The most iconic Hampshire and Isle of Wight attractions are waiting to be discovered by you. From a historic royal holiday home to distinctive landmarks, you won’t be short of iconic attractions to experience. So, get ready to snap those insta-worthy photos in some wonderfully impressive locations!
Iconic Isle of Wight Attractions
A trip to the Isle of Wight wouldn’t be complete without visiting these iconic attractions! They are simply non-negotiables on your island adventure!
The Needles Landmark
This is one of the most, if not the most, iconic Isle of Wight attractions! The Needles Landmark is a series of three chalk stacks that rise out of the sea and are visible from miles around. Visitors can take a chairlift down to the beach and explore the stunning coastline.
Carisbrooke is a quaint village on the Isle of Wight, steeped in history and natural beauty. The village is home to the stunning Carisbrooke Castle, a mediaeval fortress that has been a focal point of the island’s history for centuries.
Visitors can explore the castle’s battlements and towers, visit the on-site museum, or even catch a glimpse of the famous Carisbrooke donkeys, who have been an integral part of the village’s culture for generations. With its unique blend of history and nature, Carisbrooke is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
There are many fantastic Isle of Wight Attractions, but none as royally splendid as Osborne. This former royal residence used to be Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s summer home in the mid-19th century. Now, it’s open to the public as a museum. So, take a tour of the house, and wander through the rooms where Queen Victoria and her family lived! The house also has incredible gardens, perfect for a tranquil stroll on a sunny day.
Iconic Hampshire Attractions
Why not make a fun day out of all the iconic attractions Hampshire has to offer? Have a look at what takes your fancy!
Let’s start with Beaulieu, a village in the heart of the New Forest. Beaulieu is a must-visit destination for history and automobile enthusiasts alike, with attractions to suit every member of your family. In addition to the stunning architecture, the Beaulieu National Motor Museum houses over 250 vehicles, including classic cars, motorcycles and even F1 race cars. Iconic cars include the Outspan Orange and on-screen cars such as those from Only Fools and Horses, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and many more!
Little ones will enjoy the Little Beaulieu adventure playground! This includes an alluring wooden palace with secret hidden passageways, as well as a zip wire, climbing wall and the Little Beaulieu roadway.
Also in Beaulieu is the beautiful Palace House, one of 10 of the UK’s Treasure Houses of England. The house has belonged to the powerful Montagu family since 1538, and every inch of it exudes an air of elegance and sophistication that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is an iconic museum in Portsmouth! Home to the Mary Rose, a Tudor warship that sank in 1545, this museum has a range of exhibits that tell the story of the ship. You can even see the ship itself, which was raised from the seabed in 1982!
Other iconic ships you can see here are the HMS Victory and the HMS Warrior. HMS Victory is the flagship of the victorious British fleet commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. You can see where Nelson was shot here.
And HMS Warrior was Britain’s first iron-hulled, armoured battleship! Portsmouth Historic Dockyard refers to it as ‘the pride of Queen Victoria’s fleet’ when Britain was most dominant in trade and industry. Plus, it was launched in 1860 as a new type of battleship as the first departure from traditional wooden ships. So, all in all, it’s an icon of British history.
The 170-metre tall Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth is one of the most iconic landmarks in the area. Visitors can take a lift to the top of the tower, where they can enjoy stunning views of the city and the surrounding area. The tower also has a glass floor, which allows visitors to look down and see the ground below.
Visit Winchester, this mediaeval city and its iconic cathedral, one of the most important historical landmarks in Hampshire. The cathedral dates back to the 11th century and is famous for its breathtaking architecture and beautiful stained glass windows. Why not take a tour of the cathedral, and learn about its history and significance?
Bombay Sapphire Distillery
The Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Laverstoke makes a charming day out in Hampshire for gin lovers. The distillery is the only place in the
world that produces Bombay gin!
You also don’t want to miss the iconic intertwining Glasshouses, with its truly unique architecture. Through two separate structures, why not
experience the ten exotic botanicals infused into Bombay Sapphire Gin? One structure provides a hot humid environment for spices from the tropics. And the other: a dry temperate space for Mediterranean plants.
Visitors can take a tour of the distillery, where they can learn about the history of gin and see how it is made. The tour also includes a gin tasting where you can try some of the different types of gin produced by the distillery.
Southampton City Art Gallery
Southampton City Art Gallery holds over 5300 words of art from around the world, from paintings to sculptures. If you fancy marvelling at an impressive collection, it’s considered to be amongst the finest of fine art collections outside of London! Most notably, the collection starts from the Renaissance period and tells a story up to the present day. Beginning with post impressionism and including Surrealism and the St Ives-based abstract artists, the Gallery also has an impressive collection of 20th-Century British art.
This cricket ground captures the heart and soul of cricket lovers from around the world. People travel internationally to the Ageas Bowl, to soak up the unparalleled atmosphere and marvel at its modern architecture.
The stadium’s unique design is a sight to behold, with sleek lines blending seamlessly into the natural surroundings. It’s a masterpiece of engineering and technology, with cutting-edge facilities that ensure the highest standards of comfort and convenience for both players and spectators.
From the spacious seating areas to the high-tech scoreboards, everything at the Ageas Bowl has been designed to provide an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the stadium and learn about the history of cricket in Hampshire!
The Watercress Line is a steam railway that runs from Alresford to Alton in Hampshire. The line was originally built in the 19th century to transport watercress from the local farms to the markets in London. Today, visitors can ride on vintage trains and explore the history stations along the way. Also, the line is a great way to experience the history of Hampshire’s railways and enjoy the beautiful countryside at the same time!
Fancy visiting the largest working steamship in Britain? The Steamship Shieldhall in Southampton was built in 1955 and used to carry treated sewage sludge out to sea. So, it’s a vital part of Hampshire history! Visitors can take a guided tour of the ship and learn about its history and engineering. All in all, the ship is a fascinating attraction for anyone interested in maritime history and engineering.
Next up is the Brickworks Museum, a hidden gem located in the heart of the Meon Valley. Brickworks is the only steam-driven brickworks in the UK! And it’s dedicated to preserving the history of brickmaking in the region!
This is an iconic museum where you can see how bricks were made in the 19th and 20th centuries. Plus, visitors can explore the historic brick kilns, learn about the traditional techniques used in brickmaking, and even try their hand at making their own bricks. The museum is a testament to the passion and dedication of the local community, run entirely by volunteers.
Bucklers Hard in the New Forest National Park dates back to the 18th century and played a crucial role in the shipbuilding industry during the Napoleonic Wars. Today, visitors can explore the Maritime Museum and learn about the village’s rich maritime history, take a stroll along the scenic riverfront, or even take a boat tour down the Beaulieu River.
With its charming architecture and breathtaking natural surroundings, Bucklers Hard is a must-visit destination!
Last but not least, Portchester is a charming coastal town located just a short distance from Portsmouth. This historic town is home to the impressive Portchester Castle, a stunning example of mediaeval architecture that dates back to the Roman period.
Visitors can explore the castle’s walls and towers, take a stroll through the beautiful grounds, or even catch a performance at the on-site amphitheatre. With its rich history and stunning natural surroundings, Portchester is a destination that truly has something for everyone.
Jane Austen House and Chawton House
Any fan of Jane Austen or appreciator of English literature and history will want to visit these two iconic historic houses! Firstly, Jane Austen House is the former home of the author herself. And Jane spent the last eight years of her life at this beautiful 17th-century house!
Transport back in time to the space where one of the greatest writers of all time lived and wrote her beloved works, including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma!
Chawton House, on the other hand, was once owned by Jane Austen’s brother, Edward. Jane visited Chawton often, finding inspiration for her writing. Discover the library here, where you will find a unique collection of over 4500 early and rare editions of women’s writing. Spend an afternoon relaxing in the stunning house and gardens as you pay homage to some of Britain’s most iconic literary treasures.
Overall, Hampshire’s Top Attractions has a wealth of iconic Hampshire and Isle of Wight attractions to offer visitors of all ages and interests. From historic sites like Beaulieu and Fort Nelson to hidden gems like the Brickworks Museum, there’s something for everyone here.
So why not pack your bags and get exploring the best of what this beautiful region has to offer? You won’t regret it!