Located on the English Channel Coast, Hampshire is the perfect blend of city, coast and country. Just a couple of hours from London, this county is known for its national parks, stately homes and maritime history. The South Downs National Park and the New Forest National Park offer outdoor adventures, and the coastal cities of Portsmouth and Southampton offer exciting cultural attractions. Further inland, you have the historic city of Winchester.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing staycation or one that’s packed with adventure, Hampshire is the ideal place to head to. Read on to discover more about staycations in Hampshire.
Looking for accommodation in Hampshire? You’re bound to find the right place, whether you’re travelling solo or with the family.
Being in the far south, Hampshire benefits from a milder climate compared to the rest of the country. This makes it a great place for camping and glamping. You’ll find a whole range of campsites and glampsites around Hampshire, ranging from basic to luxury. If you’re looking for something a little different, glamping is always a fun option as many sites offer unique accommodation like shepherds’ huts and Mongolian yurts.
Hampshire has a fantastic choice of B&Bs and hotels. Whether you want a countryside escape or an oceanview room, there’s not a shortage of options.
Self-catering holiday cottages are always a popular option for staycations. They offer much more space, privacy and flexibility, especially if you’re travelling with family. Whether it’s a luxurious cottage in one of the national parks, or a cosy seaside cottage, it’s not difficult to find the perfect accommodation.
When it comes to attractions in Hampshire, you’ll be spoilt for choice. One of the most popular attractions is the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Anything related to naval history, you’ll definitely find here. There’s plenty of things to get up to, from climbing aboard warships such as the HMS Victory, to joining a Harbour Tour to find out how a naval base operates. There are several museums on site, including the National Museum of the Royal Navy where you can learn about what it was like fighting at sea. Hear stories from the people who spent their lives working aboard the ships. At the Trafalgar Experience, you can meet famous characters like Nelson and Napoleon through interactive experiences.
One activity you can’t miss in Hampshire is watersports. Its renowned waterfront is the ideal spot for some fun, and you’ll find plenty of harbours, marinas and estuaries. If you’re into sailing, one of the UK’s leading yachting centres is based on the River Hamble. Try out windsurfing at Hayling Island, Hill Head and Calshot Beach. Calshot Beach is also a great spot to kayak and paddle board. Want to try a bit of everything? The Calshot Activity Centre near the New Forest provides lessons in sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and powerboating.
A fun, family friendly attraction is Marwell Zoo. This was one of Europe’s very first zoos to promote animal conservation. Today, it’s home to almost 200 species of animals and is run by a conservation charity. Explore the variety of animal exhibits including the World of Lemurs, the Penguin Cove and the Australian Bush Walk. You can also take part in daily talks and activities to learn more about these animals.
Literary fans shouldn’t miss a visit to the Jane Austen House Museum. Her former home is now a museum where you can find a collection of items that belonged to the author herself, such as letters, jewellery, furniture and first edition books. Taking the kids with you? Don’t worry – there are plenty of activities to keep them entertained, from traditional garden games to dressing up in period costumes.
Hampshire is home to two national parks – the New Forest National Park and the South Downs National Park. The New Forest National Park covers an area of 566 square kms and is made up of beautifully unspoilt woodland, heathland and river valleys. As well as many walking and cycling routes, the park is also home to riding stables, golf courses and sites of historical interest including stately homes, gardens and museums.
The South Downs National Park covers an area of 1,627 square kms. It includes chalk hills, green rolling pastures, wide open spaces, ancient woodlands, river valleys and coastline. The park is a walker’s paradise, as it’s home to more routes than any other national park in the UK. You’ll also find plenty of cycling routes, including the famous South Downs Way which is 160km long and accessible on foot or bike.
Winchester is a cathedral city which is full of history, culture, world class attractions, unrivalled shopping and delicious dining. One of the must-sees is the Winchester Cathedral, Europe’s longest cathedral. Discover over 1,000 years of history, including 12th century wall paintings and medieval carvings. Looking for somewhere to bring the kids? The Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium has over 100 hands-on exhibits and interactive planetarium shows. End the day with a show at Theatre Royal Winchester. This Edwardian-style theatre has a diverse programme of drama, dance, family theatre, music and talks.
Head to the coast to Southampton. This port city is home to the SeaCity Museum where you’ll find an interactive model of the Titanic which departed from the city in 1912. Prefer planes to boats? The Solent Sky Museum has a vast collection of planes, propellers and jet engines. Southampton is also home to art galleries such as the Southampton City Art Gallery, and theatres like the Mayflower Theatre. A great way to see the city skyline is from the Hythe Ferry. Departing from Southampton Town Pier, the ferry makes a short crossing to the village of Hythe on the west side of the estuary. The trip also includes a ride on the world’s smallest gauge electric pier train, dating back to the First World War.