The Ever So Quaint Town of Hampshire England


Backpacking in England: Top 5 Sights in Hampshire

When I look back at my time living in Bournemouth, I have fond memories of my travels to nearby parts of England. Most of these places I have yet to write about and so here we are.. I toured Devon, Hampshire, Sussex, Dorset and much further afield, sometimes on football trips, other times on my own. Here are five cool things to check out in Hampshire, the county that borders Dorset.

The New Forest

I toured the New Forest frequently over a six year period of my life where I was based in the south of England. I loved the natural appeal of it. You can go for walks through the forest and search for beavers, you can spend a night in pet-friendly holiday cottages in Hampshire and you can ride a donkey at Brockenhurst, feed a pony or have a pint of English bitter in a local country pub. Hampshire is as traditionally English as they come.

Feeding a pony in the New Forest

Feeding a pony in the New Forest

The Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

In the city of Portsmouth near the docks, you can head to the impressive Spinnaker Tower. It almost looks like it should be in Dubai with its design.

Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

This tower was opened in 2005 and has just done a deal to be re-named the Emirates Spinnaker Tower.

View from the top of Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

View from the top of Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth.

The Red Lion Pub, Southampton

I’ve had many nights out in Southampton over the years especially when I managed the rock band the Waves years ago. I used to love the pub life in Southampton but a true stand out is the Red Lion Pub. This pub not only is the oldest pub in England, but it has a talking parrot! Apparently there is a resident ghost of an ex-barmaid too and lots of interesting facts on the walls to read.

The famous Red Lion pub in Southampton

The famous Red Lion pub in Southampton

Fratton Park, Portsmouth

Home of the 2008 FA Cup winners (and losing finalists in 2010), Fratton Park is the best football stadium in Hampshire. The team here, Portsmouth FC are nicknamed “Pompey” and they enjoyed 7 seasons in the top flight before being relegated. They have had a fall from grace and now play in Division Four (League Two) but their fans remain some of the best supporters in England.

They have a big rivalry with fellow south coast team S**thampton and a mini rivalry with my own team, AFC Bournemouth.

Former Capital of England, Winchester

No trip to Hampshire can be complete without visiting Winchester, the former capital city of England. Winchester is a beautiful and iconic English county town. My first memories of Winchester were with my family on a holiday in the late 80s where we had pizza by the river and won a pub quiz and stayed in a country style B and B!

The pretty river in idyllic Winchester, Hampshire

The pretty river in idyllic Winchester, Hampshire. As well as once being the capital of England, Winchester is commonly described as the ancient capital of Wessex – its charming streets show no sign of aging and the Buttercross monument is as pristine as ever.

A serious fire in the city in 1141, during the Route of Winchester accelerated its decline as a powerful city in the country but the legacy remains and it’s a top notch spot. It’s still off the backpacking trail too as there doesn’t seem to be a hostel in town. I hope you enjoyed this quick fire top 5 for Hampshire.


Jonny Scott Blair
Jonny Blair is a self confessed traveling nomad who founded and blogs at Don't Stop Living. He sees every day as an adventure. Since leaving behind his home town of Bangor in Northern Ireland ten years ago he has traveled to all seven continents, working his way through various jobs and funding it all with hard work and an appetite for travel. Don’t Stop Living, a lifestyle of travel' contains over 1,000 stories and tips from his journeys round the globe. He wants to show others how easy it is to travel the world, give them some ideas and encourage them to do the same but most of all he aims to constantly live a lifestyle of travel. He is currently based in Hong Kong and on Twitter @jonnyblair.
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2 Responses to The Ever So Quaint Town of Hampshire England

  1. Aline Dobbie July 24, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    Part of my childhood was spent in the New Forest and surrounding areas, when we were not in India. We bought a house in Ringwood in Hampshire, but for five years I was at school at the prestige Saint Swithun’s School Winchester and thus came to know Winchester very well. It is a beautiful city with ancient utterly grand Cathedral and Cathedral Close and quaint streets and historic houses. The River Itchen and the watermeadows run alongside the town and the ancient very elite Winchester College which is older than Eton is situated here…again high academic standards. There is a lot of charm to this county and the wonderful New Forest, one time playground and hunting ground of the Norman Kings of England. Saint Swithun is the patron saint of Winchester and it is said that if it doesn’t rain on his saint’s day 15th July then there will be a dry period for the next thirty days….wish it was so!

  2. Renee Blodgett
    WeBlogTheWorld July 24, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Lovely addition Aline. I too lived in England, but the south, now so many moon’s ago it feels like another lifetime. Part of me still feels like England is home as it was part of my formative early adult years. I still drink tea and expect tea to be made as it is in England, which is tough in some parts of the world :-) including parts of the states where they toss a Lipton bag in and out and expect you to be satisfied. The north was always more magical to me somehow as it time stood still :-)

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