Things To Do Basingstoke

Things To Do Basingstoke

Milestones Museum

Passing through the turnstile you are greeted by a number of costumed characters strolling on the street. On the left side is a row of brightly colored shops and pubs interspersed with food kiosks. In front is an open market area with animals, and a stage. To the right, behind the buildings, is a series of miners'cottages similar to those which might have occupied Basingstoke in the 19th century. These are arranged in such a way to allow visitors to pass through them and see inside.

The museum has been designed to look very much like a town with the streets in the centre of the building, Hampshire List (hampshire-list.co.uk). It makes you think you're walking in the street rather than being enclosed by a building. The history is told from different viewpoints including notable residents, visitors and events. You experience various situations that happened in the past, some comical, while others are sobering and sad as specific incidents. Another project is a representation of Basingstoke's Old Town Hall, which was demolished in 1955.

This building and its surroundings are reproduced in miniature, including the market place in front of the town hall and, under the street, a warren of small rooms and passages which visitors walk around on different levels. On one side is a street market in Basingstoke; on the other, a fairground beside the river Itchen. There is a Victorian music hall and a rollercoaster, a corner pub with snooker players, an old cinema and a wartime air raid shelter.

The Milestones Museum is about out local history. It shows how people used to live. This shows kids what they missed (and their parents will tell them) - but it's also a fun place to take grown ups too. The idea came from the founder of Hampshire County Council Museums, Ralph Maidment. After much research, he set out to create one of the most celebrated local history museums in the UK. The fit and fearless can go up the centre of the road but they risk being hit by cars on the blind bend approaching Hyde Park Corner.

The Vyne

Hampshire’s county town of Winchester was already showing signs of decline when the wealthy barrister Sir Paul Pindar (1484–1566) bought his manor there in 1531 and transformed it into a Jacobean mansion. Intended as a haven from the hustle and bustle of London, the house became known as The Vyne (the name comes from an Old English word for “vineyard”).  Over the years, the ground floor room that is now known as the Parlour has been used for everything from entertaining royal visitors to housing a large family Bible.

The Vyne is a Tudor manor house and estate near Sherborne St John in the north-east of Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. It is closely associated with the surrounding area and it is a location for the annual Basingstoke Festival. The Vyne is a grade I listed Elizabethan mansion house dating from the 16th century. The house is in the care of English Heritage and is open to the public. It is situated just north of Basingstoke, in Hampshire, England.

Stately home nestled in the Cotswolds This splendid 16th-century mansion is just north of the town. Built around 1586 by Sir William Petre, it was sold to the Earls of Coventry, and they have been its owners ever since. If you’re looking for a day trip that’s about an hour north of Bath, The Vyne makes an excellent destination. Located just west of Basingstoke off the A339, this splendid 16th-century mansion is a Tudor gem.

Basing House

Basing House is a large ruined manor house in the civil parish of Old Basing in South Hampshire, England,2 3 4 nearly two miles east of the centre of the nearest town, Basingstoke. The building was granted Grade I listed status on 20 March 1953. It was built for John Paulet, 4th Marquess of Winchester, who had inherited it from his father William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester, and brother of William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Exeter.

The Tudor palace at Basing House was built in the sixteenth century largely by the Earls of Southampton and became one of the most important mansions in Tudor England after Henry VIII founded the village of Old Basing, east of Winchester, adopting it as one of his principal residences. Today only parts can be seen amongst the terraced housing on Basing Lane and other modern developments.   (more on Frome In History – Upper Slaughter).

Once reserved for royal use, the estate was bequeathed in 1509 to Henry VIIIs favourite, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, a commander at the Battle of Flodden and one of the earliest advocates of Henrys divorce from his first wife.  Old Basing House is thought to incorporate part of a medieval manor destroyed by Brandons half-brother and rival, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset. Old Basing was once home to Henry VIII’s favourite palace, with grand lodgings of brick and stone, two great courts, a vast tiltyard for jousting, and a huge vineyard.

Today only the ruins remain: the still-impressive four towers of the gatehouse, what remains of the great palace hall, stables and guardroom…. Basing House was a Tudor palace in Old Basing, Hampshire, England. Old Basing is a village east of the New Forest at its western fringes, lying to the south of the A31 trunk road between Basingstoke, Hampshire, and Reading but now within the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire. Due to the palace's size and position, the Basing House rose to play an important role in the domestic life of Elizabeth I.

Eastrop Park

Eastrop Park is home to the Paddington Magic Festival where magicians and illusionists gather each year performing shows. On top of that, there is a BMX track for teenagers to ride around and a boating lake for families to rent a boat and spend an afternoon on the water. Eastrop Park is about 3km away from Basingstoke train station, toward the West End of Basingstoke. Being close to the station, Eastrop is a great park for getting away from it all.

With paths to cycle or just sit and relax, there is plenty of space to go around. It has a lovely rose garden perfect for picnics and barbecues too. In the summer there are often outdoor concerts held here, which I’ve been to once or twice and they’re always brilliant fun!. New to Basingstoke? You need to find your way around to the best of what it has to offer and the location of Eastrop Park should be one of your first stops.

Stroll by the River Loddon, marvel at the Rose Garden, sit on one of the benches at the lake side and enjoy a morning with family and friends. This wildlife area has sand pits, a rockery, a sculpture and meadow planting — all set in a brand new play area for children. Eastrop Park was opened by The Duke of Edinburgh in October 1986. In extending the green space for the public, some 110,000 tons of chalk spoil was removed from the site.

Eastrop park is right next to the beautiful River Loddon and Basingstoke Canal. The park encompasses Eastrop Pool which is a Grade II listed manmade rowing basin which was built around 1768. Eastrop Park is located just 400 yards from Basingstoke train station. It offers a boating lake, free playground, fishing, full wildlife area, North Lodge cafe bar and toilets. The private apartments of Elizabeth are thought to have been attached to Kieve or Quene's tower at the north east corner of the palace.

Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery

During her visit to Bath in 1801, Austen visited the Willis family who owned a piece of land which was given to trustees for public benefit. The land is now home to the Willis Museum, housing the portraits of Jane Austen and her family gifted by her brother Henry as well as memorabilia associated with her.  There are some personal details about Austen on display at the museum including an unfinished ballgown she sewed at the age of 15.

The Sainsbury Gallery is part of the UEA Art Collection, the UKs largest university based art collection, home to over 1000 works by more than 200 artists from the 17th century to the present day. For more information about visiting please click here. The Vyne is a great example of Jacobean architecture, and if you’re interested in Tudor times, you can also visit nearby Basing House, a Tudor mansion built for King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son.

The Anvil

A national centre for music, dance and theatre, the Anvil won over the public as soon as it opened back in 1994. Designed by Richard Rodgers (yes, that one) the Anvil is shaped like an anvil. He joked at the time that it was "an anvil placed on top of a flying saucer. " However, he later revealed it was originally his idea to design it with a more conventional sloping profile. The building's unusual shape allowed for better acoustics and larger seating capacity than if it had been built on a normal-shaped plot of land.

The Anvil is one of the more recent additions to the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador. Opened in 1994, the performance space was designed by the same architects who built the Grand Theatre in London. However, there are a few key differences between the two buildings - firstly the Anvil contains two separate theatres (one modern theater and one more traditional space) whereas London's Grand holds just one, and secondly, The Anvil is notably larger. In the late-1990s Edmonton was in a frenzy of construction and property development, spearheaded by the success of a brand new arena for the Oilers.

The newly minted Rexall Place desperately needed activity around it—which brought the construction of The Anvil, one of the largest performing arts centres in Western Canada. Built near the train station in Deptford, The Anvil is the only major performing arts centre for the whole of south-east London. A massive fly tower enables flying scenery, and a studio space and rehearsal rooms as well as bars and restaurants make it a popular venue. As a large arts centre, the Anvil is home to numerous performing arts companies.

War Memorial Park

War Memorial Park, opened in 1930, is a spacious park on the edge of the town centre where children can play cricket and football, and ladies can sit with their knitting or dogs. Venues hosting arts events are dotted around, so whatever the weather you'll find something to keep you occupied. The wooded park is a great place for kids to get out and stretch their legs after a tour of the museum. The highlight is the aviary, which’s home to an impressive variety of birds from around the globe.

It’s worth walking through the park to get to the playground, which is a favourite in Nuneaton with a yard full of things to climb, slides and swings of all different shapes. Green Flag-winning park that has mature woodland, an aviary, a bandstand and all kinds of sports facilities. Located close to Docklands and the city centre, it boasts a large - scale auditorium, a smaller studio theatre, several rehearsal rooms and workshops and an art gallery.

Whitchurch Silk Mill

The Whitchurch Silk Mill is a working mill right on the beautiful River Test. It has been around for about 200 years, ever since William Cropper opened it in 1816. The main building of the mill has been used by many different manufacturing companies over time and during one of the ownership changes it was renamed 'The Great Western Cotton Spinning Company'. This is the name which appears above the door today along with a collection of eight lamps.

The lamps were added during restoration work in 1955 to commemorate famous buildings which had ceased to exist. The Whitchurch Silk Mill is a 19th-century industrial building producing silk, canvas and waterproof clothing. The mill has a fantastic history with many innovations developed there that are still used in modern day. It only has about 12 acres under roof; the rest of the space is occupied by machinery either in working order or on display.

If you enjoy seeing how things work or just really like beautiful fabrics then this is somewhere you shouldn’t miss. We couldn't have picked a more beautiful day to visit Whitchurch Silk Mill. The lovely weather was a great excuse to sit on the patio with a drink in hand, watch the river flow by and enjoy the tranquility of our surroundings. Even though April in England has been (mostly) warm, it's still too early to shed the winter woolies and a few of us opted to wear our hats for the occasion.

Nestled between Reading and Basingstoke is a very special place where British traditions of textile manufacture have been preserved (and indeed enhanced). A visit to the park is a journey through the ages, taking in 100 years of technology in weaving in a magical landscape of lakes and follies. There are features for all ages, from young children right up to industrial fans. The Anvil, or Anvil Centre as it's sometimes called, is a major performing arts centre for the region.

Stratfield Saye House

Stratfield Saye House is a 17th-century historic house and its estate in the parish of Old Basing, about 4 miles/6 km northwest of central Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. It is the former family home of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, victor at the Battle of Waterloo and for whom Stratfield Saye was originally purchased as a country residence for him and his wife Kitty. It became the home of their descendants until 1980 when the 10th Duke of Wellington died childless and the estate was left to five equine charities.

Since 1980 it has been carefully restored to how it would have looked in 1830 when Wellington's daughter Fanny lived there as wife of her cousin William Saye-. Built in 1635 (although parts of the site go back to the 12th century) by Sir William Prynne, a noted Puritan lawyer and member of parliament, the house was originally called Stratfield Saye or Sayes. It is set in beautiful parkland with wide views over neighbouring fields and is surrounded by landscaping that includes a huge lake with an island.

The house stands to the north of Stratfield Saye village, overlooking meadows through which the River Test flows. The earliest part of the present house was built by Edward Young in 1661–63 for Edward Phelips and is mostly a three-storey, red brick structure with stone dressings and a hipped slate roof laid out in a cruciform plan. It was the first great baronial house to be sold by a private owner in Britain, and its acquisition was a remarkable instance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's skill as a negotiator.

Watership Down

The chalk hills are cut by deep woods and steep valleys.  These are the haunts of the rabbit. In the days when men were magistrates and voted Tory, this was one of the few spots where a hare could live unmolested. In February, as we drove to work, we used to see great hordes of rabbits on this hill. They ran like sticklebacks all ways across the road, or stood in frozen immobility with eyes turned towards us, as we thundered down.

Sometimes before they had moved off a rook would come sailing out of the sky, but he would not attempt to settle, only fly round and round above them: then he would utter his cries until the whole drove was away again. If you ever find yourself passing the snugly nestled village of Watership Down in Berkshire, England, on your way to the Whitchurch Silk Mill, I recommend you take a pit-stop and visit this beautiful hillside.

In an area sprinkled with magnificent rolling hills, this particular hill is a special one. Epsom is famous for horse racing and a hill was actually named Watership Down because it was high enough to have running water on it. Charlie’s brother, Millie, got his name from the Silk Mill in Whitchurch whose sign showed a mill wheel with two mounds rising upon either side of it. On the spur of the hill above the road that leads into that crossing is Watership Down, a copse of trees and a gathering of wildflowers.

It’s called by that name because there is a long-standing folk tale about a family of rabbits named Hazel-rah who lives on the hillside there. The Hill is an area of discontinuous chalk which rises steeply to a height of 203 metres above sea level. From its summit there are extensive views, including the coast from Worthing to Selsey Bill, and on clear days the Isle of Wight can be seen. Just to the north of here is a small, steep hill called Watership Down.

Odiham Castle

The castle was built by John to defend against French invasion through the south west, as the Thames was usually closed to them by London Bridge. The original manuscript of Domesday records that Odiham had been in French hands since 1066, so King John’s decision to build a castle here makes sense. He also went on to build castles at Rochester and Newcastle. Castles were essential for King John to govern the country. They could be used as a base to defend against foreign invasion and civil unrest.

. Odiham Castle was built in the late 12th century, though was extensively altered in the 14th century. King John was the first monarch of the Plantagenet dynasty which reigned until Edward III, so in terms of historic value, Odiham Castle is as good as they come. It’s a little further south west from where we are now. The rabbit burrows in the downlands here are known as “washes”. " - Watership Down Author Richard Adams.

Silchester Roman Walls

The remains of the Roman city wall are remarkably well preserved and run for several miles in places along the top edge of a 100 foot high ridge. Some of these walls may have been built by Julius Caesar's Tenth Legion in the 1st century BC, and others by his 2nd in around AD 47 (the dark ages following the Roman occupation), but most of them were actually built by the legions who manned this part of the frontier under later emperors.

Silchester was one of only two cities in Roman Britain to be given the name Atrebatum. This city was founded in the first century BC and occupied until the 4th century AD. I am fascinated by this city and its connection to Calleva Atrebatum, a Roman city in Britannia, built by the Atrebates tribe during the Iron Age and inhabited throughout contact with the Roman Empire. This is nine miles north of Silchester, and a little further north again is a section of Roman bank nearly two miles long that skirts the edge of Greensand Ridge.

The ridge continues down by the river Test and there is an interesting stretch that drops some 800 feet in the area between it and Southfrith Butts, near Westbury. At the western end of the Silchester Roman walls is where you’ll find the last standing remains of what used to be Calleva, a Roman City. The Silchester Wall is thought to have been built in 48 BC by Julius Caesar as part of his defensive line along the River Thames.

In spite of what the records say, a built-up area of this size cannot not be on the borders of Hampshire and Berkshire. These places got together and changed it to Silchester Roman city due to the amount of tourists who would visit. The ruins of the Roman city of Calleva Atrebatum are quite easy to spot from the road. The only problem is that they lie on private property and without permission you'd be trespassing.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

In one of the most innovative projects in the UK, Bombay Sapphire's brand owners, Bacardi, built a new £20 million distillery in Laverstoke Mill. The British-designed gin is distilled in Hampshire using water from the River Test as well as juniper berries imported from Croatia and other botanicals including coriander seeds, angelica root and liquorice from Spain. The mill is owned by a British company, but Winchester was chosen for its central location that allowed for easy delivery to customers nearby.

In the heart of the beautiful Hampshire countryside, where it's said you'll find 'hard-working people, hard-working beers and hard-working gins'. And the distillery itself is all about craftsmanship. The water comes from springs in the local hills. the finest juniper berries are selected for their unique tart taste. and only eight botanicals are ever used. including a secret one that they don't even tell their bottling plant about!. Newer to the English gin producing scene, Bombay Sapphire is an example of India's growing success in the gin world.

Producing one of the best Indian gins in the exploding global market, this gin brand was sold for 7. 1M USD. It's owner, Bacardi Limited (who purchased Bombay Sapphire in 2011) moved the brand from its previous location to Laverstoke Mill to appeal to a more international audience while keeping a domestic touch. One of the best places to visit in Basingstoke and one of the best free things to do in Basingstoke; the Bombay Sapphire Distillery tours are open to all and on weekends can be joined straight from town.

Basingstoke Leisure Park

The Basingstoke Leisure Park is a pretty damn cool place. There's a cinema, restaurants galore, an ice rink and an Olympic-sized pool. It's all fairly new - the rinks opened in 2013 and the cinema in 2011. The park is split into two halves, the 'new'end (pictured above) and the old side (which you can get to from a path behind Milestones Museum - see point 15). Though the museum is a lovely throwback to simpler times, it’s impossible to ignore the scores of restaurants in the leisure park.

  It’s certainly worth dedicating an entire day, but if you’re somewhat lacking in time, you can still visit several of the restaurants.   Each has a different style and feeling, but all are excellent places for a special dinner. Towering high above the rest is Basingstoke Leisure Park, which includes the Wychwood Towers leisure complex. Kids love the space themed Laser Quest, arcade games and indoor play area. There are huge soft play areas for under7s to let off steam, as well as pool tables and a skating rink.

The leisure park includes a pub, cocktail bar and a Thai restaurant. The A339 dual carriageway is close by, which makes it easy to get to from Basingstoke town centre. If you want to get out into the country and discover Hampshire, this part of the ride is perfect. The Basingstoke Leisure Park is a haven of all sorts. There are lots of interesting buildings squeezed into such a small area, making it perfect if you want to explore old architecture and nature in one fell swoop.