Hampshire is home to two of England’s National Parks which pretty much guarantees a healthy choice of superb holiday cottages of all sizes in idyllic and secluded rural locations for self-catering holidays all year round.
The South Downs National Park lies to the east of the County and the New Forest in the west. Both National Parks offer beautiful countryside scenery. They are ideal for those holiday cottage visitors who love walking, cycling or merely enjoying tranquil green open spaces and woodland glades. Enjoy a secluded rural Holiday Cottage in Hampshire nestling in one of the National Park villages, such as Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst or experience a coastal holiday in the historic naval city of Portsmouth or the great maritime city of Southampton. Hampshire’s south coast is also home to several golden beaches and peaceful coastal walks. With so much to see and enjoy, Hampshire will appeal to holiday cottage guests at any time of year.
The most popular beach in Hampshire is widely regarded as being at Hayling Island. The area is also known for water sports and currently hosts the biggest water sports festival in the UK. For those who prefer smaller-scale festivals, the little Watercress Festival in May is well-worth a weekend break in a self-catering cottage. Southampton is still a very active port, a starting off point for several large cruise liners including the Queen Elizabeth II and has strong links to the RMS Titanic, (don’t miss the exhibition in modern Sea City Museum). For shopping, Southampton also offers a massive range of retail stores at the West Quay Shopping Centre. For those looking for a more traditional shopping experience, Hampshire is well-known for its popular farmers’ markets. These take place regularly all around the County, where delicious home-made produce can be bought.
Hampshire’s two National Parks take up a considerable amount of the County with over 200,000 acres of unspoilt woodland and grassland waiting to be explored. The New Forest has often been described as one of the most beautiful national parks in the UK and is home to dozens of traditional and historic villages. The New Forest is also home to a wealth of interesting attractions and museums, such as the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu and the maritime museum Buckler’s Hard, Then latter explores the incredible and vast evolution of sea-faring maritime tradition on the south coast. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, once the capital of England. There are a considerable number of attractions in the City, from its military museums to its magnificent Cathedral, a burial place for at least one English King. For those interested in history The Great Hall is the only remaining part of Winchester Castle and is home to King Arthur’s Round Table. The wildlife park Marwell Zoo lies on the outskirts of Winchester where you can discover over 170 exotic and endangered species, making it an ideal family attraction. Winchester and the whole of Hampshire in general, are well known for their locally produced food and excellent restaurants and pubs. There are often festivals and other events going on throughout the County to celebrate the best of local produce. Food lovers staying in a holiday cottage in July will experience Hampshire’s month-long food festival.