Located in the north of Hampshire County, the lovely town of Basingstoke is steeped in history, old buildings, quaint churches and pleasant countryside.
The highlight of the town is the ruins of England’s last castle, Basing House. The stately fortification was once the biggest private house in the whole of England and the palace was home to William Paulet, who was officially known as the Marquess of Winchester. The impressive banks of the castle still tower over the ruins and date from the Norman times. The castle was taken by Oliver Cromwell and was almost completely destroyed; however the north wing of the New House still stands tall. The grounds are perfect for families and a stroll through the restored Jacobean Garden will feel extremely refreshing.
There is a lot more history on hand in Basingstoke. The Roman occupation of the town is demonstrated by the site of a villa on the north bank of the River Loddon, and several other places where pottery and coins have been found. Many of the archaeological finds have been housed at the excellent Willis Museum. You will find other attractions in the town such as the Milestones Museum, The Vyne National Trust property, Upton Grey Manor House and Garden, Stratfield Saye House and the quaint Chapel of the Holy Ghost.
Modernization had led to an improvement in the quality and variety of Basingstoke’s accommodation and restaurants, as well as its nightlife. High Street is the center of the town’s night scene with plenty of quality bars, restaurants and cafes.
Walkers and cyclists will love the wide range of recreational opportunities available in the city. There is two challenging, but time consuming, historical roads in the area – the Basingstoke Canal Path, which follows the Towpath Trail and the Wayfarers Walk, leading through the heart of Hampshire. Families can head for the vast Wellington Country Park or alternatively take a beautiful riverside walk along the banks of the River Loddon, past the former manor fish ponds and across the Canal Bridge over the old Loddon to Basingstoke Canal.