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Ageas Bowl

Ageas Bowl

Southampton

Things to do in Hampshire

There are so many top things to do in Hampshire, a county famous for the home of Downton Abbey at Highclere Castle to the UK's tallest publicly accessible building outside of London at Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower.

From the picturesque rolling countryside of the New Forest to the lively coastal cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, a world of excitement awaits.

With its clear chalk streams, thatched cottages and cosy pubs, Hampshire’s countryside is a hidden gem for visitors. Here you’ll find historic buildings, fascinating interactive museums and bustling market towns, together with delicious local produce and gentle scenic walks.

Things to do in Hampshire this weekend

Many of Hampshire's tourist attractions are open all year round so find something to do today with activities listings each showing a map and opening times for your convenience. Or why not browse our events guide to find out what's happening this week.

The New Forest stretches across 140,000 acres of ancient woodland and unspoilt grassland. It's one of the most beautiful national parks in the UK and home to dozens of fascinating historic villages. Here you'll find family adventures at Paulton's Park and attractions such as the National Motor Museum Beaulieu. The maritime museum at nearby Buckler's Hard has to be one of the most interesting days out in Hampshire, exploring the south coast’s history-changing maritime tradition.

A visit to Southampton is not to be missed, with medieval city walls to explore, some fantastic shopping at West Quay Shopping Centre and great entertainment on offer at the Mayflower Theatre. Further down the Solent coast is the market town of Fareham and the port city of Portsmouth, a must see for anyone interested in the Royal Navy, with Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the historic ship HMS Victory both located here.

Hampshire is also home to Winchester. Most famous for one of the country’s oldest cathedrals, Winchester Cathedral, this ancient city was once the capital of England. Just outside of Winchester, Marwell Wildlife is home to over 180 exotic and endangered species of wildlife, across a 140-acre park. Marwell Zoo not only helps visitors get closer to the wonders of the natural world, but it also plays an important part in helping to save them.

From period dramas such as the hit ITV show Downton Abbey to action movies including James Bond, Hampshire has set the scene for a wide variety of productions. Take a tour and find out more about some of the county's best known film locations.

Accommodation

With such rich history, exciting events, alluring attractions and stunning scenery, you'd be hard-pressed to see everything you want to see in one day, so why not stay for two or three? There is no shortage of charming and affordable accommodation on offer in Hampshire: 

Towns and places to visit in Hampshire

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Areas to Visit

South Downs - Hampshire area

Hampshire South Downs

South Downs - Hampshire area - around Chawton where Jane Austen lived – has quite a different feel from the rest of the new National Park. With its...

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  1. Add Barton-on-Sea to your Itinerary

    Barton-on-Sea

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Barton-on-Sea

    Barton-on-Sea boasts superb coastal walks, including the start of the Solent Way which spans the length of Keyhaven Nature Reserve.

  2. Add Burley to your Itinerary

    Burley

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Burley

    The picturesque village of Burley lies in the heart of the New Forest. With its pretty thatched cottages, old fashioned shops and cosy tea rooms, the village is a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

  3. Add Milford-on-Sea to your Itinerary

    Milford-on-Sea

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Milford-on-Sea

    Milford-on-Sea is a traditional village with spectacular views, great beaches and thriving wildlife. Part of the New Forest National Park, this area is perfect for exploring cliff top walks and wildlife.

  4. Add Brockenhurst to your Itinerary

    Brockenhurst

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Located in the heart of the New Forest National Park situated between Lyndhurst and Lymington, Brockenhurst is a bustling village, one of the largest in the area.

  5. Add Keyhaven to your Itinerary

    Keyhaven

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Keyhaven

    This small, quiet village overlooks the Solent and has lovely views of Hurst Castle and the Isle of Wight. Although there are no shops, there are two sailing clubs and a small pub.

  6. South Downs - Hampshire area

    Type

    Towns & Villages


    Hampshire’s South Downs - around Chawton where Jane Austen lived – has quite a different feel from the rest of the new National Park.

    With its steep wooded hills and hidden valleys of watercress farms, lavender fields, vineyards, hop gardens and trout-filled streams … its picture-perfect...

  7. Add Lymington to your Itinerary

    Lymington

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    New Street, Lymington

    The Georgian market town of Lymington is famous for its sailing history and has two large marinas. The town's narrow streets are filled with pretty period cottages, and many locals pubs, restaurants and independent shops.

  8. Add Alton to your Itinerary

    Alton

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Alton is a lively market town right in the heart of Jane Austen country. The surrounding landscape is picturesque and tranquil – which makes it all the more surprising that Alton was once most famous for the brutal murder of Sweet Fanny Adams in 1887.
    Today, many visitors use Alton as a base for...

  9. Add Fordingbridge to your Itinerary

    Fordingbridge

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Location

    Fordingbridge

    Situated on the edge of the New Forest, Fordingbridge is a small country town situated on the banks of the River Avon. Fordingbridge is famous for The Great Bridge with its seven graceful arches spanning the river.

  10. Add South Downs to your Itinerary

    South Downs

    Type

    Towns & Villages

    Escape to the South Downs and become revitalised in this peaceful and relaxing part of Hampshire.