A large town in the north of the county of Hampshire, Basingstoke is viewed as a major commuter town for people working in London to the north and Southampton to the south. However, in recent years, Basingstoke has come into its own as a retail and leisure destination for people throughout the south of England, owing to its large shopping centre.
Basingstoke is also within easy reach of the South Downs National Park while, south of the redeveloped part of the centre, there is an interesting market town which offers a change of pace from the air-conditioned mall. Basingstoke also has a growing cultural quarter which has cinemas, theatres and bars where you can while away evening after evening.
In one of the most car-friendly towns in the region, a hatchback should be fine for all kinds of driving in and around Basingstoke, whether in town or on the M3.
Basing House is one of the moist historically interesting sites in the town. Formerly a major Tudor palace, it was destroyed during the Civil War, but some fascinating ruins remain. It’s at the heart of the village of Old Basing.
The Willis Museum in the older part of the town centre is worth a visit. With entry being free of charge, you can learn about how Basingstoke has developed through the centuries from a small village to a modern town.
If shopping is something you have in mind, you must visit Festival Place. With well over 100 shops, it’s one of the largest shopping centres in the South of England while there are also plenty of places to sit down to lunch or dinner.
As the largest cultural venue in the town, The Anvil is a major arts centre which has, among other things, a large theatre where plays and live music are regularly staged. The Anvil also has a smaller auditorium for use by local musicians and troupes.
Basingstoke oHhas one large park and ride facility, although parking is ample near Festival Place and in the older part of town.
The M3 motorway is the easiest route going into and out of the town, although traffic can be heavy here during weekday mornings.
Alençon Link, the road connecting the train station with the town centre, is pretty narrow and often where many buses stop, sometimes creating a bottleneck for traffic.
Southampton Airport is the nearest to Basingstoke, being 25 miles southeast of the town centre. It has plenty of flights to destinations throughout Europe and the rest of the UK; although it gets busier in the summer months when demand from passengers tends to peak.
To get there, you should take the M3 southbound towards the M27 south of Eastleigh. Then, turn east onto the M227 and at junction 5, drive onto the A335. Then, you‚Äôre at the airport.