Including coastal walks, river walks and woodland walks in Hampshire.
Hampshire is stunning, there’s no denying that and sometimes it’s nice to visit somewhere off the beaten track. These 9 walks in Hampshire offer everything a family needs from rivers, country pubs, beautiful parks and rich history. It’s no wonder we all love living here – I know I do!
If you’re looking for other day out ideas then have a look at:
Walks in Hampshire
We asked other local parents about their favourite places to walk in Hampshire, which may not be quite so well-known.
Lakeside Country Park
Lakeside is off of Wide Lane in Eastleigh. There is plenty of free parking and it was a cafe and toilets. They also have a small train that runs around the country park (charges do apply.)
There’s two or three ways you could walk but we normally go to the left through the second gate. This takes you through a small forest of trees that are on the outer ring of the country park.
This path also takes you to the small play park at the back of the country park to your right or to the huge lake which would be on your left.
There are loads of places to have a picnic and it’s great if your kids love to spot wildlife. The paths are stony but are ok for pushchairs and bikes.
This long stretch of path goes from The White Swan pub in Mansbridge right up and through Bitterne Park.
There are plenty of places you can park for free which include The White Swan pub and the actual Riverside Park which is right next to Woodmill and the Outdoor Discovery Center.
This car park can get busy in the summer as it’s right next to the Pitch and Putt plus has the Skate Park directly across from it.
Don’t let this put you off though! Whichever way you decide to walk you will encounter a nice flat path that is perfect for kids bikes and scooters with flat grass side by side.
The river is a great place to spot all the local wildlife including ducks and swans. There’s two great children’s play parks either end with loads of benches on the way.
Telegraph Woods is located in Telegraph Road in West End, Southampton. Parking is on the road and is free! There’s so many ways you can walk. We started by walking along the main path through the middle of the woods.
If you turn to the right then you’ll find a hill that takes you deeper into the woods. Turning left into the trees takes you down further by the pond which, in the summer, is covered with lily pads. Keep walking further down and you’ll find the Ages Bowl peaking through the trees too.
This stretch of waterfront leads on to Victoria Country Park if you keep following the road. It provides a long flat path that runs alongside a pebble beach. Bring the kids scooters or bikes and enjoy a two-mile or so walk that includes a lovely small outside cafe and benches.
There is two free car parks on site and plenty of on-road parking that gives you direct access to the beach. It’s a great place to watch the cruise ships or other big liners sail away from.
Itchen Valley Country Park
A start drive from the center of town, Itchen Valley Country Park has everything you need for a great day out. Bring a picnic and park in one of the five car parks (parking charges apply.)
Walk-in one direction and enjoy the huge field that also hosts a playground and woods that are waiting to be explored.
The other way hosts a smaller park with a cafe and toilets.
River Hamble Country Park
Bring the fishing nets and enjoy the huge river that spans the country park. This is a great place to play, have a picnic and explore the surrounding forest. There’s a great playground, cafe and toilets on-site too.
Southampton Common Country Park
This lovely common just outside of the main city is a green getaway. Parking can be found throughout the outer rim of the country park. It’s perfect for bikes, prams and those with limited mobility as the paths are all paved. The country park has a cafe and toilets near the playground plus a huge amount of space for the whole family to explore.
Royal Victoria Country Park
Right on Netley seafront, this country park has everything you need for a fun day trip out for the whole family. Enjoy the seaside views from the stony beach or play on one of the three massive green fields. It has a huge adventure playground, a steam train and a great little cafe with toilets on site.
Lepe Country Park
This country park has a huge car park right by the seafront. It is a stony beach at the start but if you keep walking then it starts to become sand. If you catch the tide right then you can walk out a long way into the sea. They have a great cafe as well as toilets on site.
Manor Farm Country Park
Based on the other side of Southampton, Manor Farm isn’t just a country park but a working farm as well. This is a great rural family day out that shows the inner workings a Victorian farm.
There is a charge to visit the farm but you get to learn how the farm is run including how the Victorians lived by visiting the on-site school, cottage and forge.
The country park surrounding the farm is just as fun too. Park up and walk one of the many paths and see how much wildlife we really do have in Southampton.
Hamble Spy Mission Treasure Trail
This is a self-guided tour through Hamble. It takes about two-hours to go around the whole tour which is about 2-miles.
The trail is a great way to explore Hamble as you’ve never seen it before. You can buy the booklet for the official trail website which does give you clues and ideas for things to do for as you go.
We have done this trail but have also made up our own circular route.
Start at the top of the village and explore everything Hamble has to offer you as a family. There’s loads of great picnic spots as well.
Romsey Mystery Treasure Trail
This is a trail that takes you through this old city. You can do this at your own pace and really have some family fun. If you decide to buy the trail map off the website then it comes as a Murder Mystery. It’s perfect for kids six-years-old and up and takes about 2-hours to complete.
The Southampton Treasure Hunt Trail
Like the two above, this is a hunt that takes you through the old city of Southampton. This is self-guided and shows you the old walls and buildings of this great city. It’s not very assailable though as there’s loads of stairs and small walk ways.
Old Town Southampton
This can be guided or self guided. You’ll be surprised where the old walls can take you. Many of the old buildings have arrows and signs that lead you on to the next building.
Start at the Bargate at walk the old paths towards the ancient monuments, Georgian houses and medieval churches. Don’t forgot to walk along the old walls too.
The Outdoor Sports Center
Based near Bassett in Southampton, this huge outdoor space has big fields and small hills that are perfect for running around.
Parking is at the top of the hill but it’s free to use. All the paths are paved as via the huge hill at the start, the rest is flat and perfect for bikes and scooters or anyone with mobility issues.
There’s toilets by the tennis courts, plenty of space for a picnic or games and if your kids are older, have a look at the Active Nation website as they offer a range of sports during the summer months including dry skiing.
Keep walking to the back of the park and you’ll come across The Pleasure Park, which hosts small kids rides for very low prices. Our favorite is the huge wavy slide.
There’s a playground by The Pleasure Park too which is gated.
Beachlands (Hayling Island)
This pebble beach is eight kilometers long on the western end of the seafront. With everything Hayling Island has to offer, Beachlands also includes a fairground and amusement arcades close by.
During the summer months dogs are restricted so please see the council website for updates.
Hayling Island Beach
This lovely beach has over 3 miles of shingle beach that is perfect for the whole family. It’s a great place for swimming as when the tide goes out it goes a long way so it’s really shallow.
You do have to pay for parking but there is a great cafe and toilets on-site.
This pebble beach isn’t well know but is great on a sunny day to enjoy the coast. It can be a bit steep at times but is great for a walk along the seafront.
If you keep walking then you come to the promenade which has shops and cafes.
This beach is park sand, part shingle. It’s great for older kids to surf as it can get a bit windy. There’s loads of local facilities though including cafes and picnic areas.
Walks in East Hampshire
Holly Hill Woodland Park
Holly Hill is a woodland park in Fareham near Portsmouth. There are toilets at the top of the main car park, which is on Barnes Close.
You can take a picnic as there are loads of benches or places to lay a rug.
Depending on how long you would like to walk, you can pick a trail that takes you through the enchanted forest, over bridges and stepping stones.
Porcester Castle is in Church Lane in Portchester. There are two small car parks that do get busy in the summer months so go early if you can.
The castle is surrounded by the sea and it’s a great place to spot incoming boats.
Inside the castle grounds, which are free to enter, are two huge fields. This is a great place to find hidden stones (they have a great Facebook page here) and let your kids run off some steam.
Their cafe is great and they do have public toilets on site.
Southsea Sea Front
Southsea Sea Front is a great if your family want to go scootering or for a bike ride on a flat surface. Opposite the Seafront there is a huge green field that hosts a great playground as well as a great space for picnics and games.
Walk along the seafront a bit more and you’ll come to the lighthouse and Henry 8th Fort that the kids can walk around. The fields this side are hilly but they are great to stand atop to watch the incoming ships come in.
Wherever you park along the seafront you have to pay but they do have toilets either end of the piers and plenty of places to sit down if the kids get tired.
All the paths are flat and there’s so many ways you can go!
Waggoners wells is a National Trust area located in Grayshott, East Hampshire. With its 3 stunning lakes which run into one another via manmade waterfalls and rivers, a vast amount of woodland and walks that are perfect for families and dog walkers alike, it is the ideal place to spend on a Sunday afternoon.
It is free to park and walk around, just make sure you take your spare coins to make a wish in the well! Also, pack a change of clothes and your wellies during the wetter months because there are just so many parts for your kids to scramble around, like on the exposed roots on a bank going up to the woods, parts of the river to jump in and the walkways can get very muddy. Unfortunately, there are no facilities here so make sure you take snacks and water with you.
Titchfield Haven Country Park
This little country park is has parking on-site with a small cafe and toilets. Enjoy the long grass, the lake and the tall trees that are great to spot wildlife.
The Alver Valley Country Park
Full of lovely wild flowers and sweeping trees, this country park has a great playground. Take a walk and see how much of the local wildlife you can see. It is a bit stony but great for walks with the whole family.
Staunton Country Park
Staunton Country Park has loads to offer the family of different ages. They have a working farm, beautiful gardens and glasshouses that are a real sight to see. Parking is close but there is a short walk to the entrance.
Queen Elizabeth Country Park
This country park lies within the South Downs National Park. It offers loads of family fun into loads of walks, cycle paths and playgrounds. Car parking charges do apply but it’s a great day out for the whole family.
This is a huge flat area in Emsworth that is great for a family walk. Spot wildlife in the long grass and have a picnic too.
Emsworth Mill Pond
This pond is great if the kids want to see the wild pond life or the ducks. You can do a circular walk in the high grass which is great for the whole family. Wear wellies when wet though as it can get a bit flooded at times.
Warsash Local Nature Reserve
With over 500 acres of land, Warsash Local Nature Reserve is great for all ages. It’s a pretty flat walk. It is 1.5km in length and can take about an hour to complete. All the paths are flat so great for buggies and bikes. You can find Warsash Local Nature Reserve at Warsash Common SO31 9SB.
Just under 35 hectares, Swanwick Lakes is a great place to visit in the summer months. Swanwick Lakes has grazing animals all year round and has paths that are great for buggies. It does get muddy in the winter months though. You can find Swanwick Lakes at Sopwith Way, Swanwick, Hampshire, SO31 7AY.
Overlooking Portsmouth, Portsdown Hill is a great place for a family walk. It’s a high hill that needs wellies in the winter and isn’t good for buggies but is great fun to climb.
Wickham Water Meadows
This is a lovely area close to the town that Wickham that you can have a picnic and a walk around. Take the kids and enjoy a day out at these water meadows. You can find Wickham Water Meadows at Fareham Rd, Wickham, Fareham PO17 5DE.
The Forest of Bere
This is a great loop around the beautiful countryside. The trail is about 3-miles long through the stunning forest. Look out for the wildlife that calls this forest it’s home. You can find The Forest of Bere at West Walk, Hundred Acres Road, Wickham, PO17 6JD.
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Walks in North Hampshire
Black Dam Ponds (Basingstoke)
This has lovely flat and wide pathways that are perfect for scooters and bikes. Enjoy the pond while having a lovely picnic on the lush green fields. This is a great walk for younger families who need to be kept amused.
Crabtree Plantation (Basingstoke)
This is a great place to fly your kites while blowing off steam. This wide open space is great for bike riding or kicking a football around with the kids.
Eastrop Park (Basingstoke)
Just a short walk away from Festival Place this park has everything a family could need including a huge play park, woods, flat paths and a pond for the whole family to enjoy.
River Itchen (Winchester)
Running through the city of Winchester is the River Itchen. As it leaves the city it passes by St. Catherines Hill and continues onto Southampton. You can follow it via different trails and each are just as interesting as the others.
As I said, you can head towards St.Catherines Hill (also a great place for the kids) and follow it along the footpath here, past St.Catherines Wheel and up to the viaduct. You could also enjoy sitting by it on the opposite side of the road where there is a large green area with tennis courts.
This is a popular spot in the summer and the river provides the best way to cool off on a hot day. I have seen people bring their inflatables down to enjoy the summer in a typically British fashion! A little further down the road is a more secluded walkway which I only discovered myself just last year.
The path runs parallel to the one at St.Catherine’s Hill and eventually brings you to The Church of the Hospital of St.Cross. There are free roaming cows here so do be cautious with your smaller children. However, just around the side of the church you could set up a picnic on the grassy area and enjoy soaking up some of the history that this city has to offer.
Selborne is probably best known for Gilbert White’s House but hidden away between the Selborne Arms and houses is a wooded pathway to the most fun walk I used to take as a child– The Zig Zag.
The path zig-zags, as you can probably gather from its name, but as you take each step and gradually get higher above the quaint village (and more out of breath!) it is most definitely worth it, the views from the top are amazing! From here you can choose to either walk back down or to investigate the surrounding woodlands which can also lead you back down to the car park.
Farley Mount (Winchester)
On the downs, a few miles west of Winchester lies Farley Mount Country Park. This is a large area of open countryside and woods, including chalk down grassland, Forestry Commission plantation and the Ancient woodland Nature Reserve, Crabwood. Here you will find plenty of trails, wooden play areas hidden within the trees, den building and beautiful wildlife to take in. There are plenty of areas to park up and at and walk from so you may want to do a little research prior to visiting so you can pick the perfect spot for you and your family.
Opposite the very popular Queen Elizabeth Country Park lies one of the highest points in Hampshire, Butser Hill. It provides a lovely walk for the whole family and even though it may feel like a bit of a steep climb, once you reach the top the views are completely worth it. On a clear day, you will be able to see for miles, possibly even to the sea. Coming back down is great fun for the kids, you cannot resist a little bit of hill rolling and running!
Butser and its surrounding areas sit on Ancient land which brings a lot of interest to its history, in its spirituality as well as scientific investigation. If you wanted to make a day of being in this area and are intrigued about finding out more you could also visit the nearby Ancient Farm too. There is a charge for this attraction and opening times do depend on the time of year but it is a brilliant place to take the children and it will really help to get them interested in local history.
- The Ultimate Guide to Things to do in Southampton With Kids
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Walks in West Hampshire
This small, quiet village which overlooks the Solent is part of the larger Keyhaven Nature Reserve, which spans almost 500 acres of land. With mudflats and salt marshes, it is a haven for wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for Barn Owls, brown hares, a variety of birds and rodents. There are plenty of trails to follow and so much to explore, however, do bear in mind that the village has no shops but there are a couple of sailing clubs and a pub.
Fordingbridge River and Playground
Fordingbridge is a small, riverside town in the New Forest. The River Avon runs through it which provides plenty of beautiful walks and sights, but as we are looking for gems that the kids will also like, I have been told about a great playground they would adore. The park includes a large play area, climbing frame, skate park, grass areas to play on and even a paddling pool. There is also a riverside kiosk located nearby so you don’t need to worry about packing too much up for the day.
Bolderwood Arboretum is on Ornamental Drive that leads from the A35. It’s got a huge car park and toilets close by.
If you go through the gate and follow the path it leads you down to a viewing around were you should be able to see some wild deer roaming throughout the forest.
Keep walking down and you come across a light stream and a few small ponds.
The path is a bit hilly and if it’s been raining you may need wellies. Saying that though, it’s fine for pushchairs and bikes.
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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