Photogenic Landscapes and Historic Sites in Hampshire

Portchester Castle Netley Abbey
The Channel coast of Hampshire includes some small scenic sections, such as around Barton-on-Sea in the west, though most is not so interesting, and/or developed, consisting largely of long beaches backed by dunes, fields or marshy areas. Inland, Hampshire contains nearly all of New Forest National Park, about a third of South Downs National Park, and a small part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but, like most of the southern English counties, there are no especially wild or rugged areas. The southern half is low lying land, a mix of woods and grassland upon clayish soils, while the northern reaches are higher, underlain by chalk.

The county town, Winchester, contains one of the finest, and largest cathedrals in Europe, next to the ruins of an ancient fortified palace (Wolvesey Castle), used by the bishops. The other most extensive religious ruined buildings are Bishop's Waltham Palace, Netley Abbey and Titchfield Abbey, while the best of around ten castles with at least some visible remains are Hurst, Odiham and Portchester. Hampshire has one renowned Roman site, the walled city of Silchester, but no major Prehistoric remnants.


Calshot Castle - small, circular coastal fort, built by Henry VIII; later damaged and restored

Hurst Castle - small fort in a remote location beside the coast, one of several constructed by Henry VIII

Odiham Castle
Odiham Castle
Minor but photogenic castle ruins in a rural, riverside location; built by King John early in the 13th century

Rating: ★★★★★
Portchester Castle
Portchester Castle
Historic castle right on the coast of Portsmouth Harbour, enclosed by the full-height walls of a 3rd century Roman fort

Rating: ★★★★

Southsea Castle - coastal fort on Portsea Island, built in 1544 by Henry VIII, and later modified several times

Winchester Castle - intact great hall and some minor ruins from one of the most prominent early Norman castles

Wolvesey Castle - fortified palace, originally the residence of the Bishops of Winchester; major remnants are the curtain walls and the chapel


, and other major churches

Romsey Abbey - a former Benedictine monastery, now the largest parish church in the county; built in the 12th century

Winchester Cathedral - huge, Gothic-style building, amongst the largest cathedrals in Europe; some parts are from the 11th century

Roman Sites

Site of a Roman city, abandoned around the 6th century, still surrounded by walls up to 15 feet tall; also contains the remains of a large amphitheatre

Rating: ★★★★★

Ruined Abbeys

, and other old religious buildings

Beaulieu Abbey - relics from a major Cistercian monastery, parts of which were incorporated into a mansion, still inhabited

Bishop's Waltham Palace - atmospheric, quite substantial remains of a 12th century moated palace, destroyed after the Civil War

Netley Abbey
Netley Abbey
Large, well preserved, 13th century monastery near Southampton Water, later converted to a Tudor mansion

Rating: ★★★★★

Southwick Priory - foundations and one large wall fragment from an Augustinian priory established in 1133

Titchfield Abbey - imposing mansion built on the site of a 13th century abbey, including a fine Tudor gatehouse

Map of Featured Hampshire Locations