Whether you are a nature lover or city goer, Hampshire offers the best of both worlds, with tons of things to do – and Audley’s Wood Hotel can help you plan your perfect getaway.
Spreading from New Forest’s coastal beaches in the southwest to the suburbs of London on the northeast, Hampshire is the largest county in southeast England, and Audleys Wood Hotel is the ideal place from which to explore it.
With three cities, all within an hour’s drive you will probably need more than a weekend to sightsee this stunning part of the UK. The nearest of the three is Winchester where you can discover the history of its beautiful medieval cathedral, the ruins of Wolvesey Castle, and a rare surviving example of a working corn mill.
Thirty miles south of Winchester is Portsmouth – an active naval city since the 1500s, it mixes maritime heritage – where you can climb aboard the pride of Nelson's navy, HMS Victory, and wonder at the Mary Rose – with impressive modern architecture like the Spinnaker Tower in Gunwharf Quays, which is also buzzing with restaurants, shops and bars.
Sandwiched between the two vibrant municipalities is Southampton – Hampshire’s commercial, education and media hub, although you will probably be more interested in the fact it offers an unrivalled shopping experience.
If cities (or even historic market towns such as Romsey or Alton) do not grab you, there are two national parks – the heath and woodland of the New Forest and the rolling chalk hills of the South Downs. Then there are the hundreds of miles of coastal inlets, islands and estuaries. Should you be looking to embark on a hike in the South Downs you can plan your route using this helpful online resource which provides 10 top hikes along with free guides with GPS coordinates.
One of the most popular beaches In Hampshire is Meon Shore – a lengthy stretch of shingle beach running along the Solent and a good spot for fossil hunting. It sits on the other side of Hill Head Harbour, behind which is Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, an area of coastal wetland where you can catch sight of a great diversity of species.
Of course, a stay at Audleys Wood Hotel is not complete without a visit to Highclere Castle – used as the main filming location for the period drama Downton Abbey. Set amidst 1000 acres of spectacular parkland, there are plenty of opportunities to visit the beautiful Victorian castle and its gardens all year round.
As well as fine homes and gardens – some of which belonged to England’s most celebrated figures from Charles Dickens to the Duke of Wellington and Jane Austen, Hampshire boasts many excellent museums, which are great for those passionate about military, naval and aviation history.
City or rural, with great attractions, beautiful scenery, beaches, excellent shopping and heritage sites, Hampshire offers a perfect getaway. Book your stay at Audleys Wood here.