6 Great Parks and Gardens to explore in Central Hampshire

We have listed six of our favourite parks and gardens in central Hampshire as a starting point for exploration so soak up the sun and discover the great outdoors

There’s nothing like the great outdoors, in fact, Mind, the mental health charity, cites just some of the benefits of venturing out of the house as improving your mood, reducing stress, improving physical health, confidence and reducing loneliness. However, exploring solo can feel daunting, especially if you are a senior and not familiar with the local area.

To help, we have listed six of our favourite parks and gardens in central Hampshire as a starting point for exploration. Soak up the sun and discover the great outdoors with your senior friends and loved ones and let us know which of the parks and gardens we’ve listed below is your favourite.

Farley Mount Country Park

Named after the local hill (Farley Mount), this country park has a rather unique monument dedicated to the famous stallion ‘Beware Chalk Pit’. The racing horse, which survived a fall into a chalk pit with its owner, went on to become a racing champion. The monument is rather eye-catching, large, white, and imposing, those that venture up towards it will be able to take in the stunning views of the Country Park.

In the sunny weather, it’s an ideal location for a picnic; exploring the woodlands is another great source of entertainment for those wishing to discover some local wildlife. There is also a cycle route with a map available on visit Hampshire. With several car parks, it’s an easy location to access and enjoy.

Cranbury Park

A stunning, stately, grade 1 listed home formerly owned by Sir Isaac Newton and then the Chamberlyane family, who still own the house and the surrounding parkland these areas are not often open to the public (although it is worth keeping an eye out for open days). However, the surrounding areas and public walkways are beautiful.

Rich in countryside ambience, with birds, woodlands, and open spaces are the epitome of English countryside. With several parking spaces nearby, it’s worth a ramble around to admire the beautiful architecture of the house itself from afar, use the public footpath starting at the bottom of Boyatt Lane and if you have the time, visit and admire the picturesque Allbrook Lakes. There are usually a few ducks hanging around if you fancy taking some bread to feed them.

Lakeside Country Park

Just south of Eastleigh, home to the Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway is the Lakeside Country Park. In total there are 22 hectares to enjoy, with a combination of lakes, woodland, and meadows. A lovely spot for a picnic, it’s also so beautiful that if you fancy yourself an artist it would be well worth taking some paints or watercolours down with you. Not only is the park stunning, but it’s also home to a host of different wildlife, with a range of birds, deer, foxes, and other small mammals to enjoy – and perhaps most excitingly, there are some bats around!

An idyllic retreat, with no obligation to walk a long trail if you are less mobile, enjoy a quiet ramble and take in the beauty of nature in this tranquil, magnificent Country Park.

Itchen Valley Country Park

We can’t fail to mention one of the more famous Country Parks in Hampshire, Itchen Valley. With Meadows, woodlands and of course the River Itchen, it is spread over 440 acres and has been recognised with ten Green Flags Awards.  With its own visitors’ centre, café and BBQ facilities for hire, it is teeming with facilities and things to offer for all ages. Itchen Valley Country Park is an ideal spot for a family gathering with a variety of entertainment available such as ‘go-ape’ the treetop adventure course, indoor and outdoor play areas for children, and cycling and horse-riding trails.  Currently, it is undergoing a £3.3 million transformation and it will be interesting to see what changes they make to the Country Park during this time.

Colden Common Recreation Ground

Colden Common Recreation Ground is situated just off the B3354, with parking and three tennis courts, unlike the other mentions on this list this isn’t a large country park. But it has a charming picnic area to be enjoyed as well as a children’s playground making it a perfect day out for the family.

Although not extensive in terms of woodlands or lakes, the recreation ground is charming, and still a decent walk if you are looking to get your steps in. It’s a large, open space and usually has families with young children playing ball games and enjoying the space. Colden Common made this list because it is accessible, a lovely walk and a nice opportunity to be social and meet some fellow walkers.

Abbey Gardens

These beautiful, well-kept gardens are ideal for flower lovers looking to admire a more traditional style English Garden, with flower beds and a somewhat tamed version of nature. Seeped in history, Abbey Gardens are the gardens of Abbey House, built in 1751 and eventually bought by Winchester City Council in 1890. They have a children’s’ to entertain little ones, this small public park is open daily to welcome visitors.

Again, like Colden Common, Abbey Gardens are slightly less intimidating inside if you are hesitant about embarking on a longer walk, this would be more suited to you. It is also fairly level underfoot.

The display of colourful blooms is always a treat, so mark in your diary that this particular spot is best viewed in Spring or summer when the blossoming buds are in full swing and the gardens are at their best.