10 Hidden Gems in the Heart of Hampshire

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Hampshire is well known for its spectacular scenery, gorgeous coastlines and historical sites. From England’s former capital Winchester to the bustling ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, you will experience thriving culture, with history and culture at its core.  

With so much to see and do, it’s easy to overlook some of the county’s most unmissable sights and attractions. Whether you’re a history buff, love the outdoors or have an interest in aviation, there is plenty to experience all on your doorstep. 

We’ve discovered 10 hidden gems in the heart of Hampshire that are definitely worth a visit.

Solent Sky Museum

Solent Sky Museum is a celebration of all things aviation born out of Southampton. From the legendary Spitfire to the iconic Sandringham Flying Boat, you can experience first hand why “Spitfire City” was such an epicentre for aircraft experimentation and development. 

While at the museum, you can imagine what it would be like to fly a jet fighter while sat in the remarkable Supermarine Swift or Harrier Jump Jet before standing onboard one of the museum’s great flying boats. 

Step into the new Schneider Trophy Exhibition and see the record-breaking S6a before taking a breather and watching legendary races from the romantic era of aviation itself. 

Exciting Escapes

Have you got what it takes to uncover secrets, solve a mystery or recover a duchess before your time is up? If you haven’t experienced this worldwide phenomenon for yourself, you’re in for a real treat. 

Exciting Escapes is Hampshire’s premier escape room experience. Fully immersive, challenging and allowing you to become the hero for an afternoon, you won’t find another experience like it anywhere else! 

You can even dress the part. Don, your best 1920s apparel, become the detective you’ve always dreamed of being or get suited and booted in your finest. You can even have a rummage in the dress-up box! 

With escape rooms in Basingstoke, Southampton, Portsmouth and more, your next adventure is waiting. Are you ready? 

Highclere Castle

Downton Abbey fans rejoice! Highclere Castle is world-renowned as the home of the fictional Crawley family. Now you too can wander the aristocratic rooms, explore the servant quarters and have a stroll through the majestic grounds. 

Today, the Castle is the real-life home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Considered to be one of the finest Victorian homes still in existence, the Castle was designed by no other than Sir Charles Barry – architect of the Houses of Parliament. 

Bursting with fine furniture and rare works of art, it’s easy to imagine what life was like back in the height of 1770s culture. 

New Forest National Park

Take a wander through the New Forest National Park and discover one of the world’s most unique habitats of rare plants and animals. Given National Park status in 2005, this area of outstanding beauty is home to the awe-inspiring landscape that is shaped by the free-roaming pigs, cattle and grazing ponies.

Whether you want to explore by foot, bike or horseback, you can get a real sense of the park’s tranquillity and wildness. Even 900 years ago, William the Conqueror favoured the land for its rich wildlife – and of course, hunting opportunities back then! 

Steamship Shieldhall

Have you ever wanted to set foot on a working steamship? Well, you can, with Britain’s largest vessel of its type, the remarkable Steamship Shiedhall. 

Serving as a seagoing tribute to UK maritime history, you can experience the golden age of steam for yourself. A member of the National Historic Fleet, you can hop on board in Southampton and set off for a one of a kind excursion.

Tudor House and Garden

Another one for those wanting to sample a slice of British history, Southampton’s Tudor House and Garden offers an atmospheric glimpse into the lives and times of both the city and its residents throughout the years. 

Suitable for all ages, you will find a treasure trove of artefacts, authentic furniture, decor and more on display. With its winning combination of family-friendly activities, events and interactive technology and displays, you’ll leave bursting with new information to talk about later with your friends and family. 

Moors Valley Country Park & Forest

Little explorers and big adventurers will discover miles of mapped cycle and walking routes, two large adventure play zones, a model steam railway, numerous woodland play areas to visit and more, all before you tuck into the culinary delights on offer at the restaurant. 

On top of all the permanent fixtures on offer at Moors Valley Country Park & Forest, including Go Ape and Segway hire, there are a whole host of activities on offer throughout the year. Keep your eyes peeled for Nordic walking, pond dipping, Ranger Den, and more. 

Royal Navy Submarine Museum

If you’re planning a trip to Gosport on passing by, make sure you check out the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. Based inside the formidable HMS Alliance, you will assault all your senses as you explore the only remaining WWII era submarine. 

There’s no better way to glimpse what life was like under the sea than to take a peek through one of her working periscopes before journeying through every decade of her fascinating service history. 

Hayling Billy Trail

Described as “Hayling’s hidden secret,” the Hayling Billy Trail is a must for anyone who enjoys walking, hiking, jogging or cycling with a beautiful backdrop of stunning scenery. The trail itself is part of the Hayling Billy Coastal Path, which runs along the west coast of Hayling Island. 

Along your journey, you will come across the remains of a historical rail bridge, beautiful flora, active Oyster beds, and may even have a rare glimpse of a little tern or a seal pup. 

Most explorers will use the path during the summer months, but it is also perfect during those brisk winter days with a steaming flask of coffee or hot chocolate to fuel your walk!

St Nicholas Church

Tucked away in Brockenhurst, you will find one of the oldest churches in the New Forest. To this day, part of St Nicholas Church’s original Norman walls and features still stand. With its moving tribute to the soldiers who fought during WWI and the church’s fascinating history, it’s well worth a look. 

Are you ready to discover one of Hampshire’s hidden gems? With so much variety on offer, your next big day out could be your best one yet!

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