Hampshire, located on the south coast, is famed for its national parks, stately homes and maritime history, accessible from London in a couple of hours by road and rail. Home of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Florence Nightingale, the coastline of Hampshire includes two of Europe’s largest ports, Southampton and Portsmouth, the base for almost two thirds of the Royal Navy.
Hampshire is regarded as the birthplace of modern fly-fishing, windsurfing and birdwatching. While foodies will appreciate the homegrown lamb, beef and watercress. There are sheep fairs across the large county, more watercress comes from here than anywhere else in the UK, and pork is particularly associated with the New Forest, where pigs graze on acorns and windfall apples.
The county offers a huge variety of fun activities, sightseeing opportunities and wonderful beauty spots to explore. Our coach drivers’ top suggestions are sure to keep all the family happy so grab your bag and let’s go…
Sightseeing in Hampshire
- Winchester Cathedral: Visit one of the largest cathedrals in Europe and explore its stunning architecture and historical guided tours.
- Portsmouth Historic Dockyard: Discover the rich maritime heritage of this port town through attractions like HMS Victory, the Mary Rose Museum, and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
- New Forest National Park: Take a scenic drive or go for a walk in the beautiful New Forest, known for its ancient woodlands, wildlife, and charming villages.
- Beaulieu: Visit the Beaulieu Estate, home to the National Motor Museum, Palace House, and Beaulieu Abbey. Enjoy vintage car exhibits, beautiful gardens, and picturesque surroundings.
- Jane Austen’s House Museum: Step into the world of the famous author and visit her former home in Chawton, which now serves as a museum dedicated to her life and works.
Eating in Hampshire
- Hampshire Farmers’ Markets: Indulge in fresh produce, artisanal goods, and delicious street food at the various farmers’ markets across this farming county.
- The Chesil Rectory, Winchester: Enjoy a meal in one of the oldest buildings in Winchester, known for its charming atmosphere and a menu featuring seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
- The Pig, Brockenhurst: Treat yourself to a delightful dining experience at this renowned country house hotel and restaurant, which emphasises local and sustainable produce.
Parks and beauty spots in Hampshire
- South Downs National Park: Explore rolling hills, picturesque villages, and the stunning coastal cliffs of the South Downs, with opportunities for hiking, cycling, and picnics.
- Highclere Castle and Gardens: Visit the stunning estate that served as the location for “Downton Abbey.” Explore the castle’s impressive architecture and enjoy the surrounding parkland.
- Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway: Discover the beautiful gardens, woodlands, and waterways of Exbury, while taking a ride on the charming steam railway that runs through the estate.
Day trips in Hampshire
- Isle of Wight: Catch a ferry from Portsmouth or Southampton and spend a day exploring the beautiful Isle of Wight, known for its scenic coastline, charming villages, and historic attractions like Osborne House.
- Stonehenge: Take a trip to one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments, located just outside of Hampshire. Marvel at the ancient stone circle and the intrepid building theories.
- Salisbury: Visit the historic city of Salisbury, home to the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral and the medieval Salisbury Market Square.
Shopping in Hampshire
- Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth: Shop at this waterfront outlet village, offering a wide range of designer and high-street stores, as well as restaurants and entertainment options.
- Westquay, Southampton: Explore this modern shopping centre, featuring a variety of shops, restaurants, and a cinema complex.
- Winchester: Wander through Winchester’s charming streets, lined with independent boutiques, antique shops, and speciality stores. This is a charming city with plenty of hotels and accommodation suited to all price points.
Transport in Hampshire
Hampshire benefits from good public transport links. Main transport options include:
- Trains: Southwestern Railway operates services throughout Hampshire, connecting cities like Winchester, Southampton, and Portsmouth. There are also train connections to London and other major cities.
- Buses: Stagecoach and other local bus operators provide extensive bus services within Hampshire, and to connecting towns and villages.
- Ferries: Portsmouth and Southampton are major ferry ports, offering connections to the Isle of Wight, France, and the Channel Islands.
- Airports: Southampton Airport provides domestic and international flights, while London Heathrow Airport is within easy reach for international travel.
It’s always a good idea to check availability for your chosen trips, as well as opening hours before planning a visit. At City Circle, we provide private coach hire for trips across the UK. Get in touch with our team to find out more.