Climb the tower at Winchester Catheral for magnificent views across Hampshire
Things To Do
Go horse riding in the New Forest! With more than 3,000 New Forest ponies roaming the National Park, you’ll feel perfectly at home in the saddle. A hack along the peaceful bridleways beneath the trees and across the heaths are a fabulous way to discover the landscape, and with a dozen or so equestrian centres and riding schools, you’ll find plenty of opportunities.
Experience the golden age of steam on the Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line. You might wish to dine in style with a four-course silver service dinner or a traditional Sunday lunch on the move. Or simply explore the stations of yesteryear along the railway between Alresford and Alton.
Take a wander along the shingly Hurst Spit, a coastal nature reserve. The spit extends 1½ miles from Milford-on-Sea and once you’re at the very tip, you stand just ¾ mile from the Isle of Wight. There are impressive views of the Isle from the central keep, when you visit Hurst Castle, built by Henry VIII and where King Charles I spent some time before heading to London to have his head lopped off.
Visit the home of one of Britain’s best-loved authors, Jane Austen. The Jane Austen House and Museum are situated in the pretty village of Chawton, near Alton. The charming brick cottage is where Jane spent the last eight years of her life and wrote and revised such great novels as Emma and Northanger Abbey.
Go on a dinosaur hunt on the Isle of Wight! Considered one of the best locations in the UK to search for evidence of a pre-historic world, the Isle of Wight offers guided fossil walks with one of the island’s dinosaur experts. Or you can take a Footprint Tour. Download the free Dinosaur Island Trail app onto your smartphone and follow a self-guided tour to various dinosaur-linked locations across the island.
Hampshire is served by the M3 off the M25, but can also be accessed using the A35 and A303 from the west and the A34 from the north. Running along the south coast, the M27 provides quick access to Portsmouth, Southampton, the South Downs and the New Forest. The A3, crossing north to south through the South Downs National Park, is picturesque and much of it uses dual-carriageways.
Minor roads in Hampshire are all perfectly accessible. Extreme care should be taken within the New Forest where you should expect to see livestock on the road. There is a 40mph speed limit throughout much of the area.
Access to the Isle of Wight is via Lymington and Portsmouth using Wightlink or Southampton using Red Funnel Ferries when towing a caravan. Both companies often provide ‘ferry and campsite’ or ‘caravan goes free’ special offers. For those pitched up on the mainland wishing to take a day trip to the island, fast speed foot passenger services operate from Southampton, Portsmouth and Southsea.
Roads on the Isle of Wight are fine for towing; though watch out for a narrow and twisty section of A-road between Ventnor and Shanklin on the southeast coast. For one of the best coastal views, follow the Old Military Road (A3055) from Freshwater to Ventnor, hugging Compton and Brighstone Bays.
Enjoy your caravan holidays in Hampshire!