Performing Arts

Anvil Arts

Basingstoke (34 miles)

The largest performing arts organisation in Hampshire, Anvil Arts runs The Anvil, The Haymarket and The Forge for music, drama, dance and family entertainment.

Chichester Festival Theatre

Chichester (26 miles)

This Grade II listed theatre was restored and reopened in 2014. With two theatres on site, the Festival Theatre and the Minerva Theatre, this company has been producing world-class productions, which frequently transfer to the West End, for more than 50 years.

The Corn Exchange

Newbury (40 miles)

The Corn Exchange Trust manages three spaces providing a multi-art form venue with an auditorium, cinema, café, gallery as well as rehearsal, workshop and studio space.

Farnham Maltings

Farnham (28 miles)

A collection of buildings in the heart of Farnham which is home to six theatre and dance companies as well as a large number of creative arts companies. It offers a varied programme including theatre, cinema, craft, music and workshops.

Glyndbourne Opera House

Glyndbourne (68 miles)

No ordinary opera house, Glyndbourne has been the venue for the annual Glyndbourne Festival since 1934.

Grange Park Opera

New Alresford (18 miles)

A new intimate opera house was built within the ruins of the orangery at Grange Park in 2002. Since the first season in 1998, the Grange has become a significant feature of the opera calendar. Booking in advance is necessary.

The Mayflower

Southampton (27 miles)

The biggest theatre on the south coast seating over 2,300 presents touring productions, from West End musicals to dance, opera, drama, ballet and comedy.

New Theatre Royal

Portsmouth (15 miles)

An impressive Victorian theatre hosting arts, comedy, dance, drama, music and theatre productions.

Olivier Theatre

Steep (12 miles)

Part of Bedales School, the theatre was completed in 1996 and hosts dance, music and drama productions.

Theatre Royal

Winchester (15 miles)

An intimate 400-seat Edwardian theatre that presents over 200 productions a year including drama, music, dance, comedy, children’s theatre and pantomime.

The Watermill Theatre

Newbury (40 miles)

This 200 seat theatre in a converted watermill is recognised as a major producing theatre for national and international touring, from Shakespeare and classic plays to new works.

Yvonne Arnaud

Guildford (38 miles)

It is a busy regional producing and receiving theatre with a main stage and studio space, creating an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary work.

Historic Castles & Museums

Arundel Castle

Arundel (37 miles)

With almost 1,000 years of history, the castle, which is the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk, and set in 40 acres of grounds, is a unique chance to see paintings, furniture, tapestries, heraldry, armour and much more in stunning room settings. It provides a wonderful backdrop for some fascinating re-enactment events throughout the season (April to November) from Normans and the Civil War to smugglers and Pirates.

Basing House

Basingstoke (32 miles)

Little remains of the Tudor house, the largest private house in the country at the time of its construction, as it was largely destroyed by Cromwell himself during the Civil War. However, the earthworks of the earlier Norman castle keep can still be seen and the great barn, which survived the destruction, is an impressive example of a Tudor barn.

Bishop’s Waltham Palace

Bishop’s Waltham (6 miles)

The Palace, much of which was created by William of Wykeham, was destroyed by order of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. It is now managed by English Heritage and open to visitors at weekends. Explore the extensive remains and imagine the many visitors including Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I in the Great Hall.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Whitchurch/Laverstoke (32 miles)

Visit this working distillery, housed in the stunningly converted Laverstoke Mill, on the banks of the River Test. The Mill is over 1,000 years old, and the current building was previously a paper mill that produced watermarked bank notes for the Bank of England, as well as the entire British Empire. Join a hosted tour, or book a fun, educational & interactive cocktail masterclass. Pre-booking is essential.

Buckler’s Hard

Beaulieu (36 miles)

Explore the Maritime Museum, step inside a shipright’s cottage, admire the replica 18th century workshop, or enjoy a relaxing summer river cruise.

Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum

Swanwick (15 miles)

A Victorian steam driven brickworks where you can not only see the steam engines working, explore our industrial history and see over 100 chimney pots, but you can also get your hands dirty and try your hand at making a brick.

Bursledon Windmill

Bursledon (15 miles)

Hampshire’s only working windmill, and a fascinating glimpse into Hampshire’s milling history.

Butser Ancient Farm

Chalton (8 miles)

An ancient farm displays ongoing constructions of Iron Age buildings based on real sites, crops from prehistory and rare breeds of animals. There is a full programme of workshops, special events and festivals from coracle building to cave painting.

Calshot Castle

Calshot (33 miles)

The artillery fort that was built by Henry VIII, which guards the entrance to Southampton Water, is managed by English Heritage and is open daily from April to September.

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester (26 miles)

Founded in 1075 when the seat of the Bishop moved from Selsey to Chichester, the Cathedral exhibits both Norman and Gothic architecture and has a unique freestanding medieval bell tower. Medieval features sit alongside contemporary artworks including tapestries by John Piper and a Marc Chagall window.

D-Day Museum and Overlord Embroidery

Portsmouth (13 miles)

A fascinating record of events, from the dark days of 1940 to the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944. Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, the Overlord Embroidery was commissioned by Lord Dulverton of Batsford and stitched by the Royal School of Needlework.

Fishbourne Roman Palace

Chicester (29 miles)

The largest Roman home in Britain, which was first excavated in the 1960s, has a footprint larger than Buckingham Palace. There is an amazing collection of in-situ mosaics and reconstructed gardens and is open daily from February to December.

Flowerdown Barrows

Winchester (20 miles)

3 well-preserved Bronze Age burial mounds constructed 4,000 years ago.

Fort Brockhurst

Gosport (13 miles)

Built to protect Portsmouth, the parade ground, gun ramps and moated keep have remained largely unaltered since its construction in the 1850s. Today, the fort is managed by English Heritage and is open every 2nd Saturday of the month from April to the end of September.

Great Hall

Winchester (16 miles)

Located in the heart of Winchester, the Great Hall that is the only surviving part of Henry III’s medieval castle, is home to King Arthur’s Round Table, which has hung here for over 700 years. There is also a reconstruction of Queen Eleanor’s enclosed medieval garden.

Hurst Castle

Keyhaven (41 miles)

At the end of the 1.5 mile shingle spit which extends from Milford-on-Sea, the castle, built by Henry VIII as part of the chain of coastal fortresses, is only three-quarters of a mile from the Isle of Wight. Today, it is managed by English Heritage and is open daily from Easter until October. You can even approach the castle by ferry from Keyhaven.

Mary Rose Museum

Portsmouth (13 miles)

Housed in a stunning new building beside HMS Victory, the Tudor ship raised from the seabed in 1982, is the only sixteenth century warship on display anywhere in the world with 19,000 artefacts. You can purchase a ticket to visit just the Mary Rose Museum or as part of the Historic Dockyards, (see Family).

Medieval Merchant’s House

Southampton (19 miles)

The prosperous life of a medieval merchant is brought to life in this house, which has been faithfully restored to its 14th century glory, with replica furnishings, by English Heritage. Check their website for opening times.

Netley Abbey

Netley (16 miles)

The ruins of the 13th century monastery, the most complete surviving in Southern England, were converted for use as a house by William Paulet, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries but were abandoned in 1704. The overgrown and abandoned abbey was a source of inspiration to many in the ‘Romantic Movement’. John Constable came to paint here, and it is reported that Jane Austen visited Netley, finding inspiration for her novel Northanger Abbey published 1817. Today it is managed by English Heritage and is open daily throughout the summer and weekends during winter months.

Old Sarum

Salisbury (49 miles)

Rising impressively from Salisbury Plain, this Iron Age Hillfort first created about 400BC, is managed by English Heritage. Within the two earth banks are the remains of a royal castle built around 1070 by William the Conqueror and also the footprint of the first Salisbury Cathedral, which was was later demolished and the stone reused to construct the current cathedral in Salisbury. Open year-round and dogs welcome.

Portchester Castle

Porchester (12 miles)

Since Roman times this has been an important site protecting the Solent. It was the rallying point of Henry V’s expedition to Agincourt and the ruined palace of King Richard II. Today this grand castle is managed by English Heritage and is open daily.

Portsmouth Cathedral

Portsmouth (13 miles)

Little remains of the medieval building of the Maritime Cathedral founded in the 12th Century, but following the 1927 split from the Winchester Diocese, plans to extend the building to a size that would dignify cathedral status were put in place and the current building was finally consecrated in 1991. A member of the crew of the Mary Rose is buried in the Navy aisle. Enter through the impressive bronze west doors to enjoy the open Byzantine style space designed by Sir Charles Nicholson in the 20th century.

Romsey Abbey

Romsey (33 miles)

Dedicated to St Mary and St Ethelflda, an Abbess of Romsey at the time of the first millennium, the Abbey was founded in 907. The current Abbey was built by the Normans in the early 12th century, and it was saved from demolition during the Dissolution of the Monasteries because part of the building was the parish church and it remains the largest parish church in Hampshire. The lucrative wool industry funded the growth of the town that grew up around the Abbey.

St. Agatha’s Church

Portsmouth (13 miles)

This is a grand red brick Italianate catholic basilica with a unique ecclesiastical interior. The nave apse contains a magnificent sgraffito plaster mural, the work of Heywood Sumner, a friend and disciple of William Morris. Fine furnishings and shrines, many rescued from redundant churches, contribute towards a unique ecclesiastical interior.

Sandham Memorial Chapel

Newbury (35 miles)

A modest red brick building houses an unexpected treasure, an epic series of large-scale murals by the acclaimed war artist, Sir Stanley Spencer. The murals, honouring the ‘forgotten dead’ of the First World War, were inspired by his own experiences as a medical orderly and soldier on the Salonika front. It is considered by some to be Britain’s answer to the Sistine Chapel. Managed by the National Trust. Entry is by pre-booked timed ticket only.

Stonehenge

Salisbury Plain (49 miles)

It is estimated that construction took place around 3100 BC, and that it took about three million man-hours to build. There are three types of stone: Bluestone; Sarsen and Welsh Sandstone, and to this day. It is not known exactly why it was constructed but was probably for solar and lunar worship. Managed today by English Heritage. Advance booking is now required as entrance will be through timed tickets.

Titchfield Abbey

Titchfield (10 miles)

Ruins of a 13th century Premonstratensian abbey, later converted into a Tudor mansion where the church was rebuilt as a grand turreted gatehouse. Managed by English Heritage and open daily.

Weald and Downland Living Museum

Singleton (28 miles)

More than 50 buildings, from 1300 to 1910, have been saved from destruction and lovingly reconstructed in a 50-acre site in the Lavant Valley. Many buildings are furnished and a collection of farm machinery, carts, wagons and agricultural, trade and craft artefacts as well as Shire horses, Sussex cattle, South Down sheep, Tamworth pigs, geese and Light Sussex chickens help bring the rural history to life. There are several special events run throughout the year including the Rare Breeds Show and Festival of Steam.

Whitchurch Silk Mill

Whitchurch (27 miles)

The oldest silk mill in the UK, this gem of industrial heritage, a Georgian water mill has woven ribbons, serge, silk linings in 22 colours for Burberry, silk for insulating cables during World War II and linings for legal and academic gowns. Today, the 19th century machinery produces silk for sale in the shop, for interior design and fashion, as well as commissions for the National Trust, Victoria and Albert Museum and BBC for period dramas. Open from Tuesday to Sunday year-round.

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester (14 miles)

A sacred place for over 15 centuries, much of the Cathedral we see today was constructed by the early 16th century. Many famous people are associated with the Cathedral including St Swithun, Jane Austen and William Walker, the deep-sea diver who worked for 6 years beneath the Cathedral in the early 20th century to underpin the building. Today, the Cathedral welcomes over 300,000 visitors and worshipers a year and there is an active programme of events for all ages both inside and around the Cathedral including the very popular Christmas Market. You can also book a Tower Tour to see Winchester from above.

Winchester City Mill

Winchester (14 miles)

Managed by the National Trust, The Mill, a rare surviving urban corn mill, sits astride the River Itchen in the centre heart of the historic city of Winchester. It is still regularly used to grind flour and is full of informative interactive displays including baking with the flour. Now the official Gateway to the South Downs National Park, the mill has working models, displays and activities that explain the history and technology of flour milling, as well as regular milling and baking demonstrations. Check the website for details.

Winchester College

Winchester (14 miles)

One of the world’s most famous and distinguished schools, located in the historic surrounds of England’s medieval capital. Winchester College maintains eighteen Grade I, and over seventy Grade II listed buildings. Many of these are of national importance, and all are in current use. Visitors welcome to the museum, Treasury, and on guided tours, throughout the year.

 

Winchester Military Museum

Winchester (14 miles)

Five separately run museums are located on the same site, just five minutes from the Cathedral: Horse Power, the Regimental Museum of The King’s Royal Hussars; The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum; The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum; The Gurkha Museum and The Guardroom Museum, the museum of the Adjutant-General’s Corps.

Wolvesey Castle

Winchester (13 miles)

Not far from Winchester Cathedral are the 12th century remains of this fortified Palace that was the residence of the Bishops of Winchester. One of the greatest medieval buildings in England, Wolvesey Castle was frequently visited by medieval and Tudor monarchs, and hosted the wedding feast of Philip of Spain and Mary Tudor in 1554. The site is managed by English Heritage. Check website for opening dates and times.

House & Gardens

Avington Park

Winchester (18 miles)

The estate originally belonged to Winchester Cathedral until Henry VIII granted it to Edmund Clerke. The house, that played host to Charles II and Nell Gwyn and George IV and Mrs Fitzherbert, is still in private ownership. The house and park are open to the public from May to September, on Sundays and bank holidays. There are several events throughout the year such as an open-air theatre and art shows.

Broadlands Estate

Romsey (33 miles)

Owned by the Mountbatten family, and the venue for the annual Romsey Agricultural Show. The house and Capability Brown-designed gardens, are open seasonally. The 60-room Palladian mansion is set in 5,000 acres of parkland on the River Test, where both Queen Elizabeth II honeymooned, as did the previous Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981. Only open to the public from Monday to Wednesday from June to September.

Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum

Portsmouth (13 miles)

This comfortable Regency home is where Charles Dickens was born on 7th February 1812. After exploring the home in which he grew up, it is possible to join a guided walk of the area where the Dickens family lived and worked. These walks are led by Portsmouth Tourist Guides, which start at the Victory Gate (the entrance to the Historic Dockyard) and finish at the Portsmouth Museum, Museum Road. Open Fridays to Sundays, from April to September.

Exbury Gardens

New Forest (42 miles)

The 200-acre collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs, a riot of colour in the Spring and great place for kicking through piles of autumn leaves, was the vision of Lionel de Rothschild who bought the estate in 1919. The estate, on the banks of the Beaulieu River, is still owned by the Rothschild family who rebuilt the house in 1922 and opened the gardens to the public as early as 1955. There is a miniature railway, which takes a 20 minute journey, round a self-contained part of the garden. Open daily from mid-March to early November and dogs are welcome.

Gilbert White’s House

Selbourne (19 miles)

A curate, Gilbert White is remembered for being one of the first natural history writers. The rooms at ‘The Wakes’ have been reconstructed following descriptions in White’s letters and the 30 acres of ancient parkland and gardens have been carefully restored. Also housed here is the Oates Collection which recently celebrated the centenary of Captain Lawrence Oates’ heroic death on Scott’s fated Antarctic expedition. Open throughout the year but check website for details. Dogs on leads are permitted in the garden.

Goodwood House

Goodwood (20 miles)

Home to the Dukes of Richmond & Lennox for over 300 years, the house can be visited from March to October (check website for details). It contains some impressive collections include art by Van Dyck, Reynolds, Stubs and Canaletto who was commissioned to paint the stunning views of Whitehall and the Thames. Many visitors come to the numerous and varied events that take place in the parklands throughout the year including Goodwood Revival in September, the Festival of Speed in June and Glorious Goodwood at the end of July. Horseracing, which first took place in 1802; golf, on a 100 year old course; flying, from the aerodrome used as a WWII fighter station; and motor racing, on the motor circuit established in 1948.

Highclere Castle

Newbury (35 miles)

A beautiful Victorian castle and home to the Carnarvon family since 1679, was built on the foundations of a medieval palace owned by the Bishops of Winchester. It has been the location for the filming of Downton Abbey. The house and Capability Brown-designed gardens are open in the Summer. Book early for events, which are very popular.

Hinton Ampner

Hinton Ampner (9 miles)

An elegant country manor lovingly rebuilt by its last owner, Ralph Dutton, following a catastrophic 1960s fire, is now managed by the National Trust. Exquisite views of the manicured lawns and undisturbed views of the South Downs, a children’s trail explores the topiary throughout the garden and a 4 mile estate walk offers wonderful views and lovely woods to play in. At Christmas, the house is beautifully decorated. Open year-round. Dogs on leads are welcome on the estate walk.

Jane Austen’s House Museum

Chawton (17 miles)

This 17th century house was Jane’s home for the last eight years of her life and she is buried at Winchester Cathedral. The museum today reflects the comfortable family home that the Austen Women created while telling the story of their lives and Jane’s work. Open throughout the year but check website for details.

King John’s House

Romsey (26 miles)

In the centre of Romsey, three buildings spanning 750 years of building history form the Heritage Centre that includes the medieval King John’s House that contains 14th century graffiti and a rare bone floor. Open from Monday to Saturday.

Longstock Water Gardens

Stockbridge (26 miles)

Part of the Leckford Estate, owned and managed by the John Lewis Partnership, the water gardens were created by John Spedan Lewis. Open to the public on the first and third Sundays of the month from May to September. Longstock Park Nursery and Farm shop are open throughout the year.

Mompesson House

Salisbury (49 miles)

This National Trust property is a perfectly proportioned Queen Anne house located in the Cathedral Close in the centre of Salisbury. It was used as a location for the filming of ‘Sense and Sensibility’. Open from March to October, closed Thursday and Friday.

Mottisfont

Romsey (36 miles)

The remains of a medieval priory, which forms part of the ground floor of the Georgian house. It is managed by the National Trust. With its carpet of spring bulbs, riverside walk, walled rose garden and rich autumn colours, the garden, largely laid out by socialite, Maud Russell, is a feast for the senses throughout the year. There are exhibitions and events throughout the year as well as a super café in the old kitchens. There is also access to the 1,600 acres estate with marked walks and cycle routes. Dogs are welcome to explore the gardens and estate. Open year-round.

Northington Grange

New Alresford (18 miles)

The foremost example of the Greek-Revival style in England, William Wilkins encased an earlier house in Classical facades in the early 19th century. Today, the remains, which after the threat of demolition were taken into the guardianship of English Heritage, provide a stunning backdrop for a summer opera season run by Grange Park Opera (see Performing Arts). Access to the exterior is free year-round.

Petworth House and Park

Petworth (28 miles)

A family home for more than 800 years, this 17th century mansion, is managed by the National Trust, is set in a beautiful Capability Brown landscaped deer park immortalised in Turner’s paintings. The art collection includes paintings by Holbein, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Rembrandt as well as Turner. Still home to Lord and Lady Egremont, the house was used recently as a location for filming ‘Mr Turner’. Open year-round. Dogs and bicycles are welcome in the park.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

Ampfield (20 miles)

Over 180 acres of gardens which provide year-round colour offers a busy schedule of events for visitors of all ages from workshops, exhibitions and tours to concerts, dining events and seasonal activities. Sir Harold’s objective, in his own words, was ‘to create as attractively as possible as great a collection of plants as I was able to add to those already collected by my father and grandfather’. Open year-round. Dogs are not permitted in the gardens.

Stansted Park

Rowlands Castle (16 miles)

The current house was rebuilt in 1901 following a calamitous fire, but stands on the footprint of the 1688 house, which in turn stands where a hunting lodge was sited over 800 years ago. Royal visitors are recorded from Henry II to the present generation and has been the family home of the Ponsonbys, Earls of Bessborough, since 1924. With a miniature railway, yew maze, walled gardens, garden centre and tea rooms and estate walks, there’s plenty for a day trip. Please check website for opening times.

Stratfield Saye House & Estate

Stratfield Saye (39 miles)

Home to the Duke of Wellington since it was acquired following the Battle of Waterloo in 1871. The main part of the house and stable blocks were built around 1630 by Sir William Pitt, Comptroller of the Household to James I. The estate and Capability Brown-designed country park can be visited during high season. Please check website for opening times. Access to the house is by pre-booked guided tour only.

Uppark

South Harting (17 miles)

Perched on the South Downs with a commanding view, the Georgian house, which offers an insight into life upstairs and downstairs, has been meticulously restored by the National Trust, following a devastating fire in 1989. It is home to a wonderful 17th century dolls house and playing in the gardens is actively encouraged. It is a super place to fly a kite on a windy day and is now open 363 day of the year. Dogs are not permitted in the gardens.

The Vyne

Basingstoke (35 miles)

From its royal beginnings in Tudor times, to the inspirational setting for Jane Austen’s novels and possibly Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, the house and garden at The Vyne are now maintained by the National Trust. Henry VIII visited this house on several occasions and brought Anne Boleyn here and was mentioned in the BBC drama ‘Wolf Hall’ which has seen a surge in Tudor Tourism. Open year-round. Dogs are welcome in the gardens.

West Dean House and Gardens

Singleton (26 miles)

The 19th century Grade II listed building is the former home of Edward James, patron to the Surrealists, and is now an internationally renowned Higher Education College teaching conservation and creative arts, as well as over 700 short art and craft courses each year. The house is open to the public once a year. West Dean Gardens are open to the public from February to December. Dogs are welcome in the gardens and there is good accessibility.

Wilton House

Salisbury (50 miles)

Home to the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House has been a family home since it was gifted to Sir William Herbert by Henry VIII. It has been the location for films including ‘Mrs Brown’ and ‘The Young Victoria’. The house and gardens are open to the public from Sundays to Thursdays, from April to September, as well as many special events including an Antiques Fair, horse trials and the Wessex Country Fair. Dogs are not permitted.