Cycling in the South Downs National Park

Top 10 Free Days Out in Hampshire

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Limited budget? No problem. There are plenty of fabulous, fun, and free things to do in Hampshire.

Explore the county for less with our top 10 ideas for free days out in Hampshire.

Royal Victoria Country Park

Have an outdoor adventure at Hampshire’s country parks

Hampshire has a fabulous selection of country parks to explore, each offering a fantastic day out with plenty of adventure play parks, nature trails, picnic spots, BBQ areas, and even dog activity courses to discover in the gorgeous great outdoors. 

Try the Queen Elizabeth Country Park in the heart of the South Downs and climb Butser Hill, or take in the coast and countryside with the five-mile waymarked circular walk the Lepe Loop at Lepe Country Park.

New Forest Cycling

Go animal spotting in the New Forest National Park

When you cross the grids into the New Forest it won’t be long before you spot one of the National Park’s resident ponies, donkeys, pigs, or cattle who roam free amongst the ancient heaths and woodland.

Walk or cycle alongside the wildlife and count how many of the New Forest’s 3000 ponies you can spot. The National Park’s deer may be harder to find but at Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary there's a chance to spot them from a specially-constructed viewing platform. Look out for pigs too, especially during pannage in the New Forest when up to 600 pigs scour the forest floor to eat the seasonal acorns and nuts.

Jane Austen sign

Follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps

There are several free Jane Austen walks and trails tracing the literary heroine's footsteps in Hampshire. Jane Austen lived all but four years of her life in Hampshire and today you can relive her era by exploring the pretty village of Chawton where she lived, the nearby market town of Alton, and the city of Winchester where she spent the last weeks of her life.

Fort Nelson

Step back in time at Fort Nelson, Fareham

A visit to Fort Nelson is sure to capture the imagination. Home to the Royal Armouries’ national collection of artillery and historic cannon, this fully restored Victorian fort has high ramparts, original fortifications, a massive parade ground, and underground tunnels to explore – plus a national museum housing over 700 pieces of artillery from across the world and spanning 600 years of history.  Fort Nelson also hosts regular exhibitions, displays, and children’s activities.

Southampton Art Gallery

Admire art and walk the walls in Southampton

In the heart of the Southampton's cultural quarter, the Southampton City Art Gallery exhibits a diverse collection of fine art displayed under its atmospheric arches in part of Southampton’s Civic Centre.  The gallery offers an exciting programme of events throughout the year, from contemporary exhibitions to children’s activities.

After visiting the gallery, walk the medieval walls of Southampton following the city’s trail that takes you on a 1km circuit passing dungeons, watch towers with views of the docks, Tudor buildings, and hole in the wall pubs.

South Downs

Discover the South Downs by foot or bike

The South Downs National Park is free to explore, and its many pathways and trails make it the perfect place for a walk or cycle. Dotted with pretty villages and market towns, there's lots to discover during a visit here.

Walk or cycle along the 101 mile South Downs Way and enjoy some of England’s finest rolling countryside.

Hurst Spit

Get some sea air along Hampshire’s coast

Relax by the shore or go for a dip at one of the county’s many coastal areas. Hampshire has several beaches including the New Forest beaches of Barton on Sea, Milford on Sea and Lepe, and Hayling Island to the east of the county which holds a European Blue Flag beach award.

There are so many beautiful coastal walks to discover including a stroll along the coastal spit at Keyhaven to Hurst Castle and the coastal nature reserve at Titchfield Haven.

Netley Abbey

Spot global cruise ships at Netley Abbey, Southampton

Netley Abbey is the most complete surviving Cistercian monastery in southern England. Visitors can explore the ruins, a place which have inspired many poets in times gone by. Across the road from the abbey sits the popular pebbled beach of Weston Shore. It is here you find avid cruise ship spotters watching ships sail along the Solent, one of the best viewing points along the coast.


Have a traditional seaside day out in Southsea

The Portsmouth coastal resort of Southsea has traditional British waterfront charm, with a fresh air of trendiness brought by the increasing number of independent shops and eateries that now reside in this special slice of seaside England.

Walk, cycle, or skate along Southsea’s beautiful beach promenade, take a stroll down the South Parade Pier, or relax on the green space of Southsea Common home to beach volleyball courts, a splash park, and Southsea Skatepark.

Nearby Portsmouth is a pleasant 40 min walk along the seafront from Southsea via the cobbled streets of Old Portsmouth

Find the Gruffalo at Alice Holt Forest

Venture into the deep dark wood at Alice Holt Forest in north Hampshire and find the Gruffalo and other characters from Julia Donaldson's much-loved story.

The forest is a wonderful place to walk, cycle, play, or picnic with sculpture, play areas, and trails for everyone to enjoy.

Special Offers in Hampshire

Take a look at our special offers page for the latest discounts, money-off vouchers and promotions including 2 for 1s and kids go free. 

For more budget-friendly inspiration check out our 10 things to do for £10, 20 things to do for £20, and Things to do for £30 in Hampshire.