The county of Hampshire in the south east of England has a southern coast that takes in Portsmouth, Southampton and Lymington and two national parks; New Forest National Park and South Downs National Park.
Here you’ll find fascinating cities, historic towns and picturesque villages. Lovely areas of protected forest and rolling chalk downs, Blue Flag beaches and a rich maritime heritage.
Portsmouth has connections with Britain’s naval traditions that go back hundreds of years and the city’s historic dockyard offers a fantastic insight into this maritime history. See the HMS Victory, explore the Mary Rose Museum and then take a tour of the harbour or maybe appreciate the great views across the Solent from the 170 metre high Spinnaker Tower.
Just along the coast Hayling Island offers great family entertainment with a Blue Flag beach, rollercoaster and sea front railway; a great traditional seaside day out.
The New Forest National Park has 218 square miles of protected landscapes and is a wonderful playground for walkers, cyclists and horse riding with 146 miles of marked trails, pubs and tea shops. It is of course also home to the famous New Forest ponies. Get along to the New Forest Centre at Lyndhurst to plan your visit.
The chalk hills of the South Downs National Park also provides the perfect setting for wonderful adventures by foot, bike or horse, or maybe try out hand gliding or paragliding. Within the bounds of the national park is Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield, here you’ll find plenty of family activities and the South Downs Way.
Situated on the edge of the South Downs the historic city of Winchester, one time ancient capital of England, has a fascinating history that includes a magnificent 11th century cathedral and associations with King Arthur’s Round Table at the Great Hall. Also of historical interest is Romsey on the banks of the River Test, with its medieval streets and Norman Abbey.
Literary lovers will be delighted by Jane Austen’s house in Chawton. Now a museum, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the beloved author’s life and see how she found her unique inspiration in Hampshire.
Take a look at our selection of holiday cottages in Hampshire.