Historical buildings and landmarks to visit in Hampshire

For those who love to visit landmarks that have cultural roots and fascinating history, we’ve put together some of Hampshire’s most important and interesting landmarks. From 17th-century homes to war-time memorials, and historical buildings in Hampshire, get ready to add these to your must-see list!

Hampshire landmarks with a view

SS Shieldhall is an amazing Hampshire landmark
SS Shieldhall is an amazing Hampshire landmark

Explore historic Southampton Water on heritage steamship SS Shieldhall. Listen to an informed commentary as Shieldhall passes what was once the world’s biggest hospital, The Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley; Henry VIII’s ‘Device Forts’; the country’s largest oil refinery at Fawley; the world’s oldest continuously operated Pier Railway at Hythe and the Bramble Bank – scene of many a ship foundering! 

Butser Hill is the highest point on the South Downs and forms a key part of Queen Elizabeth country Park. From the trig point at 270 metres elevation you can enjoy a panoramic view across the landscape including to the south across Solent to the Isle of Wight, and to the north over Petersfield and the Hangers. The car park is open 7 days a week during the summer months from 8.00am to 8.00pm with toilets and a seasonal cafe.

Towering 170 metres above the harbour, Spinnaker Tower has become icon for Portsmouth as well an award-winning visitor attraction and event venue.  The panoramic views from the top provide a stunning introduction to the city and its surrounding area.

Step off the central pathway of Beaulieu to enjoy views across the tidal Beaulieu River from The Millpond walk. Look out for the Rufus Memorial Cairn – commemorating the death of King William Rufus who was killed whilst hunting near Beaulieu in 1100. 

The Needles holds place for one of the most popular landmarks on the Isle of Wight. With the bay’s iconic views, it also offers many attractions, from a glass and sand factories, to a relaxing boat tour of the famous chalk stacks and lighthouse. Oh, and not forgetting their thrilling chair lift that offers panoramic views of the whole coastline.

God's House Tower - view across the Solent. a young boy and girl enjoy watching cruise ships on the water in port.
God’s House Tower – view across the Solent

God’s House Tower offers impressive mile views across the solent from the top of the tower, not to mention watching the cruise ship come into and out of port.

Historical buildings in Hampshire standing the test of time

Jane Austen’s House Museum is the only surviving home of Jane Austen, author of Pride and Prejudice. The house, dating back 500 years, is a large cottage in the village of Chawton. Austen lived here in the early 19th century whilst she wrote her novels. The house became a museum 70 years ago and, since then, has become one of the most important literary sites in the world.

From farmhouse to hospital and even used as a chapel, over the years Jermyn’s House has seen many different uses and people through its doors. Formally Sir Harold Hillier’s family home this early 18th century house is nestled in the middle of the stunning landscape of Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.

Gilbert White’s house in Selborne is the home of ecology and an important site for anyone interested in natural history. Gilbert lived at the house between 1727-1793 and produced his work ‘The Natural History of Selborne’ from the house, the book is now the fourth most published book in the English Language and inspired naturalists like Darwin and published book in the English Language and inspired naturalists like Darwin and Attenborough. 

Walk in historical footsteps with these landmarks

Royal Victoria Chapel is a unique historical building
The Royal Victoria Chapel is a unique historical building

Here’s one for all the military history lovers! The Royal Victoria Chapel is the last remaining section of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital, the British Army’s first purpose built military infirmary for the injured of the Boer War and both world wars. The Chapel has been gloriously restored into a free museum, and for a small charge you can even climb to the top of the 150ft tower with its views over the surrounding 200 acres of countryside and Southampton Water.

Royal Armouries Fort Nelson, a vast Victorian fortification, high on the chalk ridge of Portsdown Hill, was built in the 1860s as part of a defensive chain around Portsmouth and its vital Royal Dockyard. It is probably the best surviving example of a Victorian fortress and has been restored to its original 19th-century state, together with parts of its Second World War history.

Winchester Cathedral is one of England’s finest medieval cathedrals, with the longest Nave and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. Located at the heart of historic Winchester, it is famous as the resting place of Anglo-Saxon kings and the much-loved novelist Jane Austen.

Brickworks Museum
Burseldon Brickworks Museum

Feel a part of Hampshire’s history

The Brickworks Museum is set in the only Victorian steam driven brickworks left in the country. This unique survivor is tucked away near the River Hamble and offers a chance to experience how the men used to make millions of bricks a year.

Step back in time at the historic shipbuilding village of Buckler’s Hard, where ships for Nelson’s Navy were built. Explore historic cottage displays, look for smuggling secrets in St Mary’s Chapel, and discover the village’s fascinating history in the Maritime Museum.

The Mary Rose museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, is impressive on the outside but the inside is where the real wonder is. Resting in the heart of the museum is The Mary Rose herself, flagship of Henry VIII, lit to show off her ancient timbers to their finest, and surrounded by her treasures.

Looking for more landmarks in Hampshire?

We hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane with this guide to historical buildings and landmarks in Hampshire. It truly is a county with a rich history to explore. We’ve compiled many more landmarks in our guide to historic Hampshire days out.

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