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7 must-see places in Hampshire

The county of Hampshire in England, with its rich heritage, is a veritable jewel case where history and culture blend harmoniously in a setting of unspoilt natural beauty. Fascinating museums, remarkable architectural buildings, lively theaters and inspiring art galleries promise an unforgettable stay. To enhance your visit, discover our top 7 must-see sites in Hampshire.
Published on June 28, 2024

1. Portsmouth shipyard

Portsmouth's shipyard bears witness to the city's role as a military port. This immersive exploration gives you a close-uplook at several legendary ships, as well as the opportunity to climb aboard some of these iconic vessels.

The Ultimate Explorer ticket gives you access to 9 attractions, including :

  • The HMS Victory Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson's ship, whose 104 guns distinguished themselves at the Battle of Trafalgar.
  • The Mary Rose: King Henry VIII's ship and its collection of Tudor-style artefacts, which lay at the bottom of the Solent for over 400 years before being raised from the water.
  • The HMS Warrior an iron-hulled warship that made naval history during Queen Victoria's reign.
  • The Royal Navy Submarine Museum, where you can enter the only surviving submarine from the Second World War.
  • The Museum of Naval Firepower Explosions, with a unique collection ranging from torpedoes to modern missiles
  • A boat trip between the Portsmouth shipyard and the museums...

2. Winchester Cathedral

Hampshire is also rich in majestic buildings. Winchester Cathedral is one of Europe's greatest religious monuments. Here you'll find various architectural elements blending Norman, Gothic and early English styles.

The top of the tower is 46 metres high. Inside, the grandeur of the church extends to the nave ceilings. The high altar is equally imposing, its height symbolizing proximity to God and prayers to heaven. The stone altarpiece contains details of the Crucifixion.

The cathedral is open to visitors and hosts numerous cultural events: concerts, exhibitions, conferences...

3. King Arthur's round table

Not far from the cathedral, discover the remains of Winchester Castle, testimony to its former glory. Built by William the Conqueror, it was the seat of medieval monarchs.

The Great Hall, where King Arthur's legendary round table is displayed, is one of the most beautiful and largest medieval halls in England, with its hammered-beam roof and large stained-glass windows.

In the medieval garden, you'll discover the inspirations of queens Eleanor of Castile and Eleanor of Provence. With its vine arbour and fountain, the site showcases 13th-century herbs and plants.

As for the fortified medieval gate, it now houses the Westgate Museum at the top of High Street.

4. D-Day Story: the D-Day Museum

Hampshire County played an important role in the preparations for D-Day, from the hidden camps in the New Forest to the concrete infrastructures on the beaches that served as embarkation zones.

The D-Day Story is the British museum that recounts the events of June 1944. The Normandy landings are still remembered as the greatest invasion of the sea.

Relive this turning point in history as you climb aboard Landing Craft Tank 7074, which carried up to 10 tanks across the Channel before becoming a floating discotheque in the post-war years.

5. Chawton Cottage: Jane Austen's home

In the small village of Chawton, you'll find many historic buildings, including thatched cottages dating back to the 13th century. But the most popular home remains that of Jane Austen. The writer is intimately linked with the county of Hampshire. She was born in 1775 in Steventon, where she spent the first years of her life.

She then moved to Southampton, where she used to visit Netley Abbey and the River Itchen. She regularly visited her brothers in Portsmouth.

But it was at Chawton Cottage that she wrote her six novels. The house is open to the public, and you can approach her study and other archives in the converted museum.

6. Southampton City Art Gallery

Opened in 1939, the gallery is located in the city's cultural district. The Southampton City Art Gallery holds a vast collection of works of art, with over 5,000 pieces representing the different artistic movements from the Renaissance to the present day.

You can enter the gallery free of charge, and in the main hall you'll find a rotating exhibition of the permanent collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs. The space from the Renaissance to the present day features Southampton's most important works. Finally, the Exhibition foyer aims to reveal emerging local artists to the world.

7. The theater of kings

The Kings Theater was built in 1907 under the direction of renowned architect Franck Matcham. The Grade II-listed arched theater has retained its traditional atmosphere while adding a modern touch.

The program features international choices as well as local compositions, with performances throughout the year.

Famous names have graced the stage of the Théâtre des rois, including Laurel & Hardy, Sean Connery and Elton John. Famous plays have been staged here, including Dirty Dancing and Mamma Mia. It's a culturally rich venue that regularly hosts musicals, theater, dance and film screenings.