Hampshire Holiday Getaway
One of the United Kingdoms most popular holiday destinations is Hampshire, also known as the County of Hamptonshire, found on the south coast of England. It has 1,455 square miles and Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey and West Sussex as its neighbors.
Hampshire is known as the county of world-renowned writers, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Today, however, it is known more for the numerous attractions it offers to locals and tourists alike. These sights include seaside resorts, ports and maritime areas, fascinating museums of all sorts, acclaimed parks, an astonishing free roaming herd of stag – the largest in the United Kingdom, and scenic views of the countryside.
Hampshire has a lot to offer nature lovers. The New Forest National Park, a wonderful and one-of-a-kind landscape of woodland, heath, farmland and marsh all rolled into one. It is also home to picturesque villages and provides a unique sense of wildness and tranquility to those who come to appreciate its beauty and vastness.
Up for an official proclamation as another National Park is The South Downs, home to the famed villages and meadows of Meon Valley, where chalk lowlands, open hilltops, and various fascinating nature reserves can be explored.
Meanwhile, Hampshire’s biggest country park, the Queen Elizabeth Country Park, is a 1,400-acre of woodland and lowland that offer open access.
Any trip to the countryside of Hampshire warrants a stroll along the lovely market towns and villages, where ancient buildings made of flint, cob and thatch can be found. If the walk makes you hungry, you can order local food and traditional ales – a must-try – at any of the pubs that abound in the area.
In the city, visit restaurants, hotels and pubs (most of them award-winners) and enjoy a taste of Hampshire’s wide range of locally produced food and drink. Top food and drink choices include ales, cheeses, chocolates, chutneys and jams, and cider. Don’t leave Hampshire without giving these delicacies a try.
Portsmouth, Hampshire’s famed waterfront city, provides in-depth information on the city’s history, with impressive military and maritime museums such as the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (home to world-renown ships such as the HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860, and The Mary Rose), the D-Day Museum and Overlord Embroidery, and the Royal Marines Museum. On the other hand, the Royal Armouries Fort Nelson, located on Portsdown Hill near Fareham, provides spectacular views of Portsmouth.
A few minutes of walking will lead you to a trendy hotspot and the finest waterfront destination the city offers, Gunwharf Quays. It houses more than 85 shopping outlets, art gallery, cinema, casino, nightclubs and restaurants. The Spinnaker Tower, which proudly stands at 170 metres, gives incredible views over the Solent.
Meanwhile, Southsea, which has a Victorian seafront and home to the Southsea Castle, offers a swimming complex and vast green spaces for picnics, strolls and kite-flying. There’s also the Blue Reef Aquarium that hosts tropical marine life.
Finally, enjoy tea at Hampshire in any of the city’s famed gardens. Owned by National Trust, The Vyne in Sherborne St. John has more than a thousand acres of breathtaking gardens. Also owned by National Trust, the Mottisfont Abbey and Garden near Romsey houses the National Collection of old-fashioned roses and consists mostly of farmland and woods.