Hampshire makes up part of the southern coast of England, bordering Wiltshire, Dorset, Berkshire, West Sussex and Surrey.
The county town is Winchester, the former capital city of England and home to the impressive Winchester Cathedral.
Hampshire boasts two of England’s largest ports – Portsmouth and Southampton and it can lay claim to being original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force.
It is the third largest shire county in the United Kingdom and nearly 45% of it consists of the New Forest and South Downs national parks. The New Forest was created as a hunting ground for William the Conqueror. It contains the largest area of heath in Europe and the most important area of freshwater in Britain.
Hampshire has plenty to see and do, from sightseeing and easy strolls at one end of the spectrum to rockclimbing and hang gliding at the more extreme end. With plenty of open countryside, beautiful coastline, National Trust properties and maritime heritage, there’s something for everyone.
Our top 25 things to do (in no particular order):
- Watch fallow deer at Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary in The New Forest and take a stroll along woodland paths.
- Visit the famous Round Table at Winchester’s Great Hall
- Learn about the poet Keats on the self guided Keat’s Walk in Winchester
- Explore the ruins and colourful history of Odiham Castle
- Go bird watching on The River Hamble
- Walk Southampton’s city walls
- Take a trip back in time with Hampshire’s Living History Museum
- Shop ’till you drop at West Quay Shopping Centre and Gunwharf Quays
- Take a trip on Steamship Shieldhall
- Enjoy 12,000 different plant varieties at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
- Cycle in The New Forest, stopping off at a good pub for lunch
- Take to the skies and go hang gliding off The South Downs
- Scale the heights of the rock climbing walls at Calshot Activities Centre
- Try your hand at orienteering at Staunton Country Park
- Browse memorabilia at Jane Austen’s house in Chawton
- Take in the views from the top of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower
- Sample local produce at Hampshire Farmers’ Markets
- Stroll along the river at Exbury Gardens
- Learn about aviation history at the Museum of Army Flying
- Have an adventure with Go Ape! – a high wire, treetop course with rope bridges, swings and zip wires.
- Visit Butser Ancient Farm
- Discover underwater wonders at Blue Reef Aquarium
- Smell the exquisite roses Mottisfont Abbey & Gardens
- Try weaving and silk painting at Whitchurch Silk Mill
- Take a tour of HMS Alliance and listen to the stories of real submariners