Basingstoke is the largest town in Hampshire and is often nicknamed “Doughnut City” or “Roundabout City” because of its large number of roundabouts. An old market town that expanded during the last century to accommodate the London Overspill Plan due to the easy commute into the capital and beautiful countryside surroundings. There is still a popular market that dates back to the Domesday Book in 1086 even though Basingstoke is now too large to be classed as a market town.
Although it’s a great base to commute to London and other areas, Basingstoke has become an important economic centre in its own right. It houses the UK headquarters of De La Rue, Sun Life Financial, ST Ericsson, The Automobile Association, GAME, Motorola, Barracuda Networks, Eli Lilly and Company amongst many others.
Basingstoke dates back to Roman times and is full of rich heritage, it even played an important part of the English Civil War. The birth place of Burberry and Elizabeth, why not give take a trip and explore everything this diverse town has to offer?
The Vyne is a Tudor mansion set in 13 acres of beautiful, relaxing gardens. Built in the 16th century for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain, which later passed into the hands of the Chute family, who cared for the house and estate for over 300 years. Visitors will encounter 500 year-old Majolica tiles, Renaissance stained glass, and exquisite wood carvings in the Tudor chapel and period linen-fold panelling in the oak gallery. The house holds treasures collected by the Chute family, including furniture, tapestries and paintings, Murano glass and silk wall hangings. Stroll through rooms once enjoyed by notable guests like Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Horace Walpole, and Jane Austen.
Immerse yourself in the past at Milestones, Hampshire’s museum of living history. Explore the museum’s streets, shops and buildings to discover how people used to live, buy a ration of sweets from our 1940s sweet shop, view their unique collection of vintage vehicles and have a go in a penny arcade!
Discover Basingstoke and Deane's past from the rich archaeological heritage beneath our feet right up to the modern day at the Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery. As you tour the museum, you’ll find out about Iron Age and Roman burials, will meet Pickaxe, a 19th century scavenger scraping a living from the streets and revisit the days of twin-tubs and teddy-boys in the 1960s sitting room. On the ground floor is The Sainsbury Gallery, which hosts a rolling programme of exhibitions from nationally important galleries and museums, as well as some of the finest artists in the region. The Basingstoke gallery on the first floor showcases the work of local artists, groups and societies. This gallery has been restored to reveal many original features, creating a stunning space.
Opposite Basingstoke train station, The Anvil Art has some of the finest acoustics in the country. The Anvil has firmly established itself as one of the South's leading venues for high quality live music. This prestigious concert hall offers a varied programme of classical, jazz, country, folk and popular music that has attracted, inspired and delighted audiences from far and wide. It is also becoming an increasingly popular comedy venue.
For the adrenaline junkies there’s indoor skydiving at iFLY! You can experience the stimulation of true free-fall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel. It’s where the dream of flight becomes a reality, Suitable for ages 3-103!
Restaurants and shopping
The Basingstoke and Deane Food Trail, promoted by Hampshire Fare, highlights some of the fantastic local food produced in and around Basingstoke. It includes everything from award-winning sausages and pies, luxury Jersey milk ice cream and local ales, to organic fruits and vegetables, buffalo milk ice-cream and rare breed meat products. There are even some products made from a rare type of peppermint. More local produce is available at Basingstoke Market, held every Wednesday and Saturday. Here you can find fruit and vegetables, meats, sweets, olives, cheeses, chutneys, fresh eggs and home-made bread and cakes.
Festival Place is Basingstoke’s lively shopping centre with an array of small shops, large arcades and tempting eateries. Here you’ll find over 30 restaurants, bars and cafes catering for a wide variety of tastes.
Festival Street Kitchen offers a unique food experience, using fresh local produce to create dishes from around the world. Everything is cooked in front of you and the menu changes daily, from paella to hog roast and Thai green chicken curry to chilli beef with nachos: there is something for everyone. Great for kids and vegetarians as lots of dishes can be tailored to you needs and tastes. This really is street food at its best!
For fine dining or a luxurious afternoon tea head to The Conservatory Restaurant set in Audleys Wood Hotel. This bright, light and elegant restaurant has striking vaulted ceiling fabulous views out onto the grounds and a suitably impressive menu to match.
If you are looking for a luxury accommodation then nestled in the Hampshire countryside and surrounded by woodlands is Audleys Wood Hotel. Built in the 1880s as a private home for Thomas Pain, it subsequently enjoyed a rich and colourful history, with owners and visitors including the rich and famous. Today it is a 72 bedroom, 4 star hotel surrounded by woodlands and seven acres of private grounds.
The Hampshire Court Hotel has recently had a £1 million refurbishment. The hotel now offers 90 bedrooms, bridal suite, executive bedrooms with balconies, new courtyard garden, award winning restaurant, brasserie bar, 2 indoor swimming pools, 3 fitness studios, gymnasium with wireless cardio theatre, 5 indoor tennis courts and 6 treatment suites offering various treatments.
If a clean, comfortable and family friendly B&B is more your thing then look no further than Wessex House. Only 5 minutes’ walk from the town centre. Close to bars and restaurants, all rooms are en-suite with a TV and there’s Wi-Fi available.