Hampshire has a unique and interesting past dating back thousands of years, making it the destination for history lovers and those interested in discovering times gone by. Below, we’ve compiled some amazing historic Hampshire days out for all ages to enjoy.
A proud history in Hampshire
Dive into the depths of maritime history at SeaCity Museum in Southampton where the infamous Titanic began its only voyage, and take a journey through the ages of Southampton’s shipping industry.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is the UK’s premier destination for naval history. Go on board and explore the decks of world-famous historic ships including Lord Nelson’s world-famous flagship HMS Victory. Experience life on board Henry VIII’s favourite warship. See the Mary Rose in her purpose-built museum in Portsmouth after 437 years on the seabed, and wonder at the thousands of Tudor objects preserved when she sank in 1545.
With military-themed museums, you can explore over 100 years of the British Army at the Army Flying Museum, discover restored Victorian fortresses and the ‘Big Guns’ at Fort Nelson, and spend a day out enjoying the 6 regimental museums at Winchester Military Museums.
Chawton House is a 400-year-old manor house once owned by Jane Austen’s brother and known to her as the ‘Great House’. It’s full of historical treasures and fascinating stories and boasts beautiful gardens and grounds. Situated in 1800 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland and ancient forest.
At over 150 years old, The Watercress Line is one of the most successful heritage steam railways in the country. Your ticket gives you all day unlimited travel allowing you to visit each of the charming period stations, with plenty to explore at each stop.
One of the most historic sites in Hampshire is Mottisfont which has centuries of history buried within its walls. Visit the lower-ground floor to find out how it has changed over the years and step into the 13th-century cellarium. Upstairs, you’ll discover the lives of the last owners the Russell family, who made Mottisfont their artistic retreat in the 1930s.
Step in Hampshire’s history’s footsteps
Hampshire is where you will also find the world-famous Beaulieu, home of the National Motor Museum. You can easily enjoy a day at Beaulieu wandering around their impressive displays of over 250 vehicles telling the history of motoring in Britain. That’s not all there is, Beaulieu is also home to the Victorian gothic style Palace House, Secret Army Exhibition, and the conserved ruins of Beaulieu Abbey.
Winchester Cathedral is one of Hampshire’s most historic attractions and a key historical site. It has over 1,000 years of history to explore. Admire magnificent medieval architecture, discover priceless treasures, and be captivated by stories of people connected with the Cathedral’s history, from Anglo-Saxon kings and bishops to the much-loved author Jane Austen.
The history of Hampshire is enriched by the story of Jane Austen, Britain’s most-loved writer, who lived in the county for much of her life. Step into Jane Austen’s world at Jane Austen’s House and discover the house where she lived and wrote her much-loved novels.
Discover the beautifully restored Gilbert White’s House & Gardens. The museum hosts collections belonging to Lawrence Oates, who was part of the fateful Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole, and the collection of Lawrence’s uncle, Frank Oates, who was a naturalist. There are interactives, original footage, and children’s activities throughout the museum, along with the extensive 25 acres of 18th-century gardens!
Step back in time to the 18th century at Buckler’s Hard. On the now tranquil banks of the Beaulieu River, this historic village was once a hive of shipbuilding activity, building ships for Nelson’s Navy. Step inside historic cottages and visit the Maritime Museum to discover the village’s fascinating past.
Travel in time and explore the history of Hampshire
Ever wondered what it would be like to walk through the streets of historic England? Do just that at Milestones Museum as you take a stroll through the old cobbled streets. Buy your favourite sweets from the vintage sweet shop or enjoy a pint in the Baverstock Arms.
Continue your journey back in time and visit the 15th Century Tudor House & Garden in Southampton! Here you’ll discover the fascinating stories of the lives and times of its residents.
Travel through time at Portchester Castle! With incredible views over the Solent from the top of the Norman Keep, a fascinating exhibition, and a variety of historical artifacts, a visit to Portchester Castle is a must for budding historians.
Follow the workers as they made 8 million bricks a year in The Brickworks Museum in Bursledon. Now a museum the old factory was one of the first industrialised brick manufacturers in the county. Now the only steam-driven brickworks left in the UK, an important legacy to what was a huge industry!
Discover what once roamed across Hampshire
Would you like to step on board the last surviving Landing Craft Tank that took part in the D-Day Landings? Well, you can! Right here in Hampshire at The D-Day Story Museum. Learn about the landing craft’s history and the tanks it carried, thanks to interactive touchscreens, video, and sound. A fantastic day out for the whole family.
Fancy time-travelling back through 10,000 years? We bet you do! Visit Butser Ancient Farm for an incredible family day out at a world-famous experimental archaeology site. Explore a Stone Age farm, Bronze Age roundhouse, Celtic village, Roman villa, and Saxon halls, all authentically reconstructed. Enjoy hands-on activities, a free trail, and frequent living history demonstrations.
878 AD takes you through the battle of Edington between King Alfred’s army and the Viking Guthrum. Here you can enjoy, Anglo-Saxon games for kids, a children’s trail, and discover hidden runes.
The historic gateway to Southampton’s Old Town… God’s House Tower. Constructed over several hundred years, with many ses over that time, including one of the country’s most dismal jails. Immerse yourself in the fascinating past and inspiring present of this interesting attraction!
Hampshire is home to some amazing historic sites, where you can experience thousands of years of history. Be sure to visit our attractions page to find out days out to explore more of Hampshire. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok for the latest news, events, and days out.