Historic Outings in North Hampshire

Basingstoke and its surrounding towns and villages offer a rich variety of interesting and historic places to visit. We've done a bit of leg-work to list a few for you.

Physical exercise is important at any age and particularly as you get older, but why not take your exercise in a place of historic interest?

By taking your elderly loved one or friend for a walk in one of Basingstoke’s many places of historic or cultural interest, you can offer them the opportunity to gain not only physical exercise but mental stimulation and social interaction as well.  We’ve set out below our top places to visit for some gentle exercise in interesting  and stimulating locations, and some offer unusual retail opportunities as well.

Newlyns Farm and Odiham Castle

Newlyns is a 500 acre mixed farm producing arable crops, cattle, pigs and sheep. It is fully accessible, with a lovely play area for the kids. But whilst you are there you must visit Newlyns Farm Shop where the range of fresh farm foods includes artisan bread, a fresh cheese room, a delicatessen, wines, a fish room and their own butchery, together with a super tea & coffee shop offering inside and outside seating areas. They even have their own cookery school!

Around the farm’s courtyard are various retail units to explore, including Caviste wine & gin emporium, Studio K hair salon, and Glass By Angela Jane, a bespoke glass gift shop.

Walk up a short slope at the back of Newlyns Farm to access the canal towpath and walk about a mile to Odiham Castle, also known as King John’s Castle. This site has been part of many historical events including the signing of the Magna Carta, a French siege, brief ownership by Simon de Montfort until he rebelled against the King, the hosting of Parliament and the imprisonment of a Scottish king.

Newlyns Farm can be found off the A287 at Lodge Farm, North Warnborough, Hook RG29 1HA.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Well worth a visit, and fully accessible with free parking.  Based at Laverstoke Mill, 10 miles from Basingstoke, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery is set on the River Test in a beautiful conservation area.  The mill boasts over 1,000 years of history prior to being converted into the distillery and visitor centre in 2013.

Take the interesting guided Discovery Tour around the site or treat yourself to a Gin Cocktail Masterclass, either way you won’t be disappointed. Marvel at the state of the art glass houses, whose steel frames conduct heat to use energy created by the distillery to warm the glass house interiors. Visit the botanical room where you can smell the fragrances of various botanicals used to add delicate flavours to the gin.

You can round off your tour with refreshments in the lovely onsite café and bar, which offers indoor and outdoor seating plus sales of Bombay Sapphire and all things gin.

The Bombay Sapphire Distillery is at Laverstoke Mill, London Road, Whitchurch RG28 7NR

Silchester Roman Remains

Free parking is available at various points around the area – the official car park for Silchester Roman Remains is off Wall Lane, but we parked at the church and walked through the churchyard, past the alpacas.

The original settlement, about a mile from the current village of Silchester, was founded in the late 1st century BC by the Iron Age Atrebates tribe as its capital, and known as Calleva. After the Roman conquest of 43AD it became the large and important Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum. Unlike most Roman towns, it was never reoccupied or built over after was abandoned in the 5th or 6th century, making it an attractive prospect for archaeologists – you can often see archaeological digs in the fields each side of the central path.

The complete circuit of Roman walls and the remains of the amphitheatre still stand. The ground around the full circuit is very uneven in places could be a difficult walk in places, but there is a central gravelled road through the site which would be suitable for the mobility challenged and wheelchair users.

Whilst here, you could also take a look inside the 12th Century St Mary’s Church, which is still in daily use.

Silchester Roman Remains are off Wall Lane, Silchester, Reading RG7 2HJ

Basing House

Free parking near Bartons Mill pub.  Stroll along the bank of the River Loddon, look around the Great Barn (which dates back to 1535), and pop into the visitor centre. Walk past the meadow then cross the road to visit Basing House ruins, where there’s plenty to see and do in the grounds of the largest private house in Tudor England – it was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1645 during the English Civil Wars. There is usually an annual re-enactment of the siege of Basing House, which is highly dramatic and very popular with the locals. For more history you can also visit the Jacobean walled garden and Basing House Museum.

It’s great for a day out, picnic or to walk the dog. While the first part of this walk is level and accessible, the grounds of Basing House itself consist mostly of ditches, banks and broken walls so possibly not suitable for people with mobility difficulties.

Basing House can be found off The Street, Old Basing, Basingstoke RG24 7BH.

Odiham Village, Church and Stocks

A lovely place to visit is the quaint historic village of Odiham. On the banks of the Basingstoke Canal, Odiham lies mid way between Winchester and Windsor; it was a frequent stopping point for Norman Kings, and as a royal manor it was the first entry in the Hampshire Domesday Book.

Odiham has a rich collection of historic buildings as well as lovely countryside and canal walks. The high street has many independently owned shops, several coffee shops and a pub.  Just off the high street stands the historic All Saints Church, outside which you will find the original village stocks and whipping post. There is a market every other Friday 08h00-12h30. The Odiham RAF base is nearby, home of the heavy-lift Chinook helicopters.

Odiham is just south of the M3, off junction 5.

There are some great places of historic or general interest around Basingstoke, and taking your elderly friend or loved one for an outing would not only be a lovely treat but would enable them to get important exercise coupled with mental stimulation and companionship.

Would your elderly relative like support at home to help them continue to live independently? We could continue your good work by providing that support at home, or by taking them out to places of interest or just for tea and cake.

For more information about how our Basingstoke team could help please give us a ring on 01256 840 660 or email us on [email protected]