Days Out UK Travel

8 Best Places To Visit in Hampshire This Summer

Hampshire, a county located on the southern coast of England, is celebrated for its rich history, picturesque countryside, and vibrant cultural sites. As summer approaches, bringing with it long days and warm weather, there’s no better time to explore this diverse region. From historic cities and coastal escapes to countryside retreats, Hampshire offers a plethora of destinations for travellers and locals alike. Here are the eight best places to visit in Hampshire this summer for an unforgettable experience.

Winchester: The Historic City

Winchester is a must-visit for anyone interested in English heritage and architecture. This city was once the capital of England and remains home to some of the country’s most stunning mediaeval buildings including Winchester Cathedral and The Great Hall, which houses the legendary King Arthur’s Round Table. Summer events often include markets, outdoor concerts, and theatre performances, making it a lively centre for a day trip or longer stay.

Exploring Winchester Cathedral

This monumental Gothic cathedral is not only an architectural marvel but also a place of serene beauty and historical significance. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe and its origins trace back to 1079. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, which reveal the cathedral’s fascinating past and its role in English history.

The Great Hall and King Arthur’s Round Table

Another highlight of Winchester is The Great Hall, the only remaining part of Winchester Castle. It is famed for housing the mythical Round Table, which is said to be connected to King Arthur. This artefact, whether genuine or not, pulls in crowds from across the globe.

The New Forest National Park

For those who revel in outdoor activities and nature, The New Forest National Park offers a remarkable escape. This ancient woodland continues to be a sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife and offers countless trails for walking, cycling, and horse riding. The open heaths and forest glades are perfect for picnic gatherings, wildlife watching, and enjoying the outdoor air.

Wildlife Watching in the Park

The New Forest is home to the famous New Forest ponies, who roam freely around the area. Deer, owls, and other wildlife can also be frequently spotted. The park organises guided walks and talks which provide insights into the unique ecology of the area.

Outdoor Activities

From guided bike tours to horseback riding trails, the New Forest offers a multitude of ways to immerse oneself in nature. The more adventurous can even try their hand at bushcraft workshops or wild camping.

Portsmouth: A Maritime Haven

Portsmouth stands out as a prominent maritime city with centuries of naval history. The Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth displays the HMS Victory and the HMS Warrior 1860 amongst other naval artefacts. Meanwhile, the modernised Gunwharf Quays provides a comprehensive shopping and dining experience right by the sea.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Home to the Royal Navy, the Historic Dockyard is a treasure trove of British naval history. Here, visitors can board historic ships like the HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, and learn about their storied past faces.

Gunwharf Quays

After a day of maritime exploration, Gunwharf Quays offers a relaxing environment with its retail outlets, restaurants, and cinema. It’s a perfect spot to unwind, enjoy a meal, and watch the sunset over the harbour.

Exciting Escapes Portsmouth

For those looking for an engaging indoor activity, Exciting Escapes Portsmouth brings thrilling escape room experiences. These immersive games involve working out clues and solving puzzles in a themed room to ‘escape’ within a set time frame. It’s a great activity for families, friends, or team-building events.

The Isle of Wight

Just off the coast of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight is accessible via ferry and presents a wonderful getaway with its beautiful beaches, sailing opportunities, and festivals. During the summer, the island comes alive with events such as the Isle of Wight Festival, which attracts visitors from all around.

Beaches and Coastal Walks

The island boasts some of the best beaches in the UK, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the coast. Shanklin Beach and Ventnor Beach are particularly popular.

Sailing and Water Sports

Being an island, the Isle of Wight is an ideal location for sailing and other water activities. Numerous sailing schools and rental shops cater to all levels of experience, from beginners to seasoned sailors.

Jane Austen’s House in Chawton

Literature enthusiasts will find great joy in visiting Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, where the esteemed author spent the last eight years of her life and wrote or revised her major works. The house is now a museum dedicated to her life and legacy.

The Museum

The museum not only preserves the place where Jane Austen wrote but also offers insights into her life, the Regency period, and the themes that appear in her work. The charming garden is a highlight, often hosting readings and other literary events in the summer.

Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway

Located in the New Forest, Exbury Gardens is famous for its magnificent display of rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias. The steam railway within the gardens offers a unique 20-minute journey through beautiful landscapes, making it an attractive choice for families.

The Gardens

Visitors to Exbury can explore over 200 acres of landscaped woodlands and gardens, featuring colourful blooms and rare plants. The tranquil setting is ideal for a peaceful day’s outing.

The Steam Railway

The miniature steam railway is a delightful way to see the gardens. Ideal for both children and adults, the ride provides scenic views and is a favourite feature among visitors.

Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Car enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a trip to the Beaulieu National Motor Museum. This world-renowned museum features an impressive collection of over 250 vehicles from throughout automotive history.

The Motor Museum

Exhibits at Beaulieu encompass historic racing cars, classic automobiles, and iconic vehicles from film and television. Notably, the museum also delves into the future of mobility with displays on electric and alternative fuel vehicles.

Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey

Adjacent to the motor museum, visitors can explore Palace House, once the gatehouse of the mediaeval Beaulieu Abbey. It has been expanded and transformed into a fine Victorian country house, reflecting the lifestyle of the Montagu family who still owns it. The house is beautifully decorated and contains many original features, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of its era.

Beaulieu Abbey

Originally founded in 1204 by King John and later destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the ruins of Beaulieu Abbey are steeped in history. Managed by the Montagu family, visitors can learn about the life of the Cistercian monks who once inhabited this serene site. The abbey and its grounds provide a tranquil setting ideal for reflection and leisurely walks.

Lepe Country Park

Nestled on the coast of the New Forest, Lepe Country Park presents panoramic views of the Solent and is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking, and walking. During summer, it is a vibrant place of natural beauty offering a range of activities and stunning vistas.

Coastal Walks and Nature Trails

Lepe Country Park is known for its beautiful pebbled beach and the walking paths that run along the coastline and through the surrounding woodland. The park’s trails offer varied landscapes and several places to pause and enjoy the scenic views across to the Isle of Wight.

The Sensory Garden and The Lookout

The sensory garden is designed to appeal to all five senses, which makes it a fascinating visit for families, particularly those with young children. Near the sensory garden, The Lookout serves as a centre for learning about the local wildlife and habitats and also contains a café where visitors can enjoy refreshments with a view.

The Vyne

This impressive Tudor mansion operated by the National Trust is located near Basingstoke. With its extensive gardens and stunning woodlands, The Vyne offers a picturesque landscape for exploration and relaxation.

The House

Visitors to The Vyne can tour the historic house, which features a mixture of Tudor and later architectural styles, sumptuous interiors, and a remarkable collection of artworks and furnishings. The chapel, with its exquisite stained glass, is particularly notable.

Gardens and Woodlands

The Vyne is surrounded by pleasure gardens, walled gardens, and expansive woodlands. These areas are ideal for leisurely strolls or more vigorous walks. Additionally, the seasonal blooms and continual upkeep ensure that there’s always something new to see.

Archaeology and Restoration

Ongoing archaeological excavations and restoration projects at The Vyne provide fascinating insight into the preservation of historical sites. Visitors can sometimes watch live digs and learn about the methods used to preserve such estates for future generations.

Closing Thoughts

Hampshire offers a wealth of destinations that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you’re drawn to historic sites, natural beauty, maritime adventure, or literary connections, this diverse county provides ample opportunity for discovery and enjoyment. Each of these eight places to visit promises a unique and enriching experience, making Hampshire a top choice for your summer travels. Make this season memorable by exploring th

Share this page with someone

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply