Tours And Experiences Around North Hampshire

Here are some really interesting places to take your elderly friend or relative for an outing in north Hampshire - why not give them a try?

North Hampshire is well endowed with memorable places to visit, blending historical interest with information and experience.

Whether you fancy taking a guided tour, a free wander, or even a remote virtual tour, we’ve found some great places for you.

If you can, why not get out and visit some of these fascinating venues. If you don’t fancy the tour, just take advantage of their onsite cafes and coffee shops – and maybe do the tour next time!

Andwell Brewery

The little village of Andwell, between Basingstoke and Hook, provides a wonderful beer-drinker’s outing – to the Andwell Brewery.

The Andwell Brewing Company was established in 2008, initially in a potato shed behind Newlyns Farm in North Warnborough.  After their first brew, “Resolute”, Andwells added to their range with “Gold Muddler” and “King John”, and now offer a great selection of real ales, IPAs and lagers. In 2011 they relocated their growing business to the current peaceful setting – an old trout smoking house alongside the Lyde River, but there’s nothing fishy about it now! Further growth has seen the addition of a brewhouse shop, a bar and a café where, as well as supping the brewery’s various products, you can also enjoy a cuppa and some local cake whilst looking out across the river.

Before tasting the beautifully crafted Andwell beers, why not see what goes into making them, with a 90 minute guided tour of the brewery.  You will be able to sample the floor-malted barley, take in the sweet aroma of hops, see the fermentation process and meet the Andwell team.

Your guided tour can be booked here and the brewery can be found here. Alternatively enjoy Andwell’s products at home with free local deliveries from their online shop.

Andwell Brewery, Andwell Lane, Andwell, Hook RG27 9PA, tel 01256 761 044

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Having done a brewery, are you ready for a distillery?

World famous Bombay Sapphire gin is made at the former Laverstoke Mill, west of Basingstoke between Overton and Whitchurch.

Set in a fantastic location on the River Test, this historic former paper mill was bought by Bombay Sapphire in 2010 and converted into the wonderful gin distillery it is today.  Rare production processes are used to make their famous spirits, which a barman will tell you are at the heart of many good cocktails. Bombay Sapphire themselves not only provide recipes for their favourite cocktails, but also offer masterclasses in how to prepare them like a professional.

The distillery opened to the public in October 2014.  A Discovery Experience comprises a short film, followed by a fully guided tour of the distillery which takes in the particular distillation process which makes the gin so special, discovery of the ten exotic botanicals infused into Bombay Sapphire gins and a sensory experience to uncover your flavour preferences.  The tour is of course accompanied by a complimentary gin & tonic.

To get even more into the spirit of things, you could sign up for a Creative Cocktail Experience. As well as the guided tour and complimentary gin & tonic, this includes tutored tasting of four Bombay gins, four Martini vermouths and a selectin of flavoured tonic waters, following which you can get hands-on to create and take home a bottle of your favourite cocktail.

Whilst walking around, you can’t help but be struck by the inspiring design of the glasshouses and their Mediterranean and tropical plants.

If you just fancy enjoying a drink alongside the River Test, why not visit the Mill Bar.  Alternatively, for those who prefer a non alcoholic drink, enjoy a cuppa and a slice of cake at the Mill Café, although unfortunately this is only available to those booked on an Experience.  And before you leave, don’t forget to pop into the gift shop to see the whole collection of gins together with bar accessories and some unique locally produced gifts.

You can find the distillery at:  Laverstoke Mill, London Road, Whitchurch RG28 7NR, telephone 01256 890 090

Jane Austen's House

Jane Austen’s statue is in the centre of Basingstoke, in the Market Place at the Top of the Town infront of the Willis Museum. It was unveiled in 2017 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her death. Born in nearby Steventon, Jane knew the Basingstoke area well, often frequenting the town for social events at the Assembly Rooms and visiting friends at The Vyne, Oakley Hall and Ashe House.

Jane’s family moved to Bath in 1800 and then in 1809 moved to a large cottage in the charming village of Chawton, about 15 miles from Basingstoke.  It was here in Chawton Cottage that Jane lived the rest of her life and wrote or finalised her six major novels.  The property is now a museum and open for you to explore.

Various events take place at the museum throughout the year: period dramas, village walks, and an exclusive “waking up the house” tour where you can join the folks who check that everything is in order before opening up for the day. This tour includes sharing of the secrets and stories of Jane’s house, plus a tea & toast breakfast. You need to be an early bird for this one – and do book before you go!

For the less mobile, there is a wealth of information, activities and fun virtual trips including an informative 360 deg virtual tour of the house, outbuildings and garden. For even more Jane Austen history the Basingstoke Heritage Society might be of interest.

You might also enjoy this interesting, non-professional virtual tour of the larger, grand old Chawton House, which was owned by Edward (one of Jane’s brothers), as well as a glimpse around Jane’s house itself.

For a huge range of Jane Austen themed products, from crockery and books to clothing and jewellery, visit the online gift shop, and the all-important tea room, Cassandra’s Cup, is directly opposite Jane Austen’s cottage. Both Jane’s mother and her sister were called Cassandra.

Back to statues, what about Mr Darcy’s statue? Well, in the film of Pride and Prejudice, Chatsworth House was used as Pemberley, Mr Darcy’s home, and they have kept Mr Darcy’s bust as a souvenir.

Jane Austen’s House can be found on Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton GU34 1SD, telephone 01420 83262

Milestones Museum

What an amazing experience this was! Milestones Museum is described as Hampshire’s museum of living history, giving you the opportunity to discover how people lived in the area from early Victorian times to more recent decades. It is a huge and truly fantastic place, one of the surprises to us being how many of the antique items on display are things that we’re still using today.

Explore the network of tram-lined cobbled streets with life-size scenes in faithfully re-created homes, shops and factories. Immerse yourself in life from bygone eras, all enhanced by the demonstrators dressed in authentic period costumes who will explain and act out the activities on display. There are far too many exhibits to mention, but we loved just exploring the streets and absorbing life as it used to be.

Exhibits include great collections of teddy bears, household gadgets and vintage vehicles, and for a bit of nostalgic fun take a walk down the Milestones Pier and Penny Arcade. In the shop you can pick up mementos of your visit to take home, from toys to games, gifts and historic coin collections

When you have exhausted all there is to see and fancy a sit down with some refreshments, there’s a great choice available. The Rooftop Café, on the upper level overlooking some of the displays, serves light meals, sandwiches, ice cream and more, or if you fancy something stronger why not pop into The Baverstock Arms for a pint. At weekends and during school holidays, drinks, cakes and snacks are available from the Vintage Tea Tent, or if you have a sweet tooth why not pick up your 1940s sweet ration at Abrahams Sweet Shop.

Entry tickets can be booked online or in person, but they are valid for a year so, come rain or shine, you can go back and enjoy the exhibits time and again. Disabled people can take a carer in with them free of charge. The tickets will also allow entry to some of the various historically themed events and exhibitions held throughout the year.

Your elderly friend or relative will love the opportunity to re-live “the good old days”, and for the children it is a great fun learning opportunity, so why not make Milestones Museum an outing for all the generations.

Milestones is located about a mile west of Basingstoke town centre, at Basingstoke Leisure Park, Churchill Way West, Basingstoke RG22 6PG, telephone 01256 639 550

The Vyne

The Vyne is such a great place to visit, whatever the weather.  You’ll be captivated by the history, the exquisite grounds & gardens, the bird hide, and the wetlands and woodlands.

The Vyne is a Grade 1 listed country house, originally built in the Tudor style in the early 1500s for William Sandys, Lord Chamberlain to King Henry VIII. After the Civil War, ownership passed to the Chute family, who reduced it in size and transformed it into a more classical style, and subsequently bequeathed it to the National Trust in 1956.

During the Second World War, the house was used to accommodate schoolboys evacuated from their boarding school in Kent. In 1964 the horror mystery film The Black Torment was filmed at The Vyne; the film, described as a typical sixties horror film, depicts a lord returning to his manor with his new wife to find local suspicion that he committed several recent murders.

Take a tour around the mansion and soak up the fascinating history of this significant historical site. The house comes with it’s very own chapel too, which is still in the original Tudor style. If the weather’s good, why not also take advantage of the 13 acres of beautiful gardens, encompassing the formal stone gallery gardens with summerhouse and beautiful herbaceous borders, to the walled garden, fruit trees and the wild garden.

The Brewhouse is the name of the great little restaurant where you can get a hot drink and a slice of cake or a light lunch.  The gift shop, in a former coach house, is right opposite and is stocked with local produce as well as items common to other National Trust venues.

Visits can be booked online. If you can’t get out in person to experience this historic mansion, take a narrated virtual video tour of the Vyne house and grounds (use the circular navigation tool in the top left corner of the screen to look up, down, left & right)

The Vyne is to be found just north of Basingstoke on Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke RG24 9HL, telephone 01256 883 8858

Isn’t it great to have a reason to go out and learn something! Taking your elderly loved one out for a historic outing could not only be a great way for them to get out and do something really interesting, but a great opportunity for you and your family to have an absorbing historical experience.

Our highly acclaimed relationship based care services could include taking your elderly loved one out for many more opportunities to discover local history, enjoy a bit of nostalgia or just get out of the house.

For more information please give us a ring on 01256 840 660 or email us on [email protected]