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Summer

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Unlock Summer with a visit to Hampshire and fall back in love with the great British holiday. We are spoilt with beautiful open spaces, amazing attractions, an abundance of accommodation and not to mention fabulous food and drink.

Throughout this summer we’re going to inspire and share the best things you can do in Hampshire, whether you’re here for a short break or day trip.

Unlock the best days out and shortbreaks in Hampshire by reading on and finding out about

  • Open spaces
  • Beaches
  • Know before you go information
  • Acommodation
  • City adventures
  • Instagramable towns and villages
  • Places to visit
  • Activities
  • Walking and hiking
  • Amazing attractions
  • Shopping
  • Food and drink
  • Travel information
  • Competitions
     

Win a Short Break to Hampshire. Enter the Competition at the bottom of this page


Unlock Hampshire’s Open Spaces

The New Forest National Park

The New Forest National Park


We are lucky to have the best of both coast and countryside, enabling you to explore our many and varied open spaces.

The New Forest National Park has stunning heathlands, forest trails, and the iconic New Forest ponies. There are plenty of self-catering and camping options available, giving you more time to explore a wealth of fantastic beauty spots and attractions. 

Discover things to do in the New Forest

South Downs National Park

Old Winchester Hill in the South Downs National Park
 

The South Downs National Park is located in east Hampshire and is quite different to its sister National Park the New Forest in the west. Its rolling chalk hills provide an excellent opportunity to venture on great walks or cycle rides, rewarding you with wonderful panoramic views.

Discover things to do in the South Downs


Unlock Hampshire's Beaches

Milford on Sea Beach

Milford on Sea beach


Hampshire’s beaches are one of the county’s best kept secrets.  They are not as well known as those in other traditional beach resorts, so benefit from being a little quieter but just as attractive. There are four main stretches of coastline, with a selection of beaches to ensure you get your 'vitamin sea': the New Forest, Lee-on-the-Solent, Southsea and Hayling Island

Discover all of Hampshire’s Beaches


 

We are Good To Go Logo


“We’re Good to Go” - Looking after you

Many of our tourism businesses are now open and are excited to welcome you. Visitors are at the heart of everything they do and they have been putting all the necessary steps in place to ensure your visit is safe and as much fun as possible. Businesses are adopting Visit England’s industry standard “We’re Good to Go”. The accreditation is given to businesses that are able to demonstrate adherence to Government and public health guidelines, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and have the necessary safety processes in place. If you are a regular visitor to Hampshire’s attractions or accommodation providers, you may see some changes to keep you and others safe compared to previous visits.
 

Know Before You Go Campaign Image


“Know Before You Go” – Check details and restrictions before travelling

You may be eager to visit the county and we want to help you responsibly enjoy your time here. We encourage all visitors to check ahead of travelling to see if there are any restrictions or special procedures in place. It could be that an attraction is only offering pre-booked tickets, a hotel may have a new check-in process or a restaurant is only taking card payments. Processes may differ between businesses.

We also urge visitors to “Respect, Protect and Enjoy” when visiting Hampshire. This can be done by treating your destination, like how you would like to find it. Therefore, maintaining social distancing guidelines, regular hand washing and leaving no trace by taking your litter home with you.

Follow Government guidance: Social distancing and hand washing remain the key two actions that can help protect everyone; and many businesses are providing extra hygiene COVID Secure protocols to help you stay safe. Please follow and respect any additional measures put in place. 

If you are feeling ill before your visit please do not travel. If you feel unwell on holiday you must immediately order a test and inform your accommodation provider.


Unlock Short Breaks and Accommodation

Glamping in Hampshire

Cedar Valley Glamping near East Meon in the South Downs National Park


If you are looking for a short break, we’ve got all accommodation options covered, from camping in the New Forest at picturesque sites such as Green Hill Farm, with its own lakes and woodland. Or 'glamp it up' at Cedar Valley in East Meon in the South Downs where you can choose to stay in a Safari tent, Mongolian Yurt or Betty the Bedford horse lorry.

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Southampton Harbour Hotel

Southampton Harbour Hotel
 

Hampshire has some of the most luxurious hotels in the country and an astonishing six 5-star hotels.  These include Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest where Resident Head Chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder create delicious locally sourced Italian dishes.

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Undercastle Cottage in The New Forest National Park

Undercastle Cottage in The New Forest National Park
 

If you are looking for a 'bolt-hole', there are plenty of self-catering options from cute country cottages to larger properties for the whole family to stay, such as Walnut Tree Cottage in Tiptoe, New Forest.

Top tip: Hampshire's three cities offer a huge choice of accommodation and all are in a great location to access our open spaces. Southampton is the perfect location to access the New Forest National Park, Portsmouth offers direct routes into the South Downs National Park and Winchester is in close proximity to both the Test Valley and South Downs National Park. 

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Unlock City Adventures

Winchester Cathedral in the city of Winchester

Winchester Cathedral in the city of Winchester


Winchester: This medieval cathedral city used to be the former capital of England and still retains its past charm. The city is the gastronomic capital of Hampshire with an abundance of delicious cafés and restaurants, including the Michelin starred Black Rat, Rick Stein and The Ivy Brasserie to name but few. The city is home to several visitor attractions, including King Arthur’s Round Table at the Great Hall and Winchester Cathedral.

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West Quay Shopping Centre in the city of Southampton

West Quay Shopping Centre in the city of Southampton
 

Southampton: This city is a shopper’s paradise with the West Quay Shopping Centre hosting many big brands including John Lewis, The White Company and Ikea. You’ll find an array of food and drink opportunities with cool cafés and restaurants offering menus from all over the world. Head to the waterfront setting at Ocean Village where you’ll find popular restaurants, bars and cinemas next to the marina. Explore the refurbished timber-framed Tudor House and Gardens in the Old Town and don't miss Sea City Museum which houses a permanent exhibition of Southampton's Titanic story.

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The water font and Spinnaker Tower in the city of Portsmouth

The waterfront and Emirates Spinnaker Tower in the city of Portsmouth
 

Portsmouth: This maritime city is action-packed city and combines an irresistible mix of heritage, culture, shopping, and entertainment. It is home to top attractions such as the iconic Emirates Spinnaker Tower and Gunwharf Quays, a premium retail and leisure destination. A must see is Portsmouth Historic Dockyard where you can walk aboard historic ships like Horatio Nelson’s HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the breath-taking Mary Rose. Don't miss the chance to explore the boutique shops and artisan cafes of Southsea or soak up the sun on the city’s Solent coastline beach.

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Instagramable Towns and Villages

The Town of Stockbridge in the Test Valley

The market town of Stockbridge in the Test Valley


Scattered throughout the county are beautiful towns and villages worthy of making your Instagram feed. Some of our favourites include Stockbridge in the Test Valley where you will find great pubs and independent boutique shops nestled alongside the River Test. Just off the High Street (South Side) is Stockbridge Common Marsh a great location for a walk and to take in a stunning stretch of the river and its wildlife.  

Lymington is famous for sailing due to its location on the Lymington River and New Forest coastline. Start on the High Street taking in Georgian architecture and then follow the road down picturesque Quay Hill where Victorian buildings line the cobbled streets. Don’t forget to pick up an ice cream along the way and eat it down by the quay. 

Alresford is a quaint town just east of Winchester, with many Georgian buildings in an array of colours. It has been named as one of the UK’s favourite market towns by Country Life magazine. Watercress has been farmed in the town for over a hundred years and there is even a heritage steam railway named after this ‘superfood’. The Watercress Line railway service runs between Alresford and Alton and pre-booking is required.

Jane Austen's House in Chawton

Jane Austen's House in the village of Chawton


Chawton in east Hampshire is where Jane Austen famously lived and wrote six of her most well-known novels. When you enter the village, you cannot miss Jane Austen’s House with its beautiful gardens. Jane Austen’s House is a visitor attraction so please check opening hours prior to visiting. There is a great selfie spot outside the house where a heritage road sign highlights the Jane Austen connections in the village. Jane’s brother’s home, Chawton House, is only a few minutes’ walk away. Jane referred to Chawton House as the Great House due to the size of the Elizabethan property along with its expansive gardens. Within the Chawton House estate you will find the quaint St Nicholas Church and a statue of Jane Austen. Chawton House’s cafe offers a great selection of teas and cakes perfect for a refreshment stop.


Other Places to Visit in Hampshire

Gosport Marina

Gosport Marina
 

Gosport: The waterfront town of Gosport sits on the edge of Portsmouth harbour and is steeped in fascinating history and heritage. It is home to several amazing museums including the Submarine Museum, the Hovercraft Museum and Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower. The town offers beautiful south facing beaches that look out over the Solent and is ideal for watersports such as kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.

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River Test in the Test Valley

The River Test at Longstock in the Test Valley
 

Test Valley: The scenic Test Valley sits within west Hampshire and is famous for the River Test that meanders through its ancient woodlands, tranquil water meadows and rolling chalk hills. You’ll find pretty thatched cottages and welcoming pubs in the Test Valley's picturesque villages. There are attractions for all ages, such as The Hawk Conservancy Trust, National Trust’s Mottisfont and Whitchurch Silk Mill.

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Cyclist at Ashford Hangers in East Hampshire

Cyclist at Ashford Hangers in East Hampshire
 

East Hampshire: East Hampshire offers spectacular South Downs hills, chalk streams and the water meadows of the Meon Valley.  It also home to Jane Austen’s House Museum at Chawton and Gilbert White's House and the Oates Collection in nearby Selborne. Throughout this part of Hampshire you'll find unspoilt villages, nature reserves and heritage sites.

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Hayling Island Beach

Hayling Island Beach
 

Hayling Island: The coastal town of Hayling Island combines all the attractions of a traditional seaside holiday with excellent sporting and leisure facilities. The island's miles of unspoilt coastline and countryside also offer a haven of peace and tranquillity, where visitors can walk, cycle or relax. Windsurfing was invented on Hayling Island and there are many opportunities to have a go at the sport as well as other watersports.

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Unlock Activities

Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Stokes Bay in Gosport

Stand up paddle boarding with Stoked Watersports at Stokes Bay, Gosport


If you want to get active this summer, head to the New Forest where you can walk or cycle along the hundreds of miles of tracks. If you fancy taking to the water, why not canoe down the Beaulieu River with New Forest Activities or Stand Up Paddle Board in Stokes Bay with Stoked Watersport or head to Hurst Castle with New Forest Paddle Sport Company.

Discover Activities and Sports 


Walking and Hiking


Walking in Hampshire

Walking in the South Downs National Park
 

Whether you are looking for a hike or a short walk in the countryside, we have a huge collection of walks that explore the whole of the county. There are family favourites such as the Bolderwood Deer Spotting Walk or The Meon Valley Trail, or long-distance walks such as the Test Way running from Eling in Southampton to Inkpen Beacon in the north of the county. Or perhaps pick a section of the iconic Solent Way which skirts the Hampshire coastline from Milford on Sea to Emsworth.

Discover great walks in Hampshire

Discover family walks


Unlock Amazing Attractions

Supersized Lego Model at Marwell Zoo

Supersized LEGO exhibtion at Marwell Zoo


Hampshire has over a hundred great attractions, many of which have now re-opened with additional safety precautions to ensure your visit is as safe and seamless as possible. Some attractions are only permitting visitors with pre-booked tickets so please check ahead of your visit.
 

Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park

Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park
 

Paultons Park have all their amazing rides and the acclaimed Peppa Pig World. Now, to save you time, limit physical queues around the park and to help maintain social distancing, Paultons Park have launched a virtual queueing app.  You can also use the app to order food! 

There are some exciting new exhibitions which have recently launched such as Marwell Zoo’s Supersized, which includes 40 brick models of giant animals throughout the zoo. The exhibition comprises of a three-metre high tarantula and a towering red spitting cobra.

Discover Family Attractions
 

Vintage bus at Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Beaulieu National Motor Museum in the New Forest
 

Beaulieu, home to the National Motor Museum have a nostalgic exhibition, Motoring in Miniature – The Toys of Your Childhood. There are over 800 toy cars and pedal cars as well as some from Lord Montagu’s own collection.  Beaulieu isn’t just a motor museum, it also has Palace House and beautiful gardens to explore.

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Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in the Test Valley

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in the Test Valley
 

Make the most of the outdoors this summer at one of Hampshire’s many stately homes and gardens. Unearth Exbury Gardens in the New Forest, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Mottisfont in the Test Valley. In the north of the county there’s the Vyne and West Green House Garden, whilst in east Hampshire there is Hinton Ampner.

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Discover More Things to Do in Hampshire
 

Photography Competition


Photography Competition Winner 2019 - Calshot Beach

2019 Photography Competition Winner - Sunrise at Calshot Beach


Attention Instagrammers and Photographers! The 2020 Summer Photography competition is now open. Think you have captured a great moment or summer scene enter our competition and be in with a chance to win a £100 John Lewis Voucher. Learn more

See the winners and runners up from previous years competitions. View past photography competitions

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Unlock Shopping

Shopping at Gunwharf Quays in the city of Portsmouth

Gunwharf Quays in the city of Portsmouth
 

If you're looking for shopping this summer, look no further than Hampshire. Our superb shopping facilities in Southampton, Portsmouth, Winchester and Basingstoke are among the best in the country and offer a winning combination of both high street brand name stores and smaller independent retailers.

In the city of Southampton you'll find the South Coast's Ikea and Westquay Shopping Centre which is home to over 80 stores including big brand names such as Lego, The White Company, Zara, John Lewis & Partners and Marks & Spencer. Westquay also has over 50 cafes, bars and restaurants with cuisine from all over the world from American and Italian to Thai and Mexican, so there’s something to tantalise all taste buds.

In Portsmouth you'll find Gunwharf Quays outlet shopping centre located on the historic waterfront, where you can shop at over 90 famous brands including Coach, North Face, The White Company, Hugo Boss and Nike.  You can grab a bite to eat in one of over 30 restaurants, bars and cafes and watch the boats go by as you take in the stunning marina location.

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Unlock Hampshire's Food and Drink


Pete Spade Pub in the Test Valley

The Peat Spade Inn in the Test Valley
 

Hampshire is a county well known for its great selection of local produce, fine dining restaurants, friendly cafes and cosy pubs. You can support many of Hampshire's eateries throughout August by taking part in the governments 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme. 

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Harbar on 6th at Southampton Harbour Hotel

Harbar on 6th at Southampton Harbour Hotel
 

Why not enjoy Hampshire's delicious food and drink in some of the best places to eat outdoors, whilst soaking up the sunshine. We have put together a guide to some of the top places in Hampshire you can sit outdoors, relax, and enjoy a bite to eat or a cooling drink. From great pub gardens, fine dining at country house hotels, gin and tonics by the sea to vibrant city centre outdoor café culture, Hampshire is a foodies dream. 

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Getting to Hampshire

Hampshire is very accessible, below are a sample average journey times by car:

Travel times by car to Hampshire


Getting Around Hampshire

Hampshire has an excellent road network linking our villages, towns, cities, attractions and places to stay.

Map of Hampshire showing key roads, towns and cities


Below is an example of journey times by car betweet our cities and towns. 

Table showing travel times in the county


 

WIN a Family Short Break to Hampshire

Millions of people each year head to Hampshire for a holiday or day trip, enjoying countryside including our two National Parks, the New Forest and South Downs, vibrant market towns, three historic cities; Southampton, Portsmouth and Winchester and the scenic Solent coastline. Now we are giving you the opportunity to win some great getaways and come and experience Hampshire for yourself.

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