Hampshire is a unique county of rolling green hills, tranquil ‘chocolate-box’ villages and ancient forests, combined with the vibrant cities of Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton. It has a rich cultural heritage, varied coastline and loads of unspoilt countryside.
Great days out are guaranteed with many beautiful gardens, historic houses, interactive museums and country parks. Go back in time on a nostalgic steam train, get up close and personal at the wildlife parks or take in a show. Big attractions include Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Marwell Zoological Park, Winchester Cathedral and Paultons Park, to name but a few!
Relax and unwind in unspoilt countryside, a haven for walkers and cyclists. The New Forest National Park, with its free grazing deer, ponies and cattle, is a unique landscape of ancient woodland, heather-covered heath, gentle farmland, coastal salt marsh and picturesque villages. But also visit explore the clear chalk streams of the Rivers Test and Itchen, and the rolling South Downs in the east.
Explore Hampshire’s seagoing heritage at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and across the harbour in Gosport, or head for the beach on Hayling Island, the home of windsurfing. You’ll find tranquil country parks close to the sea as well as pretty lakes and rivers such as the Hamble where you can enjoy boat trips, kayaking and fishing. The Hampshire coastline has many attractive harbours, marinas and estuaries, providing ideal locations for watersports.
Hampshire has an abundance of military heritage sites including castles, forts, regimental museums, historic houses and country parks. Children will love the gun firings, mock battles and explosive goings on at Royal Armouries Fort Nelson.
Beaulieu, New Forest
Bucklers Hard Village
One of England´s most attractive and unusual villages. It was created in the early 18th century by the 2nd Duke of Montagu, who planned to build a free port, Montagu Town, on the banks of the Beaulieu River for the import and export of sugar from the West Indies. The idea failed to get off the ground when the French captured the islands, but from the 1740´s the site was used for the building of over 50 wooden ships for the Royal Navy. Cruise on the tranquil Beaulieu River in Swiftsure and while you slowly meander down the River you can enjoy its beauty and see the abundant wildlife that lines its banks.
Maritime Museum, Bucklers Hard, Beaulieu, SO42 7XB
Hollycombe Steam Collection
A unique collection of working steam powered attractions providing fun and entertainment for the whole family. The centre-piece is a complete Edwardian Fairground where you can experience all the fun of the fair from the 1870’s; from the gentle “Golden Gallopers” to the first “White Knuckle” rides. The fun continues as you experience our steam railways, and traction engine rides. Other attractions include period farming demonstrations, farm animals, sawmill and spectacular historic woodland gardens
Iron Hill, Liphook, Hants, GU30 7LP, UK
INTECH is a unique, exciting interactive centre administered by the educational charity, The Hampshire Technology Centre Trust Ltd, with the specific purpose of promoting the knowledge and understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Its a great family day out near Winchester. The purpose built 3500 square metre, award winning building houses 100 interactive exhibits, which demonstrate the science and technology of the world around us in an engaging and exciting way. It’s ‘hands-on’, not ‘hands-off’! Open every day from 10:00am – 4:00pm
INTECH, Telegraph Way, Morn Hill, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1HZ
Isle of Wight Zoo
Home to Britain’s largest collection of tigers, this award winning zoo has been a dedicated ally to the tiger for over a quarter of a century. The Zoo also cares for a wide range of other animals including lions, leopards, jaguars, lemurs, monkeys, snakes, spiders and lizards. Visit the Zoo’s newly opened Kanha Enclosure which has been described as one of the best new zoo enclosures in the world.
Opening Hours – 10am to 6pm (4pm in winter)
Isle of Wight Zoo, Yaverland Seafront, Sandown, Isle of Wight, PO36 8QB
Longdown Activity Farm
At our family run farm, there are lots of friendly farm animals to meet and with our daily schedule of hands-on activities there is plenty of opportunity to touch and feed them. Bottle-feeding kid goats and calves, small animal handling, duck feeding and meeting the pigs are just some of the activities on offer. There are lots of other animals to meet, farmyard buildings to explore and loads of play areas to run around in. Brilliant fun!
Open from 10am – 5pm – 14th February to 1st November, Weekends in November and December plus daily from 12th to 24th December
Longdown Activity Farm, Longdown, Ashurst, Near Southampton, Hampshire SO40 7EH
Tel: 023 8029 2837
Marwell Zoological Park
Marwell Zoological Park is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats both locally and internationally. The 100 acre park gives you the opportunity to view many of the planet’s most fascinating and unique animals and to learn more about some of the issues surrounding wildlife conservation.
Every visitor to Marwell makes a valuable contribution to the conservation work:
- Learn how the actions of human beings can affect the survival of many species and what you can do to help
- Discover some of the Zoo’s conservation work in Africa, working with governments and worldwide organisations to ensure the survival of animals such as the Grevy’s zebra
- Although the Zoo’s main focus is on exotic animals, you will be surprised by the amount of work with British wildlife
If you love animals or nature and want to enjoy an unforgettable day out for all ages then Marwell is the place for you. Wander into the bush in the company of wallabies; step into Africa for an encounter with giraffes; visit lemurs from Madagascar; spot a poison arrow frog in the tropical rainforest; come face to face with a penguin under water; and listen for the roar of a tiger… you can experience a whole world of wildlife.
Colden Common, Winchester, SO21 1JH
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
A trip to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, is a must when visiting Southern England. The Historic Dockyard is the leading attraction on the South Coast and is home to the world famous historic ships, Mary Rose, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860 and the stunning new interactive attraction, Action Stations. Together with the Dockyard Apprentice Exhibition and Harbour Tours around the modern fleet, it is without doubt one of the most exciting, entertaining and educational days out for all the family in the country.
Visitor Centre, Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, PO1 3LJ
See the Fun Kids review on Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Staunton Country Park
1,000 acres of landscaped parkland with ornamental lake, woodland and follies… the timeless beauty and tranquillity of the walled garden… the exotic species in the South Coast’s largest glasshouses will amaze you…. surround the senses with colours, textures and aromatic scents in the Sensory Garden… get lost in the Golden Jubilee maze. Fun for children at the Ornamental Farm, with friendly sheep and noisy pigs, llamas, peacocks and a Shire horse. Let kids loose in the safety of the Children’s play area. Enjoy a range of snacks, meals and refreshments in the Regency tearooms.
Open daily 10am to 5pm (4pm in Winter).
Staunton County Park, Middle Park Way, Havant, PO9 5HB
tel 023 9245 3405
The Watercress Line
Travel through beautiful Hampshire countryside, and enjoy the experience of steam train travel. The Watercress Line looks spectacular through every season, from the delightful bluebells in spring, golden summer fields, the glorious colours of autumn and magical frosts in winter. From the pretty Georgian town of New Alresford with its bustling station through to the restful open spaces and famous topiary at Ropley, home to our Loco Sheds; then up the steep climb to the picturesque country station at Medstead & Four Marks, the highest station in the South of England, and then down into the busy market town of Alton – each station has a distinct character that is a delight to explore.
The Railway Station, New Alresford, SO24 9JG
Dates back to the 7th century when a Christian Church was first built. Throughout the centuries it has played an important part in the life of Winchester City and in the history of our nation. The Cathedral is open to all visitors although certain areas may be closed during special events or services.
1 The Close, Winchester, SO23 9LS
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