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Touring Hampshire

See also Isle of Wight

Southampton, Winchester, and Portsmouth are Hampshire’s major urban areas but the county is known for the New Forest National Park and its scenic villages. The forest received its name from William the Conqueror in 1070 when he chose it for a royal hunting domain.

New Forest Rufus Stone by Barbara Ballard For a fictionalized based-on-fact story Edward Rutherfurd’s book, ‘The New Forest’ gives an excellent picture of the place through the centuries. It tells the story of William II (William Rufus) who was killed either on purpose or by accident in the forest. The ‘Rufus Stone’ commemorates this but does not mark the actual spot where it happened.

Bucklers Hard houses New Forest by Barbara Ballard Visit Lyndhurst first and stop in at the New Forest Visitor Centre. Here is an exhibition on the history and geography of the forest with maps of cycling and walking trails. Much of the forest is open heathland. The villages are busy during tourist season. Ponies and cattle still roam unfenced on the common lands. Buckler’s Hard, in the forest, is a former shipbuilding area. There are two rows of brick buildings and a museum at the spot.

Beaulieu Manor Abbey Interior Hampshire by Barbara Ballard Beaulieu, in the southern forest, is a popular family attraction. It was once an abbey, but after Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, it was acquired by the Montagu family in 1538. There is a display of medieval monastery life in one of the buildings. The former gatehouse is a family home and can be visited. It is said the ghosts of monks still roam the rooms. The monk’s refectory is now the parish church. Beaulieu is also home to the National Motor Museum, telling the story of motoring from 1894 to today. Here over 250 vehicles are displayed along with TV and AV presentations.

Romsey is an attractive town with Georgian houses and an abbey church of 1100 with Saxon carvings. King John’s House and Heritage centre in the town is a collection of three historic buildings on the same site. One is a 14th century home, a Tudor cottage is a tearoom, and the Victorian Heritage Centre has been redone as a formal parlour. There are period gardens and exhibitions.

Broadlands Lord Mountbatten Hampshire by Barbara Ballard Nearby Broadlands is a Palladian mansion and the former home of Lord Mountbatten. It was once the residence of Lord Palmerston, Victorian Prime Minister and friend of Queen Victoria. An exhibition and AV presentation on Mountbatten’s life is presented.

The Vyne Dovecote Hampshire by Barbara Ballard Another historic home, The Vyne, was built for Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain. There’s a Tudor chapel, wood panelling, and furniture to view. There are gardens, lakes, and woodland walks.

Mottisfont Abbey Hampshire River Test by Barbara Ballard. A 12th century former abbey, Montissfort Abbey and Garden, is home to the national collection of roses. In the grounds, through which the river Test runs, is a famous old plane tree. The village, owned by the National Trust, is a small group of cottages. The church, St Andrews, is grade 1 listed and dates from the 12th century.

Wherwell Village St Hampshire by Barbara Ballard Wherwell, on the river Test, is a beautiful small village with thatched cottages. A Victorian church, St Peter and Holy Cross, was built on the site of a former medieval abbey. Stockbridge is a town with elegant buildings, antique shops, and a National Trust marsh. Middle and Nether Wallop are scenic river villages, with Nether Wallop being the star. It’s where Miss Marple was filmed. There are 11th century wall paintings in the church. Middle Wallop offers a museum.

Whitchurch Hampshire Silk Mill by Barbara Ballard The town of Whitchurch, northeast of Andover in the Test river area has a church with a rare Saxon tombstone and a silk mill that has produced fabric since 1825. The working museum comes complete with a costume exhibition and shop.

Jane Austen Home interior Chawton Hampshire by Barbara Ballard Jane Austen followers will want to visit Chawton and tour the 17th century house where she worked on her six novels. It is full of her memorabilia.

Alresford Hampshire by Barbara Ballard The town of Alresford can show off its elegant Broad Street with its Georgian houses, medieval Great Weir and two old mills. Alton is an attractive town with a 15th century church, St Lawrence.

Bishop Waltham Palace Hampshire by Barbara Ballard Bishop's Waltham has a small and very attractive town centre. It’s the location of the ruined Bishop Waltham Palace. There’s an interesting exhibition on the former palace in the farmhouse built at a later date on the site. The little village of Selborne, north of Petersfield, is full of character with an 1180 church, yew tree, and interesting houses and cottages.

East Meon Hampshire Church by Barbara Ballard Hampshire’s Meon Valley is one of the county’s most attractive with its rolling hills and farmland. Drive on the minor roads to get its full flavour. East Meon is a tiny and attractive village with a Norman church on the hill, a pub, and one store/postoffice. Warnford also has a church from the same time and the ruins of a 13th century building. Other villages to check out are Exton, Corhampton, Meonstoke, and Droxford.

Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway won a garden of the year award. There’s a 200-acre woodland with rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias. A daffodil meadow, rose garden, rock garden, and borders complete the picture. Another garden, Hinton Ampner, is a 20th century one with a mix of formal and informal features. In the house is a collection of English furniture and Italian paintings. Houghton Lodge Garden has on view its greenhouses, herb garden, walled garden, topiary, and Grade II landscaped grounds.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens by Barbara Ballard The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens are home to 40,000 plants from the world’s temperate regions. The 180 acres have both formal and informal plantings. There are 11 national plant collections and the largest winter garden in Europe. Allow a full day to take it all in.

Portsmouth Harbour courtesy David Packman Hampshire Cam Southampton is a port and naval centre and a jumping off place for the Isle of Wight. The Medieval Merchant’s House shows off the life of a monied merchant in the 13th century. In Portsmouth is the Royal Naval Museum at the dockyard. Included as part of the museum are the historic vessels Nelson’s flagship and the Mary Rose.

Winchester Cathedral courtesy David Packman Hampshire Cam Winchester has a number of historic buildings, the most famous of which is its Gothic cathedral. The cathedral has been used for royal functions and is the final resting place for a number of bishops, Saxons kings, and Jane Austen.

Wolvesey Castle Ruins Winchester Hampshire by Barbara Ballard Wolvesey Castle, dating from William the Conqueror’s time, has mostly disappeared thanks to the civil war. The extensive ruins were once the home of the bishops of Winchester. 14th century Winchester College offers guided tours of its chapel, cloisters, and other medieval area.

Hampshire Attractions

For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.

Avington Park
Tel. 0 1962 779 260
Web: Avington Park

Beaulieu, New Forest
Tel. 0 1590 612 345
Web: Beaulieu

Bishop’s Waltham Moors Nature Reserve
Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire
Tel. 0 1703 456 484

Bishop’s Waltham Palace (EH)
Bishop’s Waltham
Tel. 0 1489 892 460

Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary
Short distance from Bolderwood car park
Tel. NA

Botley Wood Nature Reserve
Between Wickham and Titchfield
Tel. 0 1329 662 145

Breamore House and Countryside Museum
near Fordingbridge
Tel. 0 1725 512 858

Romsey, on A3090 Romsey by-pass
Tel. 0 1794 505 010
For photos and more information see our article Broadlands

Bucklers Hard
Tel. 0 1590 616 203
Web: Bucklers Hard

Bursledon Windmill
Bursledon, signed from Jct 8 of M17
Tel. 0 1703 404 999

Calshot Castle
Two miles south-east of Fawley, off the B3053
Tel. 0 2380 892 023

Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway
New Forest, near Beaulieu (signposted)
Tel. 0 2380 891 203

Gilbert White House and Oates Museum
The Wakes, High St, Selborne, Hampshire
Tel. 0 1420 511 275

Hinton Ampner Garden and house (NT)
Bramdean, Alresford
Off the A272, one mile west of Bramdean village, eight miles south-east of Winchester
Tel. 0 1962 771 305

Hollycombe Steam Collection
Iron Hill, Midhurst Rd, Liphook
2 miles from A3,between Guildford and Petersfield
Tel: 0 1428 724 900

Houghton Lodge Garden (HHA)
Houghton, on minor road 1.5 miles south of Stockbridge (A30)
Tel. 0 1264 810 502
Web: Houghton Lodge Garden

Intech Science Centre and Planetarium
Telegraph Way, Morn Hill, Winchester
Tel. 0 1962 863 791

Jane Austen Home
Tel. 0 1420 83262

Liberty’s Owl Raptor & Reptile Centre
Crow Lane, Ringwood
Tel. 0 1425 476487
Web: Liberty Owl, Raptor, and Reptile Centre

Lymington–Keyhaven RSPB Nature Reserve
Between the mouth of Lymington River and village of Keyhaven
Tel. NA

Manor Farm Country Park
Access from M27, signed from jct 8
Tel. 0 1489 787 055

Medieval Merchant’s House (EH)
58 French St, Southampton
Tel. 0 2380 221 503

Mottisfont Abbey and Garden (NT)
Four miles north of Romsey, signed off A3057
Tel. 0 1794 340 757 or 01794 341 220 (infoline)

New Forest Centre
Lyndhurst, New Forest
Tel. 023 8028 3444
Web: New Forest Centre

New Forest Reptile Centre
Two miles south-west of Lyndhurst off the A35
Tel. 023 8028 3141 (Southern Forestry)

New Forest Wildlife Park
Deerleap Lane, Longdown, near Ashurst
Tel. 023 8029 2408
Web: New Forest Wildlife Park

Petersfield Museum
Old Magistrates’ Courthouse, St Peter’s Rd, Petersfield
Tel. 0 1730 262 601

Physic Garden
16 The High Street, Petersfield
Tel. 0 1730 269 060

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Victory Gate, HM Naval Base Portsmouth Habour Portsmouth
Tel. 023 9283 9766

Queen Elizabeth Country Park
Gravel Hill, Horndean, PO8 0QE
Tel. 0 239 259 5040

Rockbourne Roman Villa
Rockbourne, Fordingbridge
Tel. 0845 603 5635

Royal Naval Museum
Victory Gate, HM Naval Base
Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth
Tel. 0 23 9283 9766 (general enquiries); 0 23 9286 1512 (information line)
Web: Royal Naval Museum and Historic Dockyard

Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum
Bashley Cross Roads, New Milton, Hampshire
Tel. 0 1425 620 777
Web: Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
Jermyns Lane, Ampfield, Romsey
Tel. 0 1794 368 787
For full details and photos of the garden see our article Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
Web: Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

Spinnaker Tower
Tel: 0 2392 857 520
Web: Spinnaker Tower

Staunton Country Park
Just north of Havant, between A3 and B2149
Access from Middle Park Way, off B2149, Hampshire
Tel. 0 1705 453 405

Vyne, The (NT)
Sherborne St John, Basingstoke
Tel. 01256 881337

Winchester Cathedral
Tel. 0 1962 857 200
Web: Winchester Cathedral

Winchester College
Tel. 0 1962 621 209

Wolvesey Castle (Old Bishop’s Palace) (EH)
College St, Winchester, ¼ mile se of the Winchester cathedral, next to bishop’s palace
Tel. 0 1962 854 766

Hampshire Tourist Information Centres

39 High Street, Aldershot
Tel. 0 1252 320 968

7 Cross and Pillory Lane, Alton
Tel. 0 1420 88448

Town Mill House, Bridge Street, Andover
Tel. 0 1264 324 320

Willis Museum, "Old Town Hall, Market Place"
Tel. 0 1256 817 618

Westbury Manor, West St, Fareham
Tel. 0 1329 221 342

The Harlington Centre, 236 Fleet Road, Fleet
Tel. 0 1252 811 151

Kings Yard, Salisbury Street, Fordingbridge
Tel. 0 1425 654 560

Bus Station Complex
South Street, Gosport
Tel. 023 9252 2944

1 Park Road South, Havant
Tel. 023 9248 0024

Hayling Island
Beachlands, Seafront, Hayling Island
Tel. 023 9246 7111

St Barbe Museum & Visitor Centre
New Street, Lymington
Tel. 0 1590 689 000

Lyndhurst & New Forest
New Forest Museum & Visitor Centre
Main Car Park, Lyndhurst
Tel. 023 8028 2269

County Library, 27 The Square,
Tel. 0 1730 268 829

Portsmouth (Southsea)
Clarence Esplanade
Southsea, Portsmouth
Tel. 023 9282 6722

Continental Ferry Port TIC
Terminal Building, Portsmouth
Tel. 023 9283 8635

The Hard, Portsmouth
Tel. 023 9282 6722

The Furlong, Ringwood
Tel. 0 1425 470 896

13 Church Street, Romsey
Tel. 0 1794 512 987

M27 Services (Westbound), Southampton
Tel. 023 8073 0345

9 Civic Centre Road, Southampton
Tel. 023 8083 3333

Southampton Airport
Wide Lane, Southampton
Tel. None

Guildhall, The Broadway, Winchester
Tel. 0 1962 840 500

Photos by Barbara Ballard and courtesy David Packman at Hampshire Cam

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Some of our Hampshire Articles
Hampshire Wildlife Trust Reserves
Montisfont Abbey
Wolvesey Castle
Hinton Ampner House and Garden
New Forest National Park
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens Photos
Houghton Lodge Gardens
Bishop Waltham Palace
Other England Articles

A Walk Around the New Forest

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