Hampshire’s Top Attractions

There’s loads to see and do in Hampshire and Hampshire’s top attractions offer some of the best places to visit for families.

Royal Armouries Fort Nelson

Fort Nelson is a vast Victorian fortification (and one of the famous Palmerston Follies) built in the 1860s to defend Portsdown Hill and the landward approaches to Portsmouth Dockyard.

Beautifully restored and commanding spectacular views over Portsmouth harbour to the south and the lovely Meon Valley to the north, Fort Nelson makes an idyllic picnic spot, and with 19 acres of ramparts, parade ground and outer fortifications, plus secret tunnels, a huge Artillery Hall and restored barracks and museum galleries, the Fort is an exciting day out whatever the weather!

Address:  Portsdown Hill Road, Fareham PO17 6AN
Telephone:  01329 233734
Email:  fnenquiries@armouries.org.uk
Website:  www.royalarmouries.org

Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

The Gardens are a spectacular 200 acre (100 hectare) site, world-famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons and azaleas and awarded the prestigious ‘International Camellia Garden of Excellence’ in 2014. This earthly paradise offers a riot of colour in spring and an oasis of tranquillity in summer.

The Gardens are open 14th March to 8th November 2015.

A chauffeur-driven buggy service allows visitors to access the furthest most points of the Gardens.

Younger visitors will love the Play Area and the Steam Train is sure to delight visitors of all ages. View our walk-through exhibition “A Dream Come True” in the Engine Shed, with video, info panels, railway posters and memorabilia.

Listed in ‘Top 10 Places for Autumn Colour’ with Visit England.

Address:  New Forest SO45 1AH
Telephone:  023 8089 1203
Email:  info@exbury.co.uk
Website:  www.exbury.co.uk

Paultons Theme Park Home of Peppa Pig World

Peppa Pig World at Paulton Park 2011

Paultons Park is the theme park for families with more than 60 wonderful rides and attractions included in the admission price.

Paultons is of course home to the world’s first and UK exclusive Peppa Pig World! This amazing land let’s youngsters discover Peppa’s World in nearly 3 acres of fully themed fun! There are 7 fabulous rides including Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight, Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride, Grandpa’s Little Train, George’s Dinosaur Adventure and you can even ride in a ‘cloud’ around Windy Castle! Peppa Pig World features a huge indoor play area, Georges Spaceship Playzone and superb animated themed attractions including a chance to visit Peppa and her family in their house! Peppa Pig World is also home to Daddy Pig’s Big Tummy café and Peppa’s Toy Shop, the largest (and only!) dedicated Peppa Pig shop in the World!

Top for thrills is the Park’s breath-taking ride, EDGE. Riders swoop and spin through the air reaching a height of 15 metres on a giant disc that travels along a 90-metre track featuring a ‘camelback’ hill to create an amazing floating sensation. EDGE was the first ride of its type in the UK and perfectly complements the Park’s other thrilling rides including The Cobra and, last year’s exhilarating new attraction Magma.

The action continues apace at Paultons with guests being able to swoop on The Cat-O-Pillar rollercoaster, make a splash on the mighty Raging River Ride log flume, drop down the Jumping Bean and fly on the thrilling Sky Swinger.

Smaller children will love Water Kingdom! It’s a whole world of water jets, giant tipping buckets, sprays, fountains, and super soakers for the little ones to enjoy and explore. This huge 8,500ft2 kids’ splash park paradise features more than 20 different ways of getting wet and has a seated patio area nearby so parents can relax whilst watching the fun.

Younger children also adore the beautiful garden-themed Trekking Tractors ride, Land of the Dinosaurs, Seal Falls, the Digger Ride, Jumping Jack, Tiny Tots Town and the Wonderful World of Wind in the Willows where the characters from this classic story have their amazing adventures.

Paultons really is way too much fun for one day!

Address:  Off Exit 2 M27, New Forest, nr Romsey SO51 6AL
Telephone:  023 8081 4442
Website:  www.paultonspark.co.uk


Beaulieu is an award winning family day out with one ticket granting access to all attractions.

With over 250 vehicles in its collection, the National Motor Museum tells the story of motoring on the roads and circuits of Britain, from pioneering origins to the present day. From the earliest motor carriages to classic family saloons, displays include land speed record holders, motorcycles, a rustic 1930’s country garage and Wheels – a fascinating pod ride through motoring history.  New for 2015, Grand Prix Greats and Road, Race and Rally – new displays telling the story of motorsport.

World of Top Gear recreates the feel of the Top Gear Studio. See unique behind the scenes footage from Top Gear HQ.

Home to the Montagu family since 1538, Palace House is a Victorian styled country house. Costumed guides will give you a flavour of life `below stairs` and share with you the history of the house and the generations who have lived there.  Explore the grounds, which feature Victorian flower and kitchen gardens.

Founded in 1204, the once vast Beaulieu Abbey was largely destroyed during the Reformation. In one of the surviving buildings, you’ll see an exhibition on the history of the Abbey and the monks that lived and worked here.

Ride the Monorail for informative commentary and sweeping views of the park, and in the Secret Army Exhibition the truth behind Beaulieu’s covert wartime role is revealed…

With much more besides, Beaulieu is open daily from 10am (except Christmas day).

Address:  New Forest SO42 7ZN
Telephone:  01590 612345
Email:  info@beaulieu.co.uk
Website:  www.beaulieu.co.uk

Winchester Cathedral

An inspiring day out for all ages! There’s lots to see at Winchester Cathedral – explore more than 1,000 years of history, discover the beautiful illuminated Winchester Bible, 12th-century wall paintings, medieval carvings, contemporary art and incredible architecture. Find out how a diver saved the Cathedral from collapse and how Jane Austen came to be buried in the nave. A new exhibition exploring Jane Austen’s life is now open.

A free children’s trail, written by a professional children’s writer, offers a fun and informative look at the Cathedral and introduces some of the characters associated with its colourful past and present.

Join one of the many guided tours and hear about the characters and events that have shaped our Cathedral and nation.

A wide range of events take place throughout the year. From classical concerts, open-air theatre and themed lunches to children’s holiday activities, a major Christmas market and real ice rink.

The Cathedral Refectory, with its pretty garden and open-air terrace, is the perfect place to stop for mid-morning coffee and pastry, delicious homemade lunch or Hampshire cream tea. All food is made on the premises by the team of talented chefs. Visit the Cathedral shop and treat yourself to the latest CD featuring Winchester Cathedral Choir, a gift or souvenir.

Pay today and visit as often as you like for 12 months.

Address:  9 The Close, Winchester SO23 9LS
Telephone:  01962 857225
Email:  visits@winchester-cathedral.org.uk
Website:  www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk

Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium

Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium is an under-cover, all-weather visitor attraction.

There are over 100 hands-on exhibits each one on a different aspect of science and technology. So you can operate cranes, compose electronic music, build electrical circuits and see your body’s hot spots with a thermo-imaging camera. The list goes on and on. The new sport activity zone is full of unusual interactive exhibits, like moving a ball with just your brain waves, wheelchair basketball and a short race track with a photo of your start.

The Science Centre also has the UK’s largest capacity Planetarium. This is a cinema with a vast dome screen. The image is all around you so that the effect can be like floating in space. The planetarium uses state of the art digital images and a cinema standard sound system. It is a unique experience.

There are two new shows recently added to the planetarium schedule: Back to the Moon: For Good is about the private teams around the world competing for the $40 million prize from Google to land a robot on the moon. Also covers the history of moon landings. In The Life of Trees follow Dolores the ladybird and Mike the glow-worm as they explore how trees live and their importance to our environment. Perfect for children up to 11 years old. This show has won many awards for its beautiful imagery.

There is also a full event schedule for families or adults only. Look out for Saturday Night Live at the Planetarium and After Dark.

Address:  Telegraph Way, Off Alresford Road, Winchester SO22 5BP
Telephone:  01962 863791
Email:  info@winchestersciencecentre.org
Website:  www.winchestersciencecentre.org

The Spinnaker Tower

Spinnaker Tower

Soaring 170 metres high and standing proudly over Portsmouth Harbour is the iconic Spinnaker Tower, the tallest publicly accessible building outside of London and one of the great attractions in the South! Visitors to the Spinnaker Tower travel to the first of its three viewing decks in a high-speed internal lift, reaching 100 metres above sea level in just 28 seconds.

Prepare for the wow factor as stunning 350 degree views envelop visitors with views stretching out for up to 23 miles, out across Portsmouth harbour, the south coast and beyond. Those who are brave enough can test their nerve and venture across the glass floor Sky Walk, exploring more of the tower’s striking construction as well as taking the chance to appreciate the 330 foot drop below! i-VIEW screens on View Deck 1 provide an interactive touch-screen experience which brings the views to life, providing an innovative and exciting way for visitors to interpret the breath-taking vistas.

Day and night time views are available to choose from and with giga-pixel technology, visitors can explore the views in minute detail. Free audio guides, also available on View Deck One, explain the 1,700 years of history encapsulated in the stunning panoramic scenes. View Deck Two hosts Café in the Clouds, offering visitors the opportunity to savour the views with a selection of hot drinks and sweet treats available. Just a short climb from View Deck 2, 30 stairs to be exact, is the Sky Deck.

Open to the elements, visitors can feel the wind in their hair or the rain on their heads as they enjoy the highest point of the tower, 110 metres up.

Spinnaker Tower celebrates its 10th birthday throughout 2015, with a variety of thrilling events planned to mark this significant milestone. Open everyday (except Christmas Day) from 10am.

Address:  Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth PO1 3TT
Telephone:  023 9285 7520
Email:  info@spinnakertower.co.uk
Website:  www.spinnakertower.co.uk

Marwell Zoo

Set in 140 acres of delightful Hampshire countryside, Marwell is a relaxing and fascinating park at the heart of wildlife conservation.

There are over 180 species of animals, from tiny ants to the tallest giraffe. Marwell is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation of wildlife. Just by visiting Marwell Zoo, you’ll be making a big contribution to our projects to conserve species and habitats, both here in Hampshire and around the world. Our work is a lot more widespread and influential than you might realise.

Discover something different, learn something amazing and help us make tomorrow’s world rich in animal life. We are open daily from 10am. Are you looking for a truly unique animal encounter? At Marwell you’ll find two opportunities for you to experience the world of animals: Be a Keeper for a Day or come Face to Face.

There is easy access from M3 and M27 with FREE parking.

Address:  Colden Common, Winchester SO21 1JH
Telephone:  01962 777407
Email:  marwell@marwell.org.uk
Website:  www.marwell.org.uk

About the Author