Best Sites in Hampshire, England

Best Sites in Hampshire County, England

We have been fortunate enough to visit England several times. England is one of the most captivating countries in the world, boasting beautiful, rolling hills, wild ponies, stunning coastlines, rich cultural and historical sites, and enough pubs per square mile to guarantee everyone has a good time. Having close friends who live there, we have been able to experience not just the top tourist destinations like London, but also get a feel for what it is like to live there and explore the vast, unique countryside. Here are some of the most beautiful places to go in and around Hampshire, a county on the southern coast of England.

 

Isle Of Wight

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The Needles
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The Isle Of Wight, Yarmouth

Formerly part of Hampshire, but now its own administrative county, the Isle of Wight is nothing short of visually stunning. For all you New Englanders out there, this Island has a similar feel to that of Nantucket or Edgartown in Martha’s Vineyard. It lies off the southern tip of England and is separated from the mainland by the Solent, a strait that is 20 miles long and varies in width between 2.5-5 miles. The south of the Isle of Wight is bordered by the famed English Channel, and is approximately 80 miles north of French coastline. We travelled by personal boat to the island, but you can also catch a 22-45 minute ferry from Portsmouth, or a 40 minute ferry from Lymington. The Isle of Wight is world renown for it famous Isle of Wight Festival, a large music festival in June that in 2016 brought more than 58,000 concert goers to the island, which is still one of our bucket list items. We were there in July, and got to do some fishing in the Solent while admiring the white seaside cliffs, Hurst Castle, and The Needles, a row of three distinctive stacks of chalk that rise about 30m out of the sea and have been the site of around 20 famous shipwrecks.

New Forest – Brockenhurst

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Wild Ponies of New Forest
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Wild Donkeys of New Forest

Probably one of our favorite weekends in England was when we visited the town of Brockenhurst, a small village in New Forest. It was about 2 hours by train from London, situated in the center of the beautiful New Forest National Park, 145 square miles of ancient woodlands and heathlands. The village seems to transcend time, in large part due to the dozens of wild ponies, donkeys, deer and cows that shared the streets and sidewalks with cars and pedestrians alike. You are just as likely to pass a pony as you are a car on the main shopping and dining area on Brookley Road. They owned the land, and seemed largely unfazed by our trespassing on their domain. One morning we even woke up to wild ponies hanging their heads over the back yard fence. There is something magical about this place, which is why we are not surprised it was voted most beautiful place in England to live. Also, if you visit, try some of the absolutely beautiful cycling and hiking trails.

Lymington

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Lymington Town Center and The Kings Head Restaurant and Inn
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Sailing Ship Off Lymington Harbor

Lymington received the title of “best town on the coast” in the UK for scenery, transport and low crime levels. Sitting right on the edge of New Forest, it boasts a beautiful shopping area on High Street, where there are several marine outfitters on the cobbled street leading down to the quay. The town is a hopping destination based on proximity to the New Forest and its picturesque harbor. It is a world renowned sailing resort, so the harbor views are littered with spectacular sailing ships, boat-building shops, and plenty of sea-side watering holes. Our recommendation: make sure to get some grub at either The Kings Head or The Haven Bar & Restaurant, and from there, charter a boat to sail the Solent and explore the amazing fishing, sights, and Isle of Wight!

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