Unusual Places To Visit In North Hampshire

Sometimes you just want to do something a little bit different. We've investigated five really interesting places you could take your elderly friend or loved one.

Your elderly friend or loved one will really benefit from all the social interaction, mental stimulation and exercise that you can help them get, and all the more so if you can find interesting places to go together.

Whether it is a bit of local history that will make you gasp, visiting a riding stables, getting engrossed in antiques or watching artists at work, North Hampshire can offer it.

We’ve found five unusual but surprisingly interesting destinations for you, so why not make a date and take your elderly friend for an outing with a difference!

Buried Alive At The Holy Ghost Cemetery

The story goes that poor Alice Blunden was buried alive – and not just once, but twice!

It is thought that, on 15th July 1674, Alice was probably in pain and sent her maid to the apothecary for some poppy water, which was the best pain relief available in those days. Alice, whose usual tipple was brandy, appears to have had rather too much poppy water and gone into a very deep sleep, completely incapacitated. Because she appeared to have stopped breathing, the doctor pronounced her to be dead.

Alice’s husband, William, who dealt in malt, was in London at the time and asked for her funeral to await his return. However she was a large lady and it was a hot summer, so her family decided not to wait and had her interred immediately.

Two days after her burial, muffled screams and shouts could be heard in the graveyard.  Alice’s grave was eventually opened and the poor lady was found unconscious and in a dreadful state – she was covered in blood and bruises from two days of trying to escape her tomb. She was returned to her grave overnight pending inspection by the coroner the next day. On opening the grave the next day it was evident that she had awoken again overnight and incurred further injuries trying to escape her plight. It was decided that this time she was definitely dead, so she was finally laid to rest – permanently. You can’t choose your family….

Alice is buried in the Holy Ghost Cemetery, Chapel Hill, South View, Basingstoke RG21 5TB. To visit this historic site, enter via the Chapel Hill gate and drive on for about 100 yards – there is enough space here for 3 cars to park.

In the 1950’s many headstones from around the chapels were removed, cleaned and laid as a path.  Walk along this path of names and dates which leads you to two amazing Tudor chapel ruins: the Chapel of the Holy Ghost and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity.

Over on the far side (Sherborne Road/Chapel Hill roundabout entrance), you will see a blue plaque on the wall which was erected in memory of Mrs Alice Blunden.

Support from Home Instead might have prevented this tragedy!

St Michael's Church Cottage

Adjacent to the Grade 1 listed Saint Michael’s Church is Church Cottage, an historic Grade 2 listed building and one of the oldest in town. Construction is believed to have taken place over several periods during the 16th, 17th & 18th centuries

Initially owned by William South, the building was used for weaving, dying and finishing cloth for many years.

In 1865 an infant school opened in the small barn, expanding into the larger hall in 1870. You can still see groove marks in the bricks at the entrance door, where the children used to sharpen their slate pencils.

The children moved out of church cottage and into Fairfields School in the 1880s, but the venue has remained in use for meetings, concerts, Sunday schools etc.

You can purchase a fascinating little history book of Church Cottage for just £3 from the office (on the right as you go in).

Age Concern hold a Community Café at Church Cottage every Tuesday from 10.30 to 12.30, with a Chatter and Natter table where you can socialise and get to know other people.

Basingstoke Neighbourcare hold another Community Café on Wednesdays from 10.30 to 12.00, and there is an Information and Advice Outreach Coordinator for drop-in enquiries on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

The Crown Heights Coffee Club also meets here for tea & biscuits every Thursday, from 9.00 to 12.30.

Home Instead have given presentations at Church Cottage on Scam & Fraud Awareness, the Importance of good Nutrition etc.

St Michael’s Church Cottage can be found at Church Square, Basingstoke RG21 7QW.  Telephone  01256 329528.

Wellington Riding Stables Café

What a lovely way to spend an hour or three!

The amazing Wellington Riding Stables café is open to the public. Enter the venue via automatic gates on the A33 and drive slowly down the tree-lined driveway to the café (be alert for horse riders).  Park up and access the café via the Clubhouse.

A bubbly Kate welcomed us and explained that all areas of the stables are fully accessible; they often have disabled riders in for riding lessons and events.

Inside, there are plenty of sumptuous leather couches & coffee tables as well as hard dining tables and chairs, all set out for maximum viewing pleasure.

Order a cuppa, find yourself a table and enjoy watching the horses trotting around one of the indoor arenas which are visible below.  Why not have a bite to eat while you’re there – they have a delicious selection of sandwiches, salads and hot meals.

There are also plenty of outside dining tables & chairs, offering great vantage points from which to watch over other arenas and follow any competitions or events that might be on. Details of coming events can be seen on Wellington Riding’s website.

Wellington Riding stables has seven superb arenas in all and they host many horse shows, events, trials, galas and dressage, along with a reputable riding school, holiday clubs, residential schools and livery yards.

So, stop horsing around and trot along to Wellington Riding Stables – it’s a great place to be!

Wellington Riding Stables and Café can be found off Basingstoke Road (A33), Heckfield, Hook RG27 0LJ, telephone 0118 932 6308.

White Lion Antiques

Do you enjoy watching Bargain Hunt on TV?   You can pretend to be part of the action in this large antiques centre where around 100 sellers have their wares on display.

The innocuous looking white building (an 18th century former coaching inn) now contains three floors of antique or upcycled furniture, lighting, garden paraphernalia, silverware, jewellery, retro items, vintage clothing, collectables, pictures & prints, china & glass….. and oh-so much more.   You could spend days here, looking through all the merchandise, where there is something for everyone.

To give you strength to keep looking for that special something, there’s a lovely bistro inside offering breakfast ’til 12 noon and a surprisingly wide range of tasty food, cakes and drinks at reasonable prices.  They also serve a selection of cream teas and are open for Sunday lunch.

There is ample free parking right outside the door, plus a huge car park opposite.  There is easy access to the majority of ground floor exhibits and bistro.

At Home Instead, we treasure our antiques!

White Lion Antiques can be found on the A30 London Road at Hartford Bridge, Hartley Wintney, Hook RG27 8AE, email: [email protected], telephone 01252 844 000.

The Base, Greenham Business Park

Quite aside from the lovely Honesty Group run cafeteria here, there are many diverse artists’ workshops and a great gallery to explore. Exhibits change regularly so no two visits should be the same.

The venue is fully accessible from the rear car park, where there is disabled parking and even a charge point for electric cars.

As we entered the building on the ground floor, straight ahead we found direct access to the café, and to the right were the main gallery, accessible toilets and an elevator to the first floor workshops.

Fancy yourself as an artist? There’s even a huge doodle wall where you can leave your own creative mark.

The Base is currently promoting their Summer 2023 Learning Centre, offering a range of adult workshops, courses and events. Call ahead for more info, or take a chance and see what events might be happening in the gallery.

The Base can be found at Greenham Business Park, Communications Road, Thatcham RG19 6HN, tel 01635 522 733

From ghosts to gallops, vintage treasure to modern art, there’s something for everyone around north Hampshire.

Isn’t it great to go out somewhere different and interesting! Taking your elderly loved one for a great day out is a really good way for the whole family to get some fun time together and do something you’ll remember.

And remember this:  wrinkles will only go where smiles have been (Jimmy Buffett)

Our highly acclaimed relationship based care services could include taking your elderly loved one out for many more opportunities to discover local destinations, enjoy a bit of social interaction 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]