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20 things to do in 24 hours in Hampshire for 2024

Take a moment to relax in the birdhide at The Vyne and gaze across stunning wetland views. Image: Virginia Langer
Take a moment to relax in the birdhide at The Vyne and gaze across stunning wetland views. Image: Virginia Langer

20 things to do in 24 hours in Hampshire for 2024 

From gin masterclasses and theatre breaks to farm glamping and animal encounters. Fill your bucket (lists) with the best overnight experiences that Hampshire has to offer in 2024.

Forest Holidays, Blackwood Forest

Nestled among tall beech trees in a corner of secluded forest, the nature-sensitive cabins at Blackwood Forest are surrounded by a 270-hectare beech wood. In the spring, the forest floor is carpeted with bluebells and, in autumn, it's bathed in golden hues. The cabins come with hot tubs and spectacular forest views, making them the perfect base for outdoor adventures, an escape just for two, or a relaxing getaway for the entire family.

Stay: A mid-week break (Monday to Friday) in a Silver Birch cabin with 2 bedrooms on 8 January is £420

forestholidays.co.uk

Theatre break, Southampton

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton has an epic line up of shows for 2024 from Matthew Bourne’s enchanting Edward Scissorhands (13 -16 March) to the Tudor Queens turned Pop Princesses in Six (16 – 20 July).

READ MORE: Mayflower Theatre: What's on at the theatre during 2024?

Stay: Rest your theatre-weary head at No. 4 Carlton Hotel: a new luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the city, with nine guest rooms and suites. Expect the latest technology, luxurious bedding and complimentary continental in-room breakfast.

mayflower.org.uk, no4carlton.com

Grape & Grain Tours

Hop aboard Grape & Grains’ Vineyards of Hampshire Tour for a lovely and potentially hazy day touring and tasting at some of the county’s fabulous vineyards including: Raimes, The Grange and Black Chalk Wine. Departing from Winchester Railway Station by luxury minibus, the day includes a two-course gastropub lunch – typically at The Woolpack in Totford. £125 per person, including luxury transport, a two-course gastropub meal and three hosted tours and tastings. 15 June, 6 July, 3 August & 14 September. grapeandgraintours.co.uk/hampshire

Stay: Although accommodation isn’t included in the tours, The King Alfred or Hotel du Vin are both within walking distance and come highly recommended.

Festival of the Moon, Winchester Cathedral

Experienced by over 20 million people worldwide, The Museum of the Moon artwork by artist Luke Jerram is coming to Winchester for the first time on Monday 5 – Sunday 18 February 2024. Pop into the cathedral to marvel at its beauty or join one of the many events and activities that will be taking place in the moonlight, from Pilates to silent discos. This large-scale installation has been circling the globe, lighting up spaces from Bilbao to Beijing, including abbeys and swimming pools, exciting and inspiring visitors along the way.

Stay: At the Old Vine Hotel (you can just about spot it from the Cathedral door). This 18th century inn is steeped in character and charm. Stay in one of the six rooms and feast at the restaurant.oldvinewinchester.com, winchester-cathedral.org.uk/event/festival-of-the-moon/

Silchester Farm

‘Our glorious little piece of rural escapism is perfect for gatherings of large groups of friends or family get-togethers,’ says Carla Winsey, owner of Silchester Farm. ‘Our lovingly restored farmhouse and barn house sleep up to 12 and 15 people, while our talented chef can take care of the feasting. We’re running special Sunday lunches during the winter months, too, just what’s needed after a stomp around the Silchester Roman Ruins, located on our doorstep.’ silchesterfarm.co.uk

Cricket at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton

The Ageas Bowl welcomes a whole host of cricketing action every summer from the England Women V New Zealand IT20 to the new 100-ball cricket competition, The Hundred. A total of 53,896 tickets were sold for the latter in 2023, while 39,331 cheered on the 2023 Women’s champions, Southern Brave Woman.

Stay: Onsite at Hilton at The Ageas Bowl – a 171-bedroom hotel located at the home of cricket. Make sure your book into the first BEEFY’S by Lord Botham Bar and Restaurant. ageasbowl.com/

Cook & Stay at Lainston House, Sparsholt

Foodies can put their skills to the test at Season Cookery School at Lainston House. With a state-of-the-art kitchen, a modern dining space and a kitchen garden, the school offers a long list of courses often taught by inhouse Michelin-starred chefs, as well as experts from MasterChef or Bake Off: Crème de la Crème. On the menu you’ll find the art of cooking sushi; Thai or Indian Street food and knife skills.

Stay: A Cook & Stay break wouldn't be complete without an unforgettable stay in the luxury hotel, with 10% off of your bedroom when you book a course.

exclusive.co.uk/cookery-school/cook-stay/

Glamping at Gambledown Farm, Romsey

Pack up your family (pooch included) for a taste of off-grid country life at Gambledown’s family farm, home to over 30 resident shorthorn cattle, arable crops and ancient woodland. Stay in luxury safari tents complete with wood burning stoves and spectacular views of the Test Valley and the Salisbury plains. Kids can run lose and come teatime, huddle around the fire pit and cook supper with Gambledown’s home grown produce. You can even hire your own chicken coop and collect the freshest eggs for breakfast. gambledownfarm.co.uk

Winter Paddling with New Forest Activities

Don’t let the colder weather put you off, layer up and pack a flask of hot chocolate to enjoy along a two hour guided paddle of the Beaulieu River with New Forest Activities. Choose from either an open-top Canadian canoe or stable tour kayak and explore the river’s beautiful nature reserve on a crisp winter’s day.

Stay: The Master Builder’s House sits right beside the Beaulieu River and is where many of Nelson’s ships were built. Dine in the award-winning restaurant or more relaxed pub and sleep it all off in one of their well-priced rooms.

newforestactivities.co.uk/kayaking, hillbrookehotels.co.uk/the-master-builders/

The Mermaid Retreat, Isle of Wight

Those looking for the ultimate recharge-by-the-sea should sign up for this one-night beachy mini break; feast on good food, connect with yourself and like-minded souls and allow yourself to rejuvenate and nourish your soul. The Mermaid Retreat, run by Emily Dunstan, takes place on the Isle of Wight, where you’ll stay at Rose Cottage near Seaview. Expect beach bonfires, sea swims and sunrise yoga, Mermaid Gin and an abundance of love and laughter. yogabyemily.co.uk/mermaidretreat

Peppermint Farm tour at Summerdown

‘From late spring through to early autumn 2024, we’ll be opening the farm gate at Summerdown’, says Jo Colman, Head of Sales & Marketing. ‘We’ll be offering a range of tours and experiences to allow visitors to see what life is like on the farm, from wildlife and bird watching walks to peppermint, camomile and lavender tours and visiting our on-site distillery. Visitors will hear from our dedicated team as they share the part they play in this local story of growth, harvest, distillation, and conservation.

Stay: In the new resident Shepherd Huts, complete with woodfired hot tub and blissful farm views; keep your eye out for the resident peacock. summerdown.com

Rest & Replenish at Four Seasons Hampshire

Retreat to this 18th century manor set in 500 acres of bucolic landscape in Dogmersfield for a much needed pamper. The Rest & Replenish offer includes an overnight stay, a bottle of Champagne on arrival, plus a £75 credit towards a spa treatment of your choice. If it’s glow-y skin you’re after, don’t miss the results-driven facials from newly appointed luxury skincare brand 111Skin. fourseasons.com/hampshire/offers/relax-and-replenish/

Winter Weekend Rural Retreats at The Grange

Located in the gently rolling Candover Valley you can stay in the comfortable grandeur of Georgian Abbotstone Farmhouse (sleeps 18) or one of the surrounding cottages. Roaring fires, seasonal food, and wine from The Grange’s gardens and award-winning vineyard come as standard. Don your wellies for a nature walks amongst the estate’s 3,500 acres. The picture-perfect market town of Alresford is a short drive away for independent coffee shops such as Caracoli (don’t miss the cinnamon buns) or dinner at Michelin Bib Gourmand, Pulpo Negro.

grangehampshire.co.uk/stay-with-us/

Explore Faccombe

The beautiful rural village of Faccombe lies on the Hampshire/Berkshire border, around eight miles from Andover. Follow the 2.8 mile circular walk from the Jack Russell Pub along paths and tracks in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Come February – April, swathes of wild garlic line some of the pathways – look out for the white star-shaped flowers and distinctive aroma.

Stay: The Jack Russell is a rural pub-with-rooms and a great place to finish your walk; settle in at the bar or get comfy next to a cosy fire pit with your favourite canine companion. thejackrussellinn.com

Gin Cocktail Masterclass, Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Gin lovers can spend the day touring the Bombay Sapphire Distillery; try your hand at cocktail making – where you’ll learn the tricks of the bar trade to show off at home – before a stop in the Mill Bar to sip, yet more, cocktails whilst soaking in views of the River Test.

Stay: Located just down the road from the Distillery, Oakley Hall is the obvious place to rest your gin-weary head in comfort. Crisp Egyptian cotton linens, oversized bathtubs and eco-friendly Algotherm toiletries should help ease any inevitable hangovers. oakleyhall-park.com. bombaysapphire.com/distillery/

Great British Life: Enjoy the beauty of Eyeworth pond on a stay in Fritham. Image: Nick LucasEnjoy the beauty of Eyeworth pond on a stay in Fritham. Image: Nick Lucas

Fritham, New Forest

In the beautiful North of the New Forest National Park you’ll find wonderful walks through forest paths and the open heath from the tiny village of Fritham - a great deer-spotting route and home to Eyeworth Pond. A walk wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Royal Oak pub for a well-deserved post-walk pint by the fireside.

Stay: New Forest Shepherd Huts can be found nestled on top of the hill, amongst 60 acres of working farmland. These cosy cabins offer a simple, yet luxurious self-catering adult-only retreat right next to the pub. royaloakfritham.co.uk

Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary, Wroxall

Home to around 100 donkeys and Shetland ponies, the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary is open 364 days a year and is free to visit. As well as meeting the residents, keen visitors may get the chance to help walking, grooming or mucking out, too. Make a day of it with lunch at Grazers Café; a beautiful, converted barn which overlooks the Wroxall valleys and where you may be able to spot the donkeys in their paddocks. Pick up your donkey paraphernalia in the themed gift shop and don’t forget to leave a donation so the team can continue their good work.

Stay: With stunning views of Ventnor Bay from every window, The Hambrough is a boutique bed and breakfast with a fine dining restaurant and makes for the perfect coastal escape. iowdonkeysanctuary.org, thehambrough.com

Bourne Valley Inn, St Mary Bourne

The Bourne Valley Inn can be found in a beautiful corner of Hampshire countryside in St. Mary Bourne, home to one of the county’s best pick-your-own farms. A traditional British pub, the large beer garden is ideal for alfresco feasting from the seasonal field-to-fork menu. The surrounding lakes and rivers are rich in trout and other freshwater catches, so it’s no surprise that it is a speciality; fish is cured and smoked on the premises, too. Book one of the contemporary (dog-friendly) bedrooms and you can try the impressive range of cask ales, craft beer and local cider.butcombe.com/the-bourne-valley-inn-hampshire/food-drink/

The Vyne, Sherborne St. John

With two lakes, nine hectares of gardens and a 600-year-old oak tree to marvel at, The Vyne, makes for a good day out. The National Trust property is surrounded by countryside; keen twitchers should bring binoculars and head to the purpose-built bird hide, with its wetland views.

Stay: Located on the Wellington Estate in the village of Stratfield Turgis, The Wellington Arms is a beautifully refurbished family-friendly pub and 25-bedroom hotel. Book a table to feast on local-sourced food and craft ales, including some from their own microbrewery across the border in Surrey. wellingtonarmshampshire.co.uk, nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/hampshire/the-vyne

Great British Life: The Garlic Farm is the perfect place to stay and enjoy one of the Island's treasured local ingredients. Image: James HentonThe Garlic Farm is the perfect place to stay and enjoy one of the Island's treasured local ingredients. Image: James Henton

Slow travel around the Isle of Wight

Check out the new digital Slow Travel Guide to the Isle of Wight: a collection of eight routes around the Island that can be explored by bus, bike or on foot. The Slow Guide was created to give people hints and pointers to get out and really explore the Island. Foodies will love the Newport, Arreton Down & Around route which takes in Adgestone Vineyard, Farmer Jack’s farmshop and the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm.

Stay: The Garlic Farm has seven converted self-catering holiday cottages and four luxury yurts sleeping between two and ten people. slowwighttravelguide.co.uk/routes/newport-arreton-down-around, thegarlicfarm.co.uk



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