Including stately homes and palaces
We are so lucky to have the best castles in Hampshire. Explore as many as you can throughout the county and have an amazing day out learning about all the history that follows.
Hampshire has been home to some of Britain’s most famous historic figures. Among our stately homes and huge gardens, we also have grand castles that have seen kings and queens roam their halls.
These castles and huge stately homes make for great film sets too. Did you know that Houghton Lodge is a popular overhead shot for many period dramas? Or that Highclere Castle is the main stage for Downton Abbey? Don’t forget about Jane Austen’s home at Chawton too.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to have the best day out in Hampshire.
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The best local castles near me
We have over 17 castles for you to visit throughout Hampshire. These are a mix of paid and free castles that are great for the whole family.
Our map here shows exactly where they are. You can view this map yourself here.
Known as King John’s Castle, Odiham Castle is well known for being the host of the signing of the Magna Carta. It may br in ruins now but these grounds are steeped in local history.
You can find Odiham Castle at North Warnborough, Hook, RG29 1HQ.
The Vyne House and Gardens
This huge Tudor house was built in the 16th Century by Henry VIII’s for Lord Sandys, who was his Lord Chamberlain. Many famous people have walked this red-bricked mansions hall including Jane Austen herself, Anne Boleyn, and Horace Walpole.
The gardens are huge, around 13-acres that are included in the price of the ticket. Let the kids explore this amazing home while running around the gardens.
Parking is free on-site and they have a great cafe that caters to kids, including kids’ meals and snacks. They also have loads of picnic benches throughout the grounds if you prefer to bring your own.
You can find The Vyne at Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 9HL.
With its huge gardens and sweeping windows, Mottisfont Abbey is the perfect family-friendly day out for the whole family. They offer free guided tours that are family-based so that everyone gets to fully explore these amazing grounds. Mottisford also looks after over 1000 acres of woodland that is ideal to explore.
They have picnic benches throughout the grounds and an on-site cafe that caters to everyone.
You can find Mottisfont Abbey near Romsey, SO51 0LP.
Wolvesey Castle may be in ruins now, but it’s still an amazing setting and steeped in history. It housed Philip of Spain and Mary Tudor’s wedding feast and is the ideal place for family picnics.
You can find Wolvesey Castle at College Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9NB.
Right in the center of Winchester, Winchester Cathedral is a magnificent building that is home to some big names like Jane Austen and many Saxon kings.
Charges do apply to walk around the cathedral. Being based right in the middle of city, there is loads of parking and all the paths are pushchair friendly. There are plenty of places to eat near the Cathedral or bring a picnic as there is loads of open green space too.
You can find Winchester Cathedral at 9 The Close, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9LS.
The Great Hall
Also known as Winchester Castle, The Great Hall is right in the middle of Winchester and is home to the legend of King Arther. The table has been dated as being made in the 13th or early 14th century.
The hall is free to visit and makes a great day out with the Cathedral.
You can find The Great Hall at Castle Avenue, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8U.
Owned by Jane Austen’s brother, Chawton House is the place that Jane Austen used to stroll around while creating her books. This Elizabethan manor is steeped in history and is great for the whole family who can really enjoy what life was like for Jane at the time.
Chawton House has on-site parking and huge grounds for you to explore as well.
You can find Chawton House at Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1SJ.
Explore the grounds of this amazing house. It’s been home to many famous royals and the gardens are perfect for a picnic and a run around with the kids.
It offers free parking on-site and has a cafe that caters for the whole family. Charges do apply.
You can find Basing House at Barton’s Lane, Old Basing, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 8AE.
Home to the Carnarvon family since 1679, Highclere Castle is now home to many famous shows including Downton Abbey.
Walk around these famous halls and gardens to really experience what life was like for those who really lived in this castle.
There is parking on-site and a cafe for the whole family. You can also explore the grounds while having a family picnic. This really is a day out for the whole family.
You can find Highclere Castle at Highclere, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 9RN.
Netley Abbey may be ruins, but it’s a great half-day out with the kids. Just along from Weston Shore, Netley Abbey walls still have all their 13th-century charm to share. Take the kids for a runaround and fully explore the grounds as you’ve never done before.
Parking is free of charge but is limited.
You can find Netley Abbey at 1 Abbey Hill, Netley, Southampton, Hampshire, SO31 5FB.
God’s House Tower
Great for older kids, God’s House Tower is the home to local history talks and exhibits about Southampton’s local history.
You can find God’s House Tower at Town Quay Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 2NY.
Built by Henry VIII, Calshot Castle once protected Southampton’s water from passing ships. Make sure you visit the basement, 1st-floor barracks room, and 2nd-floor gun room to get the full history of the castle. You can bring pushchairs but any of the staircases are really narrow so it’s not recommended.
You can find Calshot Castle at Calshot Road, Calshot, Southampton, SO45 1BR.
One of our personal favorites, Portchester Castle is an old fortification built by Richard II. It’s like a palace inside and gives you a real feeling of what it was like to live there.
Visiting the outside of the castle and inside the grounds are free. They have the best cafe on-site and encourage you to picnic with the family. Make sure you walk around the outside of the castle walls as the views of the Solent are eye-stopping.
You can find Portchester Castle at Castle Street, Portchester, Hampshire, PO16 9QW.
This old fort with cobbled streets is steeped in history. You can walk along the old walls starting from the pier in Southsea right down to Gunwharf Quays.
You can find the old fort at Broad Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2JE.
Built-in 1544, Southsea Castle was once a fort that protected the city. Entering the castle gives you amazing views of the coast and a real insight into castle life. The grounds that surround the castle are stunning, great for picnics or a runaround. Parking can be found throughout the city.
You can find Southsea Castle at Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO5 3PA.
Saint Mary’s Church
This amazing church stands tall and was designed just over 100 years ago. Walk around these old halls and really explore the church and its grounds.
You can find Saint Mary’s Church at Fratton Road, Portsmouth, PO1 5PA.
With almost 2000 acres of land, this stately home sits without the South Downs National Park. Make sure you explore the walls and grounds which are perfect for the whole family. The grounds are full of wildlife and home to many local creatures.
You can find Stansted Park at Rowland’s Castle, Hampshire, PO9 6DX.
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Looking over Milford-on-Sea, Hurst Castle was built by Henry VIII in 1544. It is famous for being the prison of Charles 1st and offers amazing views for the Solent.
Make sure you travel down the steps to the dungeon and travel to the East and West wings to see where the gunpowder was kept and how the soldiers lived.
What we love the best is that you can take a ride to the castle using the ferry. Getting to the castle isn’t pushchair-friendly though as it’s all shingles.
You can find Hurst Castle at Keyhaven, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 0TP.
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more ideas on things to do in Hampshire then head over to the Things To Do section here on Things To Do In Hampshire With Kids where you’ll find over 50 day out ideas in Hampshire that the whole family will enjoy. You could also pop over and follow our Facebook page here or our Hampshire days out Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on what you can do as a family in Hampshire; Days Out For The Kids in Hampshire and Cheap and Free Days Out in Hampshire.
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