Hampshire in the south-west of England is the perfect place to spend a weekend away or a staycation. With cities, towns, culture, countryside and coastlines to discover, and within easy travelling distance from London, Bristol and beyond, here are some of the best weekends in Hampshire.
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Best weekend staycation in Hampshire
A weekend in Winchester
by Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
Alfred the Great chose Winchester as the capital of England. It’s a picturesque city filled with history. Since it’s a short train ride from London, it makes for a nice weekend in Hampshire.
There are plenty of interesting things to do in Winchester, so you won’t be bored. Winchester Cathedral, founded in 1046, is a must-see. It has the largest nave in Europe (outside of Italy) and is an example of English Perpendicular Gothic architecture at its best. Inside you can see the author, Jane Austen’s grave, the Winchester Bible, a modern sculpture by Antony Gormley in the crypt, and more.
You should also visit the Great Hall, the only remaining building from Winchester Castle. The Great Hall has also served as the courtroom for many significant trials including the treason trial of Sir Walter Raleigh and trials of IRA members. Now, the main attraction at the Great Hall is the famous Round Table. While this table is not actually not from King Arthur’s time, it is the oldest, biggest, and best preserved Round Table.
You can also visit several interesting museums in Winchester including the City Museum, the Westgate Museum, and the Winchester Military Museums. There is also Winchester College and the Winchester City Mill.
It’s a lovely city to just wander around. Be sure to check out the statue of King Alfred, the house where Jane Austen died, and the High Street.
You can catch a train from London’s Waterloo station and be in Winchester in about an hour. The Winchester Royal Hotel is a charming centrally-located place to stay, everything is within walking distance.
By Jessie of Pocket Wanderings
Brockenhurst is an enchanting Hampshire village that oozes history and charm. Having been named the most beautiful place to live in the UK, it is well worth a visit to experience its magical English appeal for yourself, and a must on any UK bucket list. The New Forest is right on the doorstep of Brockenhurst, where you’ll find the famous New Forest ponies, as well as deer, cows, pigs, and other wildlife.
The village of Brockenhurst offers excellent shopping provisions with a number of boutique shops. There are also various welcoming pubs, high quality restaurants, and cosy tea rooms to enjoy.
To make the most of the stunning outdoor scenery, there are plenty of cycling trails and walking routes to enjoy. Or for something more relaxing, Brockenhurst is home to two world-renowned spas.
If a family day out is on the cards then a visit to the Beaulieu National Motor Museum is a must. Brockenhurst is also a great base for the annual New Forest & Hampshire County Show in July.
There are plenty of options for accommodation, although a popular choice among visitors is The Pig Hotel. Here you can enjoy exceptional local food in a cosy shabby chic environment with unbeatable hospitality. It’s relaxed British luxury and the perfect option for foodies.
There are some lovely Hotels in Brockenhurst to try for your stay.
Sitting on the banks of the River Test, the ancient market town of Romsey dates back to the 8th century. Although it is steeped in history, it has a thriving cafe and restaurant scene in the pretty medieval streets.
Romsey Abbey is the largest parish church in Hampshire and a fantastic example of Norman architecture. On a tour around the abbey of the highlights include a carving of the Crucifixion on a limestone block. This low-relief carving is believed to date back to the 10th Century. The tomb of Lord Mountbatten, great uncle to HRH Prince Charles, is in the South Transept and a sheltered rood outside in the South Garth.
Close to the abbey is King John’s House and Heritage Centre, a merchant’s house dating back to the 13th Century. Now the town’s museum, it has some 14th century graffiti, original roof beams and beautiful gardens.
One of Hampshire’s most popular Farmers’ markets with local produce and products takes place in Romsey on the first Sunday of the month. A weekly market has been taking place in the town since the 11th Century.
Visit the Romsey Memorial Park to see the bronze resin statue by Amy Goodman, commemorating the horses that were trained for service for the First World War. Romsey Remount Depot trained English, Irish and American horses for military duties before they went to France.
Just outside of Romsey is the National Trust property, Mottisfont, an 18th Century country house, although the site dates back to the 13th Century when it was an Augustinian Abbey. With beautiful gardens including a stunning rose garden that explodes in colour in June, it is a delight to visit.
Broadlands is another country house to visit. The former home of the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the house is open in the summer. Various concerts and events take place in the grounds.
On the outskirts of the town, is the 59-hectare wetland, Fishlake Meadows. The nature reserve is home to otters, voles and many different bird and waterfowl species and a beautiful place for a walk all year around.
If you are looking for places to stay, check out these Airbnbs in Romsey.
by Annabel from Smudged Postcard
Alresford is a Georgian market town located just east of Winchester in Hampshire. The town’s streets are lined with colourful old buildings and there are lots of lovely independent shops to explore including an excellent book shop. There are several characterful old pubs and a very good cafe called the Tiffin which is perfect for tea and cake.
Don’t be fooled by the name “New Alresford” – the town was founded in the 13th century while neighbouring “Old Alresford” is mentioned in the Domesday Book.
Many people flock to Alresford for one reason – to take a trip on the Watercress Line. This stream train line runs from Alresford to Alton, passing through several small stations on route. There are various themed events throughout the year on the Watercress Line with something to appeal to every age group – Thomas the Tank Engine days, Harry Potter events (the bridge from King’s Cross used in the movie has been reassembled here), dining experiences and World War II themed days.
For true fans of steam locomotives, there’s the chance to stay in a railway cottage or a safari lodge right next to the station at Ropley. Anyone looking for a family glamping adventure with a train theme will find this destination irresistible.
Alresford is located on the edge of the South Downs National Park, the scenery is particularly spectacular in autumn when the trees turn golden.
For accommodation, check out these Airbnbs in Alresford
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The New Forest
by Angela from The Life Of Spicers
The New Forest in Hampshire covers over 500km of heathland, 18 towns and villages with plenty going on whatever your weekend plans might be.
The area is popular for walking, cycling and horse riding, but if you’re looking for a relaxing break, there are also plenty of family-friendly pubs and restaurants to enjoy an afternoon with beautiful scenery.
It’s a great idea to enjoy a walk in the forest, you may even spot some of the famous New Forest ponies that are roaming around, before a nice lunch in the pub.
Whether you enjoy camping, glamping or even luxury hotel stays, there is plenty of choice in the New Forest. You can also find plenty of dog friendly cottages to stay in if you’re thinking of taking your dog away with you for the weekend.
When looking for things to do in the New Forest, you’ll find plenty of attractions such as the motor museum at Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, nature reserves and country parks. If you’re a wildlife fan, you really won’t be disappointed. There is so much to see and do you’ll be spoiled for choice.
There are some great Airbnbs around the New Forest
Isle of Wight
by Kat from Wandering Bird
If you’re looking for a weekend in Hampshire, head to the Isle of Wight. This beautiful island has plenty to discover and is widely regarded as one of the best places to visit in England for beaches or views.
Getting to the island is relatively easy as there are several ferry routes and even a hovercraft, which runs from Southsea on the mainland. Try to avoid Bank Holidays or the Round the Island sailing race- the prices can almost double then!
Once safely across, there’s plenty to do on the Island. You must visit the Needles – the iconic rocks at the western tip, but don’t forget to visit the multi-coloured sands in Alum Bay which is just down the coast.
In addition, there are several lovely beaches on the Isle of Wight. One of the best is Sandown, but Shanklin and Compton also have great sandy beaches to play and are often safe for swimming (beware of rip tides and very strong currents.)
Another beautiful destination is Osborne House, one of the favourite residences of Queen Victoria. You can visit both the house and the grounds and even sit on the beach where she used to go sea-bathing with all her children.
If you have young children, they will love the Robin Hill Adventure Park or the model village at Godshill. There are also plenty of zoos and animal sanctuaries, as well as stories of pirates and smugglers!
Click here for a selection of Airbnbs in the Isle of Wight