Postcard-perfect countryside, picturesque towns and Britain’s signature cathedral await in Hampshire. As the largest county in South East England, Hampshire combines old-world charm with contemporary appeal. Get lost in dynamic cities like Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton or escape to unspoiled villages like Chilbolton and Selborne.
Things to do in Hampshire
Built in the 11th century, Winchester Cathedral is one of Europe’s most beautiful buildings. While the façade is Gothic, the cathedral incorporates a variety of other architectural styles. Guided tours take you up the main tower and unlock spectacular views over the city. Attending an enchanting choral evensong is a memorable experience.
The lively city of Portsmouth recalls the county’s seafaring past. HMS Victory, the legendary warship that helped the Royal Navy win the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, is docked in the harbour. Getting up close with the enormous cannons, descending below deck and peering into the crew’s quarters brings the ship to life. The evocative Mary Rose Museum celebrates the legacy of the 16th-century warship commissioned by Henry VIII.
From cosy pubs to fine-dining restaurants, Hampshire offers some of the best food in South East England. There’s a big focus on farm-to-table produce, including acorn-fed pork, organic apples and peppery watercress. You’ll also see award-winning cheeses, homemade chutneys and fresh trout on menus across the county.
Jane Austen's House Museum is nestled in the charming village of Chawton. The museum occupies the former Georgian home of the beloved British author, who wrote bestsellers like “Emma” and “Mansfield Park” while living there with her family. Treasures on display include Austen’s desk, embroidered handkerchiefs and first editions novels.
South Downs National Park immerses you in a landscape of rolling hills, ancient woodlands and emerald-green pastures. The park is laced with scenic walking trails that can be explored on foot, bicycle or horseback.
Getting around Hampshire
Excellent road, rail and bus links make it easy to explore Hampshire. You’ll find train stations in Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton, as well as smaller towns and villages across the county. Heathrow Airport in London is a 1.5-hour drive from Portsmouth. Rental cars offer the freedom to explore Hampshire at your own pace.