While home to a variety of bustling towns and cities, Hampshire’s countryside itself is a reason to visit the county. The autumn not only presents the opportunity to see the countryside as the leaves turn amber, as the weather becomes crisp and cooler, however also allows one to visit the county during a quieter period, giving more time to appreciate nature at its most beautiful.
Home to not one, but two national parks: the South Downs and the New Forest. Both offer a range of different attractions, from idyllic beaches to Hampshire vineyards, to scenic walks spanning miles of ever-changing landscape. For those spending a staycation in the county, our vast range of countryside not only provides an opportunity to explore places you may not usually see, but also provides entertainment for adults and children alike for little to no cost.
Did you know that many public access walking routes allow you to pass through Hambledon Vineyard? For those looking for a longer walk, Hambledon Parish Council recommends a stroll through the village and its two cricket clubs, with a stop at the Bat and Ball pub for lunch at its midpoint. Or enjoy a more relaxed ramble through Hambledon Vineyard: starting at the People’s Market, the route takes you through our beautiful vines and loops back into the village. Why not punctuate your walk with a tour of our historic vineyard, or stop for an exquisite lunch at our pop-up restaurant?
Located in the heart of the New Forest National Park, Brockenhurst is a beautiful village with ponies and donkeys roaming free, a range of stores to explore, alongside pubs, tea rooms and restaurants to enjoy. The New Forest National Park Authority recommends a 5-mile walk. Accessible by both car and public transport alike, the walk begins at Brockenhurst station, and takes you through varied scenery with beautiful views. Then, add some luxury to your walk with a trip to The Pig, to enjoy their 25-mile menu, luxury hotel rooms, alongside a glass of Hambledon- the Finest English Fizz.
Queen Elizabeth Country Park
Located just outside of Petersfield, Queen Elizabeth Country Park offers walking and cycling, with a range of routes and varied terrain. Climb Butser Hill, the highest point on the South Downs Way, walk one of their many trails, or explore even further on a mountain bike, or even a horse! Enjoy the scenery alongside a bite to eat at their café. Or pack a picnic, made even more luxurious with a bottle of Hambledon Vineyard's English Sparkling Wine.
Enjoy the Hampshire coast with a walk along Lymington Marshes, to appreciate both the beautiful scenery and the wildlife along the trail. With a large number of birds flocking to the salt marshes during both the summer and winter months, and an easy 3.7 mile trail along level ground, this is not only the perfect opportunity to enjoy some fresh air, but to explore the Georgian Market Town of Lymington.
Wild Food UK offer foraging courses in the New Forest National Park, which aim to teach people ‘skills for life’, in identifying edible roots, fruits, mushrooms and more, which one may come across in the British Countryside, all while enjoying beautiful scenery, and exercise in the local area. This is an ideal activity to integrate into a Hampshire staycation, a weekend away, or a special day out.
Alternatively, visit Exbury gardens, located in the New Forest National Park, which not only gives the opportunity to view their beautiful array of flowers, but to explore the Beaulieu River, which runs alongside the gardens. These gardens are renowned for their collection of exotic trees, rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias, for which the gardens were created in 1919 by Lionel de Rothschild. Additionally, their narrow-gauge steam railway offers otherwise inaccessible views of the grounds, alongside wildlife spotting to amuse all of the family.
Water Sports in the New Forest
Want to try your hand at water sports? Based in Milford on Sea, The New Forest Paddle Sport Company offers the chance to explore the New Forest Coastline by kayak or paddle board, or take part in wing surfing lessons. All provide unique experiences in a beautiful setting, to enjoy the great outdoors in a novel way.
Of course, these are just a few activities that our local area has to offer. The New Forest National Park website, and the South Downs National Park website offer options for all abilities, ages and requirements. With things to do for avid hikers, such as the South Downs Way, and those who just want some fresh air and beautiful scenery.