Beaulieu, Home of the National Motor Museum

Discover Beaulieu, Home of the National Motor Museum

Zoos and Aquariums in Hampshire

Zoos and Aquariums in Hampshire

50 things to do this summer

50 things to do this summer

Paultons Theme Park Home of Peppa Pig World

Paultons Theme Park Home of Peppa Pig World

Family by HMS Warrior at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Family Attractions

Walks in the South Downs National Park

Walks in Hampshire

Things to Do in Hampshire

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If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday, short break or day out with great attractions, beautiful scenery, stunning coastline, excellent shops, lively markets and fine food, Hampshire is a must. Read on to discover some of Hampshire’s top things to do. 
 

The county's acres of beautiful scenery and two National Parks are a delight for nature lovers and if it’s coastline, castles or cannons you're after, our beaches and heritage sites are second to none. From award-winning country parks and independent shopping in historic market towns to cosy pubs serving delicious local produce, a short break in rural Hampshire will leave you feeling refreshed.


Explore Hampshire’s rich history

The historic city of Winchester, former capital of England, has a wealth of attractions to explore, from its magnificent Cathedral to The Great Hall, home to King Arthur’s legendary Round Table and the only surviving part of Winchester Castle. 

The maritime city of Southampton has strong links to RMS Titanic, a story which is told at state-of-the-art SeaCity Museum. Walk the 'Titanic Trail' and explore some key locations in the city which played a part in the infamous tragedy. 

Both cities are dotted with historic buildings. 

North Hampshire is home to the UK’s only working silk mill in Whitchurch. Discover how the 19th century machinery weaves English silk fabrics. If you enjoy living history, visit Milestones Museum in Basingstoke and stroll along period streets with traditional shops and houses. And step back in down at Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey was filmed. 


Jane Austen’s Hampshire

Discover Jane Austen’s extensive connections with Hampshire. Take a tour of Jane Austen’s House at Chawton, join in with some Jane Austen inspired events and see her final resting place at Winchester Cathedral.


Hampshire’s military museums 

Winchester is home to five superb military museums. Each museum is separately run and well worth a visit in its own right and you can easily combine a visit to all five to make a day out of them. 

The naval city of Portsmouth is a treasure trove of museums with a buzzing, vibrant atmosphere. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a must see for anyone visiting the area. It is home to the HMS Warrior, The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory and the newly revamped, multi-million pound Mary Rose Museum. Not far away, you will also find more nautical history at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport. 


Stately homes and gardens in Hampshire

The picturesque landscape of Test Valley has many great attractions, including the prized collections of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, near Romsey and the world famous rose gardens at the National Trust property, Mottisfont.

Just outside Basingstoke sits the National Trust property The Vyne, a red-bricked Tudor mansion built in the 16th century and in Southampton, you can step back in time at Tudor House and Garden, one of the oldest buildings in the city. It's located in the city's historic Old Town, a network of cobbled streets and medieval buildings. 

Natural history enthusiasts will love Gilbert White’s House & Garden and The Oates Collection. Find out about Reverend Gilbert White, the pioneering 18th century naturalist and Frank Oates, a 19th century explorer.

Make a trip to the New Forest to explore Exbury Gardens and the gardens and grounds of Beaulieu’s Palace House. 

Find out more about Hampshire's stately homes

Find out more about Hampshire's gardens


Outdoor activities in Hampshire

Quintessentially English, Hampshire’s countryside is the ideal rural escape, offering visitors the perfect place to relax and unwind away from urban life. The two National Parks, South Downs in the east and the New Forest in the west, are perfectly catered towards people who enjoy walking or cycling.

The picturesque landscape of Test Valley boasts clear chalk streams and chocolate-box thatched cottages. To the north of the county sits the North Wessex Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which is home to Watership Down, the inspiration for the famous novel and film.

The county also has an abundance of country parks dotted around the region. From coastal Lepe Country Park in the New Forest to Staunton Country Park in east Hampshire, take a picnic or enjoy a bike ride in one of these fabulous open spaces. If you like being outdoors there are plenty of activities to take part in across the county. From golf to horse riding and watersports to fishing, there is something from the calm to the exhilarating. 

The county’s coastline is popular with walkers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts and offers a variety of things to do in Hampshire. Hayling Island has one of the best beaches in the county, perfect for a fun day out by the seaside and an area well known for windsurfing and kitesurfing. 

If you like outdoor activities, head to Calshot, which is home to one of the south's biggest outdoor centres, Calshot Activities Centre. You'll also find lots of brightly coloured beach huts lining the seafront.


Family days out and animal attractions in Hampshire

There are lots of family-friendly things to do here in Hampshire from animal attractions to thrilling theme park rides. 

On the outskirts of Winchester, you will find 120 acres wildlife park at Marwell Zoo. Discover over 170 exotic and endangered species in this fabulous family friendly attraction as well as opportunities to get hands-on with pre-booked activities such as penguin encounters. 

Further north in Andover, the Hawk Conservancy Trust is set in 22 acres of woodland and wildflower meadows and there are over 150 birds of prey.

Along the southwest coast of the county, visitors can discover a host of exciting attractions in the New Forest National Park. Families will have the chance to meet Peppa Pig at Paultons Park – one of the most popular things to do with young children in Hampshire. Car fans can explore Beaulieu National Motor Museum and history enthusiasts can step back in time at Buckler’s Hard, an 18th century shipbuilding village. 

Portsmouth’s cityscape is dominated by the 170-metre-tall Spinnaker Tower, which offers fantastic views across Portsmouth Harbour and the Isle of Wight. Are you brave enough to stand upon the glass viewing area?


Interactive and speciality museums

Get hands-on with the exhibits at the Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium or step back in time and explore the cobbled streets and historic buildings of Basingstoke’s Milestones Museum. 

Learn about the history of the countryside at Manor Farm or dive in at the new 4D experience at Portsmouth’s Mary Rose Museum. 

Step back in time at the Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum, explore the Brickworks Museum and other speciality museums across our towns and villages. 

Find out more about Hampshire's museums


Walking in Hampshire

Embark on long distance walking trails along the South Downs Way, Test Way or Solent Way or take leisurely strolls and circular walks in our country parks or National Parks. There are walking routes to suit all abilities.


Cycling in Hampshire

Hampshire offers over 750 miles of off-road routes which are suitable for beginners through to passionate cyclists. 

Explore the South Downs National Park and the New Forest National Park by bike, join an organised cycling tour or follow some of the designated cycling routes. 

Find out more about cycling in Hampshire


Train rides in Hampshire

Hop aboard the historic Watercress Line at Alresford to enjoy the golden age of steam. Or sweep your way around Exbury Gardens in style on the narrow gauge railway. 


Hampshire boat tours

Take to Hampshire’s waters and see the coastline from a different angle on a boat tour. Take a historic tour aboard SS Shieldhall from her dock in Southampton, charter a boat from various harbours along Hampshire’s coast or join an organised boat tour from Buckler’s Hard or Lymington


Shopping in Hampshire

There are plenty of opportunities to indulge in shopping across Hampshire. Shopaholics will love Westquay Shopping Centre in Southampton, Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth and Festival Place in Basingstoke. If you are looking for a more unique shopping experience discover the pretty market towns of Romsey, Alresford, Stockbridge, Lymington and Petersfield or the medieval city of Winchester.


Discover more things to do in Hampshire

Find out more about all of the amazing things to do here in Hampshire by exploring our website further. Whether you are looking for things to do for free or money saving ideas or are after a treat for a special occasion, you will find activities and days out to suit all budgets and tastes. 

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