Discover some of the best places to visit in Hampshire in the south of England. With a mild climate and miles of coastline, you can easily feel like you’re abroad.
With bustling port towns and cities, it’s fantastic if you like sailing, boat trips or all things nautical. Meanwhile, there are superb beaches for family fun or quiet relaxation. For hillside hikes and outdoor adventures, the New Forest and South Downs National Parks are perfect.
History abounds too, from associations with WWII and literary figures including Jane Austen to ancient cathedrals. With plenty of things to do and places to visit, Hampshire is fantastic for a luxury cottage holiday.
Winchester is a city with many charms. It is steeped in history and was England’s ancient capital. There are many historic buildings and at the heart of the city is the incredible 11th-century Winchester Cathedral. The cathedral is also the final resting place of author, Jane Austen. Also worth a visit is the 13th-century Great Hall at Winchester Castle.
There are also vibrant shopping streets, plenty of places to eat and drink, and a thriving arts scene. Plus, a host of events throughout the year including a Christmas market that usually takes place in the grounds of the cathedral.
For stunning vistas of the city and the surrounding area, put your walking boots on and head out of the city and up St Catherine’s Hill. Being at the edge of the South Downs National Park and the start of the South Downs Way, Winchester allows you to easily combine city and countryside.View Hampshire Holiday Cottages
New Forest National Park is mainly in Hampshire (although a small part is in Wiltshire) and is a beautiful, ancient landscape. In 1079 William the Conqueror made it his new hunting ground, where only he and his officers were allowed to hunt.
The area has enjoyed a form of protection ever since and is famous for its roaming ponies, donkeys, cattle and pigs. You may well see some of them as you explore. With open moorland, forested areas and even 26 miles of coastline, it is perfect for outdoor adventures. There are activities including hiking, cycling, horse-riding, kayaking and sailing to enjoy.
Amongst the interesting towns and beautiful villages, there are vineyards, historic homes and stunning gardens to discover. For World WWI and WWII history, head to Brockenhurst. Meanwhile, nearby Beaulieu has two notable places to visit: Palace House and the National Motor Museum.View Hampshire Holiday Cottages
The South Downs stretches from Winchester to Eastbourne in East Sussex. This range of chalky, grass covered hills is fantastic for nature-lovers and anyone who can’t resist a stunning view.
A mix of grassland, heaths, open pastures, woodland, rivers and chalk streams, the landscape is a haven for wildlife. It brims with wildflowers and butterflies in the summer, while all of the UK’s native species of reptile call this place home.
A hiker’s and cyclist’s paradise, why not explore the South Downs Way that begins in Winchester? Meanwhile, the climate is ideal for grape-growing and some good English sparkling wine is produced in the vineyards here.
A host of hidden villages, market towns and historic estates await you. For example, the pretty village of Chawton was once home to Jane Austen. Meanwhile, Gilbert White’s House and Gardens in Selborne was home to the natural history pioneer, Gilbert White.View Hampshire Holiday Cottages
Lymington is a coastal market town and port in the New Forest National Park. From its Georgian High Street to its shipbuilding past, there is much history. Today, the town is a highly-regarded sailing destination with yachts sitting alongside fishing boats in the marinas.
Amongst the town’s narrow streets and charming cottages, there are some lovely independent shops on the high street. A Saturday market has been held here since the 13th century. Meanwhile, down at the Old Town Quay you can often pick up freshly caught fish straight from the boats.
Do also visit St Barbe’s Museum and Art Gallery to find out more about the history of the New Forest Coast. Or, for a coastal walk, hit the Solent Way for spectacular views of the Solent. There is also a car ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.View Hampshire Holiday Cottages
Hamble (also known as Hamble-le-Rice) is a charming village on the outskirts of Southampton. Sitting on the River Hamble estuary and with winding streets and historic cottages, it’s a beautiful place to visit. Although small, it packs a punch with what it has to offer, including a good choice of pubs and restaurants.
There’s a thriving yachting scene here with yachters mooring up at the marinas or visiting for sailing events. Hamble is one of the best places to visit in Hampshire to enjoy coastline and countryside, with many riverside walks with fascinating vistas.
Discover the coastal heathland of Hamble Common and head down to its beach to blow the cobwebs away. The area is a magnet for coastal birds, so if you love birdwatching or are interested in wildlife photography, it’s definitely worth a visit. In addition, in WWII an anti-aircraft gun was sited nearby to help protect neighbouring Southampton.View Hampshire Holiday Cottages
Portsmouth is a port city with a rich maritime history and strong links with the Royal Navy. Naturally, there are many associated attractions to visit and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard should be top of your list. It offers the opportunity to step aboard warships, explore submarines and is home to famous vessels including Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory.
Standing out in the Portsmouth skyline is the Spinnaker Tower, a 170-metre-tall observation deck with incredible views. On a clear day you, you can see the Isle of Wight. Meanwhile, if you like retail therapy, head to the popular Gunwharf Quays designer shopping outlet, complete with cinema and restaurants.
For a change of scene, visit Old Portsmouth, the old town area with a cathedral, cobbled streets, traditional pubs and tea rooms. Or head to the city’s seaside resort of Southsea where independent shops and eateries meet traditional amusements and fun at the fair.View Hampshire Holiday Cottages
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