geese and wading birds in the winter months and birds such as the rare avocet in the summer. Added to this, look out for dragonflies and water voles on the 2-mile canal stretch.  

For younger visitors, Activity Backpacks offer plenty of opportunities to explore, with binoculars, a magnifying glass, brass rubbing kit and a scavenger hunt activity.

Wild New Forest Nature Walks, various locations, New Forest National Park

Join Wild New Forest for one of their guided nature walks taking you through the heart of the New Forest National Park. 

Whether you opt to take one of their New Forest Discovery Walks, where you will learn a lot about some of the special and unique wildlife of the New Forest National Park, or choose to go onto a dawn or dusk birdwatching experience, you are in for a treat. 

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey

Pond dipping at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Hampshire

During the spring and summer school holidays, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens often runs pond dipping sessions for children. 

Located at the Education Garden’s ponds, book your children on to find out what’s lurking in the garden’s ponds. See if you can find diving beetles, nimble pond skaters and slimy snails. 
All equipment is provided. Bookings need to be made on the day at the admissions desk. 

Lepe Country Park, New Forest

Lepe Country Park, Hampshire

With its seaside location, Lepe Country Park lends itself to having a variety of habitats for nature. 

Events run throughout the year at Lepe Country Park including ranger tours, birdwatching sessions and seaside scavenger hunts. 

A bird hide is accessible all year round. Key times of year for birdlife include spring, when you may be lucky enough to see returning migratory birds along the North Solent National Nature Reserve and Dark Water Estuary and winter, which sees the return of wintering birds such as Dark Bellied Brent Geese.

During the summer months, take a stroll through the wildflower meadows to catch glimpses of bees and butterflies seeking nectar from the abundance of flowers.  

Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve, nr Romsey

Goose at Fishlake Meadows, Hampshire

This large nature reserve (managed by both Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Test Valley Borough Council) is made up of a mix of open water, reedbed, fen and wet meadow that is criss-crossed by channels and ditches.

The River Test passes through the reserve, and is a habitat for otters, kingfishers and over twenty species of dragonfly and damselfly. 

In autumn, osprey are known to stop over on their way to wintering grounds in west Africa.

Hawk Conservancy Trust, nr Andover

Owl at the Hawk Conservancy Trust, Hampshire

Discover more about native and non-native birds of prey on a visit to the Hawk Conservancy Trust. Be sure to check out the flying displays, where you will have close encounters, and lots of information about some of the species that reside at the Trust. 

The Trust also rehabilitates native species of bird of prey, at the National Bird of Prey Hospital, found onsite. Added to this, the Trust is committed to many conservation projects involving birds of prey both in the UK and abroad.  

During the summer months, we’d also recommend exploring Reg’s Wildflower Meadow, which becomes a haven for wildflowers and grasses and supports a variety of species of insect and butterfly and in turn, birds such as swallows and swifts. 

Looking for other ways to connect to nature in Hampshire?

Discover top places for wildlife spotting in Hampshire
Read our blog on Wild Wellness in Hampshire
Find out about the best remote places to stay in Hampshire


New Forest Reptile Centre
Sand lizards on a tree at New Forest Reptile Centre

Come and discover some of the UK's native reptile and lizard species at this fascinating centre in the heart of the New Forest.  Free admission, donations welcome.

Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve
Wildlife Centres & Nature Reserves
Family at Titchfield Haven

Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve is a wetland nature reserve with a rich habitat of rivers, marshlands and scrapes. It is excellent for birdwatching and attracts many people hoping to spot a rare species. From any of the eight easy-to-access viewing hides visitors can see all kinds of wildlife such as deer, foxes and wetland plants.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

The magnificent Sir Harold Hillier Gardens is world famous for its arboretum and gardens – set over 180 acres of rolling Hampshire countryside; this garden is stunning whatever the season.

Lepe Country Park
Country / Royal Park
Lepe Country Park Visitor Centre

Lepe Country Park has something for everyone. The long stretch of shingle beach is popular with kite surfers and wind surfers, families and holidaymakers. From the shoreline you can look across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Watch yachts, ferries and cargo ships on their way to and from the harbours and marinas dotted along the south coast.

Hawk Conservancy Trust
Animal Collection / Zoo
Owl's at the Hawk Conservancy Trust

The Hawk Conservancy Trust is a full day out for the whole family. Come see our brilliant birds at some of the most spectacular flying displays in the UK, changing with the seasons so you’ll experience something new every time you visit! See up to 20 birds flying at once, dramatic effects and music during the shows.