Predominantly rural, Hampshire, often abbreviated to Hants, encompasses the South Downs, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and the New Forest. Hampshire offers a wealth of attractions and events, including a range of excellent hotels, delicious restaurants, golf, fishing, horse riding, historic towns, gardens, museums and rolling rural landscape that is ideal for walking.
The undulating chalk downs and fertile agricultural valleys are testament to Hampshire’s varied landscape. Winchester, which was once the capital of the Kingdom of Wessex, is a charming city with a captivating cathedral and a stunning setting. The coastline is steeped in maritime history, especially Portsmouth, which was once home to the Royal Navy. The south-western corner of Hampshire has an open heath and the New Forest’s woodlands to explore.
During the autumn Hampshire is filled with rich colours and mild weather. During the summer Hampshire can be very busy however during late spring Hampshire is warm and quieter than it is during the summer monthsDuring the autumn Hampshire is filled with rich colours and mild weather. During the summer Hampshire can be very busy however during late spring Hampshire is warm and quieter than it is during the summer months
As in the rest of the UK, the weather in Hampshire is changeable. During the winter the weather is often overcast, rainy and cold with temperatures at approximately 10°C. However, during the summer temperatures range between 20-35°C. The weather in the spring and autumn can be anywhere between.As in the rest of the UK, the weather in Hampshire is changeable. During the winter the weather is often overcast, rainy and cold with temperatures at approximately 10°C. However, during the summer temperatures range between 20-35°C. The weather in the spring and autumn can be anywhere between.
Grange Park Opera Festival: Grange Park Opera is one of the major festivals in Europe. Lasting for seven-weeks, the festival is of a smaller nature as the award-winning indoor theatre seats only 550.
Grange Park Opera, 24 Broad Street, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9AQ. www.grangeparkopera.co.uk. Box Office: 01962 737373. Dining: 01962 73 73 67.
New Forest and Hampshire County Show: Every July this three-day event happens. It is the biggest event in the New Forest and takes place in Brockenhurst. There are also boat and car jumble sales at Beaulieu and an outdoor theatre in Exbury Gardens.
New Forest Show, The Showground, New Park, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7QH. 01590 622400. www.newforestshow.co.uk
Cowes Week Sailing Regatta: At the beginning of August the annual sailing regatta Cowes Week takes place. It has been a key event in the British sporting calendar since 1826 and is today one of the UK’s most established and popular sporting events. The regatta is the largest of its kind in the world with 40 races each day and 1,000 boats competing. The event is held on the Solent, which is the area between England and the Isle of Wight.
01983 293 952. www.cowes.co.uk
Bournemouth Air Show: This annual Air Festival has been running since 2008 and welcomes more than 5.8 million people each year. The 1.5-mile Festival site is located between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers.
0845 051 1700. bournemouthair.co.uk
Solent Music Festival: Featuring one of the UK’s most famous quartets the Endellion Quartet, this feast of chamber, choral and solo piano music is enjoyed by audiences of all ages.
0207 6371477. St Thomas Church, Lymington, SO41 9ND. solentmusicfestival.com
Southampton Boat Show: The UK’s leading outdoor Boat Show has on and off water experiences for boaters, traders and families.
Hampshire’s OctoberFest 2014: This annual event celebrates Hampshire’s finest Beer and Food producers. Organised by Hampshire Museums and Galleries Trust, OctoberFest is located in Basingstoke Cricket & Sports Ground. Showcasing a large range of producers selling great food, beers and cider. There are demonstrations, exhibitions, craft workshops, talks, live music and dance, street entertainment, traditional games, competitions and children’s activities.
Fairfields Road, Basingstoke, Hants, RG21 3DR. www.hampshireoctoberfest.co.uk.
New Forest Walking Festival: Every October the New Forest National Park Authority and partner organisations lead the Walking Festival. The walk is guided by friendly and knowledgeable leaders and includes many of the area’s best walks. This is a wonderful time of year to walk around the National Park as the forest is full of colours and its not too warm.
New Forest National Park. 01590 646600. www.newforestnpa.gov.uk
Christmas celebrations are enjoyed. Most of the towns and villages celebrate with lights, decorations, special events and performances.
The New Forest National Park was formed in 2005, covers an area of 200 square miles and is the most heavily populated national park in Britain. The New Forest has a variety of habitats including lowland, wet and dry heaths, mires, bogs, mixed farmland, the coast, acid grasslands, ancient pasture woodland and coniferous plantations. There is a lot to enjoy, such as visiting the award-winning gardens, leisure and wildlife parks, the farm and historic houses and museums that illustrate the New Forest’s history. The New Forest is also a haven for cycling, horse riding and walking.
New Forest National Park. 01590 646600. www.newforestnpa.gov.uk
Located on the edge of the New Forest by Ashurst and Lyndhurst, lies the Wildlife Park. The park is recognised as the UK’s leading institution in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned otters, owls, deer and foxes. The park specialises in native and past-native British wildlife, as well as otters and owls from across the world.
Marchwood SO40 4UH. 023 8029 2408. www.newforestwildlifepark.co.uk
Sandy Balls is 120 acres of woodland and parkland in the New Forest, which is surrounded on the western edge by the River Avon.
Godshill, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 2JZ. 0845 270 2248. www.sandyballs.co.uk
It has been voted the ‘Best Hotel in the British Isles’ and the traditional British restaurant has also achieved lots of awards. This hotel, country club, spa and restaurant have a staff-to-guest ratio of two-to-one, so guests are very well looked after. The world-renowned boutique hotel in Hampshire combines old-school elegance with modern style and feeling.
Chewton Glen, New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 6QS. 01425 275341. chewtonglen.com
Hurst Castle is one of Henry VIII’s Device Forts built at the end of a long shingle spit at the west end of the Solent to guard the approaches to Southampton.
Saltgrass Lane, Milnford-on-Sea, Hampshire SO41 0TP. 0870 333 1181. www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/hurst-castle
Winchester Cathedral: This magnificent building contains evidence of over 1000 years of history, which can be experienced on a tour of the tower. The Cathedral has a Gothic façade and the interior has a 164 metre medieval nave, making it one of the longest in Europe. This jumble of features from different eras continues throughout the building.
Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom. 01962857275. www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk. Open: 9am-5pm Saturday and 12:30-3pm on Saturday.
Learn about the lifestyle of the Cistercian monks who established Beaulieu Abbey in 1204 on the land they were given by King John. Walk through the herb garden where the monks grew plants for cooking and medicine, such as lavender. The Abbey was mostly destroyed during Henry VIII’s reign however visitors can still learn about the Beaulieu Abbey.
Beaulieu Enterprises Ltd, John Montagu Building, Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, United Kingdom, SO42 7ZN. 01590 612 345. firstname.lastname@example.org. beaulieu.co.uk.
This Roman courtyard villa, in rockbourne village, was unearthed in 1942 and excavate by A. T. Morley Hewitt over thirty years. It was then put on public display.
Rockbourne, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 3PG. 01725 518541. www.hants.gov.uk/rockbourne-roman-villa
This beautiful castle, set in the costal village of Calshot, was an artillery fort built by Henry VIII to guard the sea passage to Southampton.
Calshot Spit, Calshot, Hampshire SO45 1BR. 0870 333 1181. www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/calshot-castle
Testwood Lakes refers to the three lakes near the River Test. The lakes were built to provide drinking water to the Southampton area.
THE BLACK RAT: This former pub was converted into a quaint and quirky restaurant. Situated on Chesil Street, on the cusp of the town centre, the Black Rat has acquired a Michelin Star just one year after opening. The food is sourced locally and the restaurant has its own forager and a motivated kitchen team who create modern British food. The wine list includes over 80 wines from the Old and New World. For occasions, there is a private dining room upstairs, as well as a comfortable lounge with a well-stocked bar, which guests can enjoy.
88 Chesil Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 0HX. 01962 844465. www.theblackrat.co.uk
THE CHESIL RECTORY: This historic restaurant inhabits a 600-year-old grade II listed medieval house with extraordinary charm. The restaurant has retained many of its original features, including solid oak beams, ancient doorways and open fireplaces. The restaurant has been owned since 2008 by a group of friends who love food and wine. The Chesil Rectory’s menu offers simple, classic British food that is seasonal and made with fresh local produce. The restaurant has won a string of awards for its delicious food. There is an upstairs bar and private dining room.
1 Chesil Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 0HU. 01962 851 555. www.chesilrectory.co.uk
THE PIG: The Pig restaurant is run by Chef James Golding and serves up delicious, home grown food. All the ingredients are sourced in the local area. The menu follows the seasons and the gardener, forager and chef drive everything. The restaurant is located in a 26-bedroom hotel, which offers both a relaxed and comfortable environment.
Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7QL (01590 622354; www.thepighotel.com).
VETIVER, CHEWTON GLEN: The old Marryat restaurant at Chewton Glen has transformed into Vetiver, a country-house hotel restaurant. Head chef Andrew du Bourg’s menus are mostly made up of produce that comes straight from the hotel’s kitchen garden. The menu has a wide variety to suit all guests’ needs, spanning from comfort food to a five-course lunch with a wine-matched tasting menu.
Chewton Glen, New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 6QS. 01425 275341. vetiverchewtonglen.com
HARTNETT HOLDER & CO: Situated in Lime Wood stately country house in the heart of the New Forest, is the upscale and stylish restaurant Hartnett Holder & Co. Set in a former medieval hunting lodge and home to the Duke of Clarence in the 1740s, Hartnett and Holder serves up British and Italian home-cooked food. Run by Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood’s Luke Holder, they have created a menu that uses all locally sourced dishes that reflect the seasons. Highlights include the bangers and mash and the prawn cocktail.
Lime Wood, Beaulieu Rd, Lyndhurst, New Forest, Hampshire, SO43 7FZ. 023 8028 7177. www.limewoodhotel.co.uk
HOTEL TERRA VINA: For delicious, gourmet food Hotel Terra Vina is the ideal spot. Situated in the heart of the New Forest, Hotel Terra’s restaurant offers a relaxed setting and a bevy of wines available by the glass. Laura, the award-winning sommelier, can wine match each of your courses. The emphasis is on food and drink, with Classic Californian dishes cooked in an open kitchen.
174 Woodlands Road, Woodlands, Netley Marsh, New Forest, Southampton, Hampshire SO40 7GL. 023 8029 3784. www.hotelterravina.co.uk/dining.asp
THE TERRACE, THE MONTAGU ARMS: Experience fine dining at its best at the Michelin star restaurant The Terrace, situated in Beaulieu in the heart of the New Forest. There’s a six-course tasting menu and an extensive collection of wine, champagne and cheese. The dishes usually reflect the season as they are made from local seasonal produce.
Palace Lane, New Forest, Hampshire SO42 7ZL. 01590 612324. www.montaguarmshotel.co.uk/terrace_restaurant.html
· Currency: Pound Sterling
· Exchange rate: 0.79 Pound Sterling (GBP) to the Euro (July 2014)
· Adapters: UK 3 pin adapter
· Emergency numbers: Police, Ambulance and Fire Brigade: 999.
· Hampshire Tourist Information Centres: http://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/plan-your-visit/tourist-information-centres
Greetings: In England it is custom to shake someone’s hand when meeting them for the first time.
Tipping: In restaurants the normal practice is to tip the waiter 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the total bill. However, if a service charge is included on the bill it is rare for a customer to tip twice. It is custom to tip black cab drivers but not minicab drivers. Taxi drivers expect a tip of 10 to 15 per cent.
Drive carefully and watch out for cyclists, horse riders, walkers and animals: Many of Hampshire’s roads, especially in the New Forest, are narrow and drivers will frequently be sharing them with cyclists, horse riders, walkers and animals. Also be careful of free-roaming animals on the road. The animals have the right of way.Drive carefully and watch out for cyclists, horse riders, walkers and animals: Many of Hampshire’s roads, especially in the New Forest, are narrow and drivers will frequently be sharing them with cyclists, horse riders, walkers and animals. Also be careful of free-roaming animals on the road. The animals have the right of way.
Planes: Southampton has a relatively small airport, which has direct train connections to other parts of Hampshire. Bournemouth also has a small international airport, which is very near to Hampshire. Alternatively, use one of the London airports and then take the train or drive from there.
Trains: South West Trains link Brocklehurst, Winchester and Southampton with London Waterloo, Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth.
Car: Hampshire is on the southern coast of England and is well connected to the M27, A31, A338 and A36.
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