Five Reasons To Discover Hampshire This Autumn

From culture to cuisine, fresh air to fine wine – you’ll find it all in this beautiful county… 

1 Get back to nature in The New Forest


Travel on foot, by bicycle or on horseback – or even by horse-drawn carriage! With the trees putting on an impressive display in an array of glorious colours and the local wildlife out in force, Autumn is a fabulous time to explore the forest. Spanning 571 square kilometres, it encompasses glades, ancient woodland, open moors, heathland and much more. Getting back to nature never felt so good.

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2 Shop for local food at Hampshire Farmers’ Markets


Hampshire’s local food scene is one of the most thriving and diverse in the UK, and the county’s many farmers’ markets enable you to get up-close-and-personal with the people behind the products. Whether it’s water buffalo from Broughton, Twisted Nose’s watercress gin, Hampshire Honey, or that majestic camembert-style cheese, Tunworth, expect to leave with your shopping bags bulging.

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3 Go back in time at Highclere Castle


Fans of Downton Abbey will be familiar with this spectacular castle which is the award-winning period drama’s main filming location. Indulge your inner history buff on a guided tour. Taking place throughout autumn, these afford you access to the building, Highclere’s Egypt exhibition, and the grounds; including an enchanting secret garden and the Capability Brown-designed park. You’ll even go home with a goody bag.

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4 Discover English wine on a Hambledon vineyard tour

Hambledon Vineyard small

You probably knew that English wine production is on the up-and-up – but did you know Hampshire is one of the best counties in which to discover the finest examples of the genre? Hambledon produces a range of delectable sparklers, including a rose, and the company offers regular tours of its estate and unique gravity-fed state of the art winery. And, of course, there are ample opportunities to sample the wares….

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5 Stay in a cosy country inn at Bel & The Dragon

Bel & Dragon bar

The Odiham branch of this restaurant-with-rooms group is located within a Grade II-listed coaching inn dating back to 1540 – all delightfully higgledy piggeldy architecture and lovely rooms with original features and modern amenities. Hunting is the theme for the 15 bedrooms: think country-cool fabrics, old black-and-white photos, and a complimentary bottle of Sipsmith’s sloe gin.

Bel & Dragon Guest Room

Seasonal modern British menus in the downstairs dining room are masterminded by Gordon Ramsay alum Ronnie Kimbugwe, and make much of the area’s abundant local produce – and the restaurant’s Josper Grill. If you’re planning a festive meal with friends, be sure to book a room so you can sup Bel & The Dragon’s signature cocktail  – The Elderbubble – with impunity.

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