5 National Trust sites in Hampshire for a perfect day out in the countryside

The October half term is here and parents will be busy thinking of ideas for keeping children occupied for the next week.

Sunday, 25th October 2020, 11:25 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 2:15 pm

Luckily the National Trust has plenty of fantastic buildings, walks and visitor attractions in Hampshire which are only a short drive away from Portsmouth.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic most sites remain open to visitors so pack a bag, get in the car and explore our gorgeous countryside!

Most sites will charge a small fee for entry but visits will be free to National Trust members. Adult prices start at £72 a year but you can save money by signing up for a family or joint membership.

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The Vyne near Basingstoke has a number of family trails which will take young adventures through its grounds. Picture: National Trust

You can sign up for a membership package here.

We have a selected a few of the Trust sites in Hampshire that are definitely worth a visit.

Make sure you check the relevant website links for the latest opening times and ticket information. Because of coronavirus some areas of National Trust sites – often indoor – may be closed currently.

The south front of Mottisfont, near Romsey, Hampshire with the parterre garden. The south front is predominantly 18th-century. Picture: national Trust

Hinton Ampner (near Alresford)

When Ralph Dutton’s home was destroyed in a catastrophic fire in 1960, he decided to rebuild it in the light and airy Georgian style he was a fan of.

The new house had a set of tranquil garden rooms, each with distinctive planting, and rooms filled with ceramics and art Dutton had collected.

Outside the house there are extensive lawns and a park with ancient woodland to have a stroll in and enjoy a picnic.

Beautiful autumn colours at Hinton Ampner. Picture: Adele Mallows

Note – Unfortunately because of the pandemic the house itself is closed to visitors, but you can still enjoy walking around the estate, garden, shop and tea room.

Where: Use S024 0NH which will take you to the Hinton Arms pub, next to the main entrance of the site.

Opening hours: Between 10am and 4pm, except the shop which opens at 11am.

Ticket prices: £8 adult, £4 children, £20 for a family.

Mottisfont (near Romsey)

This 18th century house also features ancient trees, babbling brooks and rolling lawns which are perfect for a countryside day out.

Inside the house there is a permanent 20th century art collection and exhibitions in the top floor gallery, inspired by Maud Russell who moved to Mottisfont in the 1930s and brought artists there to relax and inspire them to create works. Although the art gallery is currently closed you can explore the rest of the house when it is open.

There are also vast grounds for families to walk, play and enjoy a bite to eat in.

If you are going in June you can spot the house's world-famous collection of old-fashioned roses too!

Where: Use SO51 0LN

Opening hours: Gardens are open from 10am to 4pm, house usually opens at 11am although is often closed on weekends. Play area and Coach House Cafe are currently shut. Check the website for the most up-to-date details.

Ticket prices: £13 adults, £6.50 children, £32.50 for a family.

New Forest Commons (near East Wellow)

The New Forest Commons is teeming with wildlife to discover and you can enjoy a leisurely stroll within the varied landscape of woodland, grassland and heathland.

The National Trust looks after a series of commons within the area including Bramshaw, Foxbury, Hale Purlieu, Hightown, Rockford and Ibsley.

All of the areas are open apart from Foxbury, but make sure you get there early a there is limited space in the car parks.

Where: Follow the Omega signs – for Bramshaw use SO51 6AQ, for Hale Purlieu use SP6 2QZ, for Hightown use BH24 3HH, and for Rockford and Ibsley use BH24 3NA.

Opening hours: Dawn till dusk

The Vyne (Sherborne St John, near Basinsgtoke)

Enjoy learning about the history of this grand Tudor mansion, including an exhibition space showing off more than 500 years of history.

The 17th century family home is set in a landscape of gardens, woodlands and wetlands to explore.

A short stroll from the house will also reveal a bird hide overlooking water meadows.

Where: Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, RG24 9HL – follow brown signs as sat nav is not reliable

Opening hours: Gardens are open from 10am to 4pm, house is now reopened from 11am to 3pm

Ticket prices: £8 adults, £4 children, £20 for a family

West Green House Garden (West Green, Hartley Wintney)

This charming 18th century house is surrounded by a delightful series of walled gardens which visitors can enjoy.

There are plenty of original features in the garden including a grand water staircase, created by Marylyn Abbott, which provides the focal point to the Nymphaeum fountain.

Next to the house is a small topiary garden where you can spot water lillies, and beyond that is a handsome aviary which has unusual breeds of bantams and chickens.

Where: West Green, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, RG27 8JB

Opening hours: Garden and tea room open from 11am to 4pm. Note that the site is closed from Monday October 26 to Thursday November 5.

Ticket prices: £9 adults, £5 adults, £4 car parking

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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