Known as the birthplace of Jane Austen, Basingstoke is a characterful country town in the heart of Hampshire, home to family-friendly museums and iconic English attractions. Explore the magnificent Winchester Cathedral and handsome Highclere Castle.
Things to do
Experience the enchanting "Sitting with Jane" public art trail, which celebrates the life and legacy of the beloved British novelist. The trail features 24 "book benches" located in and around Basingstoke. All have been beautifully decorated by local artists.
The entire family will love the Milestones Museum, a living history attraction run by the Hampshire Cultural Trust. Inside you'll find a labyrinth of cobbled streets lined with beautifully recreated Victorian buildings. You can admire antique cars, stock up on sweets at a vintage candy store and enjoy a pint at a traditional English tavern.
Downton Abbey fans should visit Highclere Castle, a grand country estate located just outside the Basingstoke town centre. Tours offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the handsome Jacobethan manor, which is known for its lavish staterooms, gleaming antiques and beautifully manicured English gardens.
Built in the 11th century, Winchester Cathedral is one of Europe's most iconic places of worship. It dazzles visitors with its magnificent Gothic facade, cavernous nave and beautifully carved medieval choir stalls. You can visit Jane Austen's grave, peer into the eerie crypt and admire the ancient Winchester Bible.
The Basingstoke town centre is easy to get around on foot, though you'll need a car to explore the Hampshire countryside. You can take advantage of fast rail connections to London, which take under one hour. The town is also serviced by a network of local buses and taxis.