Explore The Coast

Explore The Coast

Car-free days out in Hampshire

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Sit back and enjoy the journey, be kind to the environment, avoid the traffic, and perhaps even savour a local glass of wine along the way…there are so many great reasons to explore without your wheels, and there are plenty of fun and easy ways to go car-free on days out in Hampshire.

New Forest Tour

Hop on the New Forest open top bus

The New Forest Tour hop-on, hop-off open top bus service is an excellent car-free way to travel around and take in the views of the National Park with three inter-connecting circular routes linking attractions, accommodation, towns, and villages throughout the summer (1 July to 17 September 2023).

You can join the New Forest Tour bus routes via mainline train stations such as Brockenhurst or you can travel for free on either the Hythe Ferry from Southampton or a connecting bus service to access the Tour.

The service is a great way to explore pretty New Forest towns and villages like Beaulieu, Lyndhurst, Lymington, Fordingbridge, and Burley, or to connect a walk or a bike ride through the stunning National Park.

You can take your bikes on the buses and some places in the New Forest (including the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, New Forest Activities, and New Forest Wildlife Park) offer discounts if you arrive on the bus.  

Find out more about the New Forest National Park 

South Downs Walking

Ramble along the South Downs

The South Downs National Park has 3300km of footpaths, bridleways, and byways to discover and walking, cycling, or taking the South Downs Rambler bus (running every Sunday from 23 July to 24 September 2023) are great car-free ways to explore.  

The scenic South Downs Rambler bus service connects walks, bike rides, villages, and attractions between Winchester and Petersfield train stations including the Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, Cheesefoot Head, Hinton Ampner, Old Winchester Hill, East Meon, and West Meon.

Find out more about the South Downs National Park 


Visit historical Winchester by train

Just an hour from London by train, Winchester makes for a marvellous car-free day out with thousands of years of history and culture packed into an accessible ancient capital city easily explored by foot.

From the train station, walk down to the city centre via the Great Hall (home to King Arthur’s legendary Round Table), continue down the High Street under the historic medieval gates of the Westgate Museum, turn into The Square at the Buttercross and prepare to be wowed by Winchester Cathedral.

Continue beyond the Cathedral and step further through time at Priors Gate and on to the ruins of Wolvesey Castle, spotting Jane Austen’s last residence on College Street along the way.

Blended with historic architecture at every turn, Winchester has incredible independent shops to peruse, excellent eateries, and a wonderful café culture to appreciate after taking in the city’s sights.

Find out more about Winchester

watercress line

Take a steam train journey on the Watercress Line

Sit back and enjoy the golden age of travel on Hampshire’s heritage steam railway the Watercress Line. Connected at the mainline Alton Station, hop aboard a nostalgic Watercress Line train to Alresford station taking in the lush countryside along the way. This heritage steam railway makes for a magical day out and the chance to travel back in time journeying on one of the lovingly restored locomotives and carriages. 

Spend the afternoon exploring the market town of Alresford famed for its fresh watercress and meander the boutique shops and restaurants housed in its pretty pastel Georgian high street.   

If you’re out cycling, you can take your bike at no charge on the Watercress Line trains, subject to capacity.

Find out more about the Watercress Line


Spend the day in Portsmouth: the great waterfront city

The great waterfront city of Portsmouth is connected in many car-free ways including a park and ride service and ferry connections to the Isle of Wight and Europe – but one of the best ways to visit the city is by train.

Portsmouth Harbour station is sandwiched between Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Gunwharf Quays, both just a few minutes’ walk straight off the train.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is the UK’s premier destination for naval history where visitors can step on board world-famous ships, including Nelson’s famous flagship HMS Victory, and the world-renowned Mary Rose Museum. During the summer and weekends, the Portsmouth Harbour Waterbus links the Dockyard’s attractions across the water in Gosport.

Gunwharf Quays is a waterfront outlet shopping destination where you can shop over 90 brands and dine alongside the marina location, and perhaps end the day with a cocktail from the new Sky Bar at the top of the Spinnaker Tower.

Find out more about Portsmouth


Take in the cultural city of Southampton

Take the train to the city of Southampton for a cosmopolitan and cultural day out. A short walk from Southampton Central station, the SeaCity Museum houses a permanent exhibition of Southampton's Titanic story and, next door, Southampton City Art Gallery holds one of the finest collections of art in the south of England and is free to visit.

Further downtown, the modern Westquay shopping centre rubs shoulders with the city’s old walls and is a great place to eat with a choice of restaurants overlooking the regular events that take place on the esplanade below.

Walk off your lunch with a wander along the city's old walls, a 1km circuit taking in hidden vaults, watch towers, and hole in the wall pubs.

Find out more about Southampton

Low-carbon travel to and around Hampshire 

It’s easy to travel to Hampshire by train with direct trains to Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton, and Portsmouth from London as well as nationwide connections and services linking stations across the county.  

Bus travel is also a great car-free way to get around Hampshire with main bus services operated by Stagecoach, First Group and Blue Star. There are also Park and Ride services that operate in Winchester, Portsmouth, and Basingstoke.

Find out more about green tourism in Hampshire and how you can reduce your carbon footprint while visiting the county

Find out more about travelling to and around Hampshire 

Maps of Hampshire   

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