15 Best Things To Do In Hampshire, England

15 Best Things To Do In Hampshire, England

By will

Hampshire, England is a captivating destination that offers a plethora of experiences for every type of traveler. From exploring historic landmarks to immersing oneself in the stunning natural landscapes, this county has something to delight and enchant all visitors.

As a travel enthusiast, I have had the privilege of discovering the best that Hampshire has to offer, and I am excited to share with you the 15 top things to do in this remarkable region.

One of the must-see attractions in Hampshire is Winchester Cathedral, a breathtaking masterpiece that stands as an iconic symbol of the county’s rich history. As you step inside, you’ll be in awe of the stunning architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and the sense of serenity that permeates the air.

Another highlight is the Great Hall in Winchester, where you can marvel at the legendary Round Table of King Arthur, steeped in myth and legend. The history enthusiast in me was captivated by Winchester College, one of the oldest schools in the world, with its picturesque buildings and fascinating stories that whisper through its halls.

These are just a few examples of the many remarkable experiences that await you in Hampshire. So, let’s embark on a journey together and discover the 15 best things to do in this captivating county.

Explore Winchester Cathedral

Winchester - Winchester Cathedral
Photo by Chris Talbot

You won’t believe the stunning beauty and rich history that awaits you as you step foot inside Winchester Cathedral.

As you enter through the grand doors, you are immediately greeted by the awe-inspiring architecture and intricate details that adorn every corner of this magnificent structure.

The soaring ceilings, stained glass windows, and ornate carvings create a sense of wonder and admiration. The sheer size and grandeur of the cathedral is enough to leave you speechless.

As you explore further, you will discover the fascinating history that is embedded within these walls.

Winchester Cathedral is not only the longest medieval cathedral in Europe, but it also holds the tombs of several important historical figures, including King Canute and Jane Austen.

Walking through the hallowed halls, you can’t help but feel a sense of reverence and respect for the centuries of worship and cultural significance that this place holds.

In addition to its historical significance, Winchester Cathedral also offers a range of activities and events for visitors to enjoy.

From guided tours that delve into the cathedral’s rich past to special exhibitions that showcase unique artifacts, there is always something new and exciting to discover.

You can even attend a service or concert to experience the incredible acoustics and spiritual ambiance that permeate the cathedral.

Visiting Winchester Cathedral is truly an unforgettable experience.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply someone looking for a peaceful and awe-inspiring place to visit, this cathedral has something to offer everyone.

So, step inside and prepare to be amazed by the beauty and history that awaits you.

Visit the Great Hall in Winchester

Great Hall, Winchester
Photo by Stephen McKay

Located in Winchester, the Great Hall is a must-visit destination that will transport you back in time. As you step through the doors of this magnificent medieval building, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder.

The Great Hall is the only remaining part of Winchester Castle, and its rich history is palpable as you explore its grandeur.

Inside, you will find the iconic Round Table of King Arthur, a legendary symbol of knights and chivalry. This enormous wooden table, measuring over 18 feet in diameter, is believed to date back to the 13th century. As you gaze upon it, you can almost imagine the brave knights seated around it, discussing matters of great importance.

The Great Hall also houses a fascinating collection of medieval artifacts, including suits of armor, weapons, and tapestries, giving you a glimpse into the life and times of the medieval era.

One of the highlights of visiting the Great Hall is witnessing the impressive medieval architecture. The soaring wooden roof, intricately carved stone walls, and large stained glass windows all contribute to the unique ambience of this historic site. The Great Hall has stood the test of time, surviving wars and centuries of change, and remains a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the medieval builders.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the past, a visit to the Great Hall in Winchester is an experience not to be missed. Immerse yourself in the fascinating history, marvel at the Round Table, and admire the stunning architecture. The Great Hall truly offers a captivating journey into the medieval world, leaving you with lasting memories of Hampshire’s rich heritage.

Discover the history of Winchester College

Winchester College
Photo by Peter Mackenzie

Step into the halls of Winchester College and be transported back in time as you immerse yourself in its rich history and architectural beauty. Founded in 1382, Winchester College is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in England.

As you wander through the corridors and courtyards, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe at the centuries of learning and tradition that have taken place within these walls. The college’s stunning Gothic architecture is a sight to behold, with its intricate stone carvings and towering spires. Every corner you turn reveals another fascinating piece of history, from the ancient oak-panelled classrooms to the beautiful chapel with its soaring stained glass windows.

But Winchester College is not just a museum of the past; it is a living, breathing institution that continues to educate and inspire students to this day. As you explore the grounds, you may come across groups of students in their distinctive black gowns, going about their daily routines. The college’s rich history is woven into the fabric of everyday life here, creating a unique atmosphere that is both timeless and vibrant.

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Whether you have a passion for history, architecture, or simply appreciate the beauty of a well-preserved heritage site, a visit to Winchester College is an experience not to be missed. Step back in time and discover the fascinating history and enduring legacy of this remarkable institution.

Take a stroll through the charming streets of Winchester

As I wander through the picturesque streets of Winchester, I find myself captivated by the charming architecture and quaint shops that line the cobblestone pathways.

The historic buildings are a testament to the city’s rich heritage, with their intricate details and timeless beauty. From the medieval Winchester Cathedral to the Georgian townhouses, each structure tells a story of the past, transporting you back in time.

The bustling streets are filled with a vibrant atmosphere, as locals and tourists alike explore the various boutiques and eateries. The scent of freshly baked bread wafts through the air, enticing me to step into a cozy bakery and indulge in a sweet treat.

The streets are alive with the sound of laughter and conversation, creating a sense of community and warmth. It’s truly a delight to take a leisurely stroll and soak in the sights and sounds of Winchester’s charming streets.

As I continue my exploration, I can’t help but be drawn to the unique shops that dot the streets. Each storefront offers a treasure trove of goods, from antique books to handcrafted jewelry. The shopkeepers are friendly and passionate, eager to share their knowledge and stories behind their products.

I find myself irresistibly drawn to a small art gallery, where vibrant paintings adorn the walls, showcasing the talent of local artists. The streets of Winchester are not just a place to shop, but a place to discover hidden gems and support the local community.

As the day comes to an end, I find myself reluctant to leave this enchanting place. The charming streets of Winchester have left an indelible mark on my heart, and I know I will carry the memories of this delightful stroll with me for years to come.

Wander through the New Forest National Park

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the New Forest National Park, where the tranquil woodlands and roaming ponies create a sense of serenity that will leave you in awe.

As you wander through the park, you’ll be surrounded by ancient trees, their branches reaching out to create a natural canopy above you. The sunlight filters through the leaves, casting a soft, dappled glow on the forest floor.

The air is filled with the scent of wildflowers and pine, a refreshing and invigorating aroma that clears the mind and lifts the spirit.

As you explore the New Forest, keep an eye out for the famous New Forest ponies. These gentle creatures graze peacefully in open meadows, their manes blowing in the wind. It’s a truly magical sight to see them in their natural habitat, living freely and harmoniously with their surroundings.

You might even be lucky enough to spot a newborn foal, taking its first tentative steps in this enchanting forest.

The New Forest National Park offers so much more than just beautiful landscapes. There are miles of walking and cycling trails to explore, taking you deeper into the heart of this natural wonderland.

You can also enjoy a leisurely picnic by one of the many picturesque lakes, or try your hand at fishing in the clear waters. Whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the New Forest National Park is a must-visit destination in Hampshire, England.

Encounter roaming ponies in the New Forest

While exploring the New Forest National Park, don’t miss the chance to encounter the roaming ponies, a truly mesmerizing sight.

As I ventured deeper into the park, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe as these majestic creatures grazed peacefully in the open meadows. Their graceful movements and gentle demeanor were captivating, making it impossible to resist getting closer for a better look.

One of the most remarkable aspects of encountering the roaming ponies is their sheer abundance. They can be found scattered throughout the park, blending seamlessly with the natural surroundings.

It’s an incredible sight to witness these beautiful animals freely roam and interact with each other. Whether they are peacefully grazing or playfully galloping across the fields, their presence adds a sense of tranquility to the New Forest landscape.

Interacting with the roaming ponies is an unforgettable experience. While they are wild animals, they have become accustomed to human presence and are generally friendly. It’s important, however, to remember that they are still wild and should be treated with respect.

Observing these ponies in their natural habitat is a unique opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the New Forest National Park. So, when visiting Hampshire, be sure to take a moment to encounter these roaming ponies and let their serene presence leave a lasting impression on you.

Explore the picturesque villages of the New Forest

Take a leisurely stroll through the New Forest National Park and discover the charm of its picturesque villages. As you wander through the narrow, winding streets, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

The thatched-roof cottages, colorful gardens, and quaint shops create a postcard-perfect scene. Each village has its own unique character, from the bustling market town of Lymington to the tranquil hamlets of Brockenhurst and Burley.

In these villages, you can explore local craft shops, sample delicious homemade treats at charming tearooms, and browse through antique stores for hidden treasures. Don’t forget to stop by the village pubs, where you can enjoy a refreshing pint of local ale and chat with friendly locals.

The New Forest villages also offer a range of outdoor activities, such as cycling along the scenic trails or picnicking by the idyllic riverside. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, the picturesque villages of the New Forest are a must-visit destination in Hampshire.

Unwind in the ancient woodlands of the New Forest

Indulge in the tranquility of the ancient woodlands that blanket the New Forest, where centuries-old trees whisper stories of bygone eras.

As I step into this enchanting realm, the air feels crisp and cool, carrying with it a sense of timelessness. The towering oaks and beech trees create a serene canopy overhead, filtering the sunlight and casting intricate patterns on the forest floor. It’s a place where nature reigns supreme, and the sounds of birdsong and rustling leaves replace the noise of modern life.

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Walking through these ancient woodlands is like stepping back in time. The New Forest has a rich history that dates back over a thousand years, and its woodlands have provided shelter and sustenance for countless generations.

As I wander along the moss-covered paths, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of reverence for the natural beauty that surrounds me. The forest is alive with a vibrant ecosystem, with deer grazing peacefully, wild ponies roaming freely, and delicate wildflowers adding splashes of color to the green landscape.

Unwinding in the ancient woodlands of the New Forest is a truly rejuvenating experience. It’s a place where I can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature. Whether I choose to take a leisurely stroll, go for a bike ride, or simply find a quiet spot to sit and reflect, the tranquil atmosphere of the woodlands never fails to soothe my soul.

The New Forest is a hidden gem, offering a peaceful retreat in the heart of Hampshire. So come, lose yourself in the ancient woodlands, and let the whispers of the trees transport you to a world of tranquility and natural wonder.

Enjoy a relaxing getaway in Hampshire’s countryside

Escape to the peaceful countryside of Hampshire and unwind with a relaxing getaway that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

The countryside in Hampshire offers a serene and picturesque setting, perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As you venture into the countryside, you’ll be greeted by rolling hills, charming villages, and stunning landscapes that are sure to take your breath away.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you explore the countryside on foot or by bike. The numerous walking and cycling trails will lead you through idyllic meadows, tranquil woodlands, and along peaceful rivers. Take a leisurely stroll through the fields, breathing in the fresh country air and listening to the soothing sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling in the breeze. Or hop on a bike and pedal your way through the countryside, enjoying the freedom and tranquility that can only be found in nature.

In addition to its natural beauty, Hampshire’s countryside is also home to charming country pubs and quaint tea rooms. After a day of exploring, treat yourself to a delicious meal at a traditional country pub, where you can sample hearty dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Or indulge in a traditional English afternoon tea at a cozy tea room, complete with freshly baked scones, clotted cream, and a selection of finger sandwiches.

As you relax and unwind in the peaceful surroundings, you’ll feel all your worries melt away, leaving you feeling completely refreshed and rejuvenated. So why wait? Escape to Hampshire’s countryside and experience a relaxing getaway like no other.

Visit the historic city of Portsmouth

Immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant atmosphere as you explore the captivating city of Portsmouth. Steeped in maritime heritage, this historic city offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern attractions.

As you stroll along the cobbled streets, you’ll be transported back in time to the days of naval glory and exploration.

One of the must-visit attractions in Portsmouth is the iconic Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Here, you can delve into the fascinating world of the Royal Navy and learn about the city’s important role in maritime history. Step aboard the HMS Victory, the flagship of Admiral Lord Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar, and imagine the bravery and skill that went into securing victory.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Mary Rose Museum, where you can witness the incredible preservation of Henry VIII’s warship that sank over 450 years ago.

Beyond its naval heritage, Portsmouth also offers a vibrant cultural scene. Visit the award-winning Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery to discover a wide range of exhibits, from contemporary art to local history displays.

Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Southsea Seafront, where you can enjoy stunning views of the Solent and soak up the lively atmosphere of cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply seeking a charming city experience, Portsmouth is sure to captivate and leave a lasting impression.

Explore the maritime heritage of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Discover the rich maritime heritage of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as you step aboard historic naval vessels and witness the incredible preservation of Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose.

As you walk along the decks of these majestic vessels, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder at the history that surrounds you. The sight of the Mary Rose, with her towering masts and weathered wooden hull, is truly a sight to behold. It’s hard to imagine that this ship once sailed the seas, defending England against her enemies.

But it’s not just the Mary Rose that makes the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard a must-visit destination. There are also other fascinating attractions to explore.

You can wander through the interactive galleries of the National Museum of the Royal Navy and learn about the triumphs and tragedies of the British Navy. Or you can visit the HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship during the Battle of Trafalgar, and see firsthand the conditions that sailors endured during this historic battle.

The dockyard also offers a unique opportunity to go inside the HMS Warrior, the first iron-hulled, armored warship, and experience what life was like for the crew.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a fun day out, the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has something for everyone. The combination of historic ships, interactive exhibits, and knowledgeable guides makes for an immersive and educational experience.

So step back in time and explore the maritime heritage of this incredible dockyard. You won’t be disappointed.

Discover the natural beauty of the South Downs National Park

Nestled in the heart of the countryside, the South Downs National Park offers a breathtaking escape into a world of natural beauty. As I step into this vast expanse of rolling hills and picturesque landscapes, I’m instantly captivated by its charm.

The park stretches across Hampshire, Sussex, and Surrey, and is a haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike.

The South Downs National Park boasts a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. From the vibrant wildflowers that carpet the hills in spring to the graceful deer that roam freely, there’s always something new and exciting to discover.

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As I wander along the well-marked trails, I’m surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. The gentle rustle of leaves, the chirping of birds, and the distant bleating of sheep create a peaceful symphony that soothes the soul.

In addition to its natural beauty, the South Downs National Park also offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Whether it’s hiking along the famous South Downs Way, cycling through the picturesque villages, or horseback riding across the vast open spaces, there’s something for everyone.

For those seeking a more leisurely experience, there are numerous picnic spots and viewpoints where one can simply sit back, relax, and take in the breathtaking views.

The South Downs National Park is a true gem, offering a sanctuary of tranquility and natural beauty. It’s a place where one can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in the wonders of the great outdoors.

Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature lover, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, the South Downs National Park is a must-visit destination in Hampshire, England.

Take a leisurely walk along Hampshire’s stunning coastline

As I leisurely stroll along Hampshire’s stunning coastline, the rhythmic crashing of the waves and the salty sea breeze create a soothing backdrop for my peaceful escape.

The vast expanse of golden sand stretches out before me, inviting me to explore its hidden treasures.

The coastline is dotted with picturesque fishing villages, charming beach huts, and quaint cafes, each adding to the charm of this beautiful coastal region.

As I walk along the shoreline, I can’t help but marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds me.

The crystal-clear waters glisten under the warm sun, revealing an underwater world teeming with colorful marine life.

Seagulls gracefully glide overhead, their calls echoing through the air.

The sound of children’s laughter and the occasional bark of a playful dog add to the joyful atmosphere.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy along the coastline, from building sandcastles and flying kites to simply relaxing on a beach towel and soaking up the sun.

For those seeking a bit more adventure, water sports such as paddleboarding and kayaking are popular choices.

As I continue my leisurely walk, I can’t help but feel a sense of serenity wash over me.

Hampshire’s stunning coastline truly is a haven of tranquility and natural beauty.

Visit the charming market towns of Hampshire

Venture into the charming market towns of Hampshire and experience the delightful blend of history, culture, and local charm. These towns are a true reflection of Hampshire’s rich heritage and offer a unique experience for visitors.

As you stroll through the narrow streets, you’ll be captivated by the picturesque architecture and quaint shops that line the town squares. The market towns are bustling with activity, with locals going about their daily lives and visitors exploring the various attractions and hidden gems.

One of the must-visit market towns in Hampshire is Romsey. This historic town is home to the magnificent Romsey Abbey, a stunning example of Norman architecture. Take a moment to admire the intricate stone carvings and soak in the peaceful atmosphere within the abbey walls.

Afterward, wander through the town’s charming streets and discover the array of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Romsey Town Hall, a Grade II listed building that hosts regular markets and events.

Another gem is Alresford, a quaint market town known for its picturesque Georgian houses and the tranquil River Itchen that runs through it. Explore the Alresford Watercress Line, a preserved steam railway that offers a nostalgic journey through the Hampshire countryside.

As you wander through the town, you’ll find a variety of boutique shops, antique stores, and enticing eateries. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Alresford Millennium Trail, a scenic walk that takes you through the town’s beautiful countryside and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

In Hampshire’s market towns, you’ll discover a delightful mix of history, culture, and local charm. Soak up the atmosphere, indulge in some retail therapy, and immerse yourself in the unique character of these enchanting towns. Whether you’re a history buff, a shopaholic, or simply looking for a relaxing day out, Hampshire’s market towns have something for everyone to enjoy.

Experience the vibrant cultural scene in Hampshire’s cities

As I explored the charming market towns of Hampshire, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the vibrant cultural scene that the cities of this county have to offer.

From the moment I stepped foot in Winchester, I was captivated by its rich history and lively atmosphere. The city is home to a magnificent cathedral, which is a must-visit for any history enthusiast. As I wandered through the city’s streets, I discovered a plethora of art galleries, museums, and theaters, all showcasing the incredible talent and creativity that Hampshire has to offer.

Another city that left a lasting impression on me was Southampton. Known for its maritime heritage, this bustling city is a hub of cultural activity. I had the opportunity to visit the SeaCity Museum, where I learned about the city’s connection to the Titanic. The museum’s interactive exhibits truly brought the history to life, making it an unforgettable experience. Southampton is also home to a thriving music and arts scene, with numerous venues hosting concerts, plays, and exhibitions throughout the year. Whether it’s enjoying a live performance at the Mayflower Theatre or exploring the contemporary art at the City Art Gallery, there is never a shortage of things to do in this vibrant city.

Overall, the cities of Hampshire offer a diverse and exciting cultural scene that is sure to captivate any visitor. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or music, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, if you find yourself in Hampshire, don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the vibrant cultural scene that these cities have to offer.


In conclusion, my visit to Hampshire, England was nothing short of amazing. From exploring the stunning Winchester Cathedral to taking a leisurely walk along the breathtaking coastline, there was never a dull moment.

The historical significance of the Great Hall in Winchester and the intriguing history of Winchester College left me in awe. Strolling through the charming streets of Winchester allowed me to immerse myself in the rich culture and heritage of the area.

But it wasn’t just the historical sites that captivated me. The natural beauty of the New Forest National Park and the South Downs National Park left me speechless. The lush greenery, the tranquil atmosphere, and the opportunity to connect with nature were truly rejuvenating.

And let’s not forget about the charming market towns and the vibrant cultural scene in Hampshire’s cities. From local markets to art galleries and theaters, there was always something to see and do.

Overall, Hampshire, England is a destination that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or someone seeking a vibrant city experience, Hampshire has something for everyone.

So, if you’re looking for a memorable and enriching travel experience, I highly recommend adding Hampshire to your bucket list. You won’t be disappointed.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.