Hampshire Travel Guide

Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire - © Formulax

Introduction & Overview

The Hampshire Travel Guide outlines local attractions, places of interest for visitors and has useful tourist information. The area guide includes travel information on local transport and travel, events, facts & figures, entertainment, maps and accommodation.

The county is known for its green hills, peaceful villages and historic forests. The county also has some vibrant modern cities such as Winchester and Southampton on the south coast.

Hampshire has a heady mix of developed urban areas in and around the cities but with lovely unspoilt countryside outside this, such as the New Forest. The New Forest Visitor Centre in Lyndhurst provides visitors with details of the many cycling and walking trails that go through the area.

With the New Forest and other numerous countryside areas Hampshire is blessed with a fine landscape with excellent walking and cycling trails that criss-cross the region.

A popular attraction is Beaulieu located at the southern tip of the New Forest, it is a former abbey and its buildings form a display on life based in a medieval monastery, and the Montagu family home of Palace House, this was formerly the abbey gatehouse.

There are plenty of visitors who come to Beaulieu in search of the National Motor Museum that is housed within its grounds. Here visitors can see a few hundred vehicles on display. Beaulieu has pretty much something for everyone, a mansion built upon the ruins of a medieval abbey and the famed National Motor Museum.

Beaulieu Palace has changed the 14th century Great Gatehouse of Beaulieu Abbey into a lovely family home.

For maritime enthusiasts there is Buckler's Hard, a picturesque village located in close proximity with a tradition of ship-building. Some ships commanded by Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar came from Buckler's Hard and there is now a museum to celebrate this rich naval tradition.

The coastal region of Hampshire is a mecca for sailing enthusiasts, the Solent is one of the busiest coastal zones in England, and it is one of the top destinations for sailing in the UK and is also of importance for conversation purposes and its landscape.

Southampton is one of the major centres in Hampshire, it lies to the east of the New Forest, 12 miles from Winchester on the south coast. Southampton has long been famous as a naval and trading port, there are some medieval buildings still remaining, including parts of the city wall and the 14th century Bar Gate.

Historically the city expanded during the Victorian era becoming a spa town and became a centre for shipbuilding.

Local attractions include the Sea City Museum telling the maritime storey of the city, Solent Sky highlights the history of aviation in the area.

The City Art Gallery includes fine art collections dating back over six centuries whilst the Medieval Merchants House, Mottisfont Abbey and Tudor House and Garden are local historical attractions of interest.

Southampton has a vibrant nightlife with a choice of historic pubs, contemporary bars and music venues, there is a choice of cafes and restaurants including a waterfront location at Ocean Village.

The city includes a number of green spaces incorporating grasslands, wetlands, parkland and nature trails. There are a number of parks including Andrews Park, Watts Park Hoglands Park and Palmerston Park offering a place where visitors can enjoy a relaxing walk in scenic surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Portsmouth is one of the other major centres in Hampshire located 25 miles from Winchester on the south coast of England.

Portsmouth is a city by the sea that has strong historic links to the Royal Navy, the history is brought to life at the maritime and military museums in the city including the D-Day Museum, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Royal Marines Museum.

Visitors can experience the history of the city by visiting the Old Town with its cobbled streets and historic buildings such as Portsmouth Cathedral, Domus Dei (Royal Garrison Church), the Square tower and Portsmouth Point.

Local attractions include Gunwharf Quays; located on the waterfront there is a designer shopping outlet, cinema, art gallery, restaurant, nightclubs and casino.

The Spinnaker Tower is a modern landmark in the city, standing 170 metres tall; visitors can see for over 20 miles on a clear day all the way to the South Downs and the Isle of Wight.

Visitors can see the Victorian seafront at Southsea; there are swimming facilities along with a funfair and green spaces for enjoying walks and picnics offering something for the whole family. Local attractions include Southsea Castle and the Blue Reef Aquarium showcasing tropical and local marine life.

The are a choice of eateries, restaurants and entertainment in Portsmouth with a mix of pubs, bars, cafes, live comedy and music and theatre offering a choice of dining options and entertainment.

The city of Winchester is the scenic county town of Hampshire, located 12 miles north of Southampton. The city is compact in size, it fits in a lot of buildings of historical interest in to a relatively compact area, this makes exploring the area for tourists easier.

Winchester combines the best of the city and the countryside and it is easy to see why this is a sought after place to live and work. The city was also the nation's capital with the Saxons and the Normans, shoeing its historical importance.

Winchester is the place to find the oldest public school in the UK, Winchester College. One of the top attractions in Winchester is the cathedral, thought of as one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the UK.

Winchester also boasts a Castle, begun under William the Conqueror, the hall houses a very large Round Table, thought to King Arthur's.

The city includes a number of shopping streets and host a number of open air events, there are a choice of bars, pubs, restaurants and entertainment facilities in the city.

Basingstoke is located just under 20 miles from Winchester. The town has a rich history dating back to Roman times, the historic market town was once known for its brewing, clothing and malting industries. During the 1960’s the town expanded rapidly with the town centre rebuilt.

Local attractions include Silchester Roman Town located a few miles from Basingstoke; visitors can see the well-preserved defensive walls, amphitheatre in a site over 100 acres in size.

Basing House is known for its role during the English civil war, the Willis Museum gives an insight into the local history and archaeology of Basingstoke.

Shopping facilities include Festival Place shopping centre where visitors can find a choice of shops, cafes and restaurants.

Alton is a market town located less than 20 miles from Winchester. The town is famous for its association with Jane Austen and its tranquil location and natural beauty. Alton is mentioned in the Doomsday book and was built around a Saxon settlement. The town was once known for its brewing industry, the manufacture of paper and dress materials.

Local attractions include Jane Austen’s house and Chawton House Library, fans of the famous novelist can learn more about her life and work on self-guided walks. The Curtis Museum known for its impressive local history collection.

The historical St Lawrence Church dates back to the 11th century noted for its architecture and for the Battle of Alton during the English civil war. The Allen Gallery includes exhibitions of arts, crafts, photography, natural history with noted collections in ceramics and pottery.

The New Forest was established back in 1079 by William the Conqueror and has survived as a unique example of medieval landscape.

There are now agencies entrusted with safeguarding the Forest for the future. It provides a haven for walkers and picnickers, it draws millions of visitors each year. Cycling is a great way to see the forest and popular among visitors, walking is the other preferred way of experiences the forest and what it offers.

The New Forest is a known centre for horses and horse riding. All over the forest you can ponies roaming.

The open heaths of the Forest are ideal grounds for lizards, grass snakes and frogs among others, there are a number of species to see here. These can be seen at The New Forest Reptile Centre, which also offers woodland trails.

Hampshire is a county with plenty to offer visitors, from urban centres and bustling city life and attractions to the peace and quiet of the scenic English countryside.

There is plenty of culture, history and heritage in places like Winchester with a choice of famous tourist attractions, away from the tourist trail there are a number of charming villages and towns full of charm and character.

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