Local history and heritage
This 10-acre site features the ruins of England’s largest Tudor residence, which was home to William Paulet, the first Marquis of Winchester. Serving as a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War, the house and its inhabitants held out against a lengthy siege, until the Parliamentarians razed the house to the ground in October 1645. The site is internationally renowned and the remains of the various buildings, which continue to be excavated, provide a rich educational resource. After a successful Heritage Lottery Fund award, the site was renovated.
Basing House receives grant funding from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
For further details visit the Basing House webpage on Hampshire Cultural Trust website or contact 01256 463965.
Basing House Visitor Centre, Basing Grange, The Street, Old Basing, Basingstoke, Hampshire
Highclere Castle was once the home of the 5th Earl of Carnavon, famous for his excavations in the Valley of the Kings with Howard Carter in 1922. Many Egyptian artefacts are housed in a permanent exhibition in the basement; however the interiors and furnishings of Highclere Castle reflect the influence of successive generations of the family since the early 18th century. This, the largest country house in Hampshire, is a really grandiose affair, with turrets at the angles and a huge pinnacled tower in the centre. It is not by chance that the facade of the completed structure, with its pinnacles and carvings, is reminiscent of the Houses of Parliament. The architect, Sir Charles Barry, built both properties simultaneously using his unique Anglo-Italian style. Of the two buildings, he much preferred Highclere Castle.
The castle is the setting for the successful series, Downton Abbey.
Highclere Castle, Highclere Park, Newbury, RG20 9RN
Stratfield Saye House
The magnificent estate at Stratfield Saye was the reward for the first Duke of Wellington on his heroic return from the Battle of Waterloo. The house, built of mellow gold stonework, dates from around 1630. Later additions, including the two outer wings and conservatory, were colour-blended to match the original construction. The Hall houses an amazing display of items, including busts of Wellington and Napoleon and paintings depicting the events at Waterloo and the Peninsular War. In the Ice House paddock is the grave of Copenhagen, Wellington’s favourite charger. It is marked by a headstone and a turkey oak, grown from an acorn planted when the horse was buried.
For further details visit Stratfield Saye house website or contact 01256 882694.
The Estate Office, Stratfield Saye, Hampshire, RG7 2BT
Only minutes from the busy commercial centre of Basingstoke, The Vyne provides a welcome oasis of peace and inspiration. The house is set in 13 acres of attractive gardens with lakeside and woodland walks, spectacular herbaceous borders and a variety of colourful perennial beds.
This outstanding mansion offers a fascinating insight into 400 years of country house history. It contains a panelled long gallery and a display of Renaissance glass in the Chapel. The restored summerhouse opened to visitors for the first time in 2002.
For further information about opening times and admission fees visit The Vyne website or contact 01256 883858.
Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG24 9HL
Silchester Roman Town
The Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum, now called Silchester, is one of the most important heritage sites in the country.
The site was established by the Atrebates, a local Iron Age tribe, just before the Roman invasion. The occupying forces then built a considerable settlement with temples, an amphitheatre and even an early Christian church. Unlike most large Roman towns in Britain, it was completely abandoned in the 5th century, making this a truly remarkable site. Excavation is on-going and annual digs continue to unearth a range of treasures.
The complete circuit of the Roman Town Walls and the ruins of the amphitheatre are open to visitors all year round. Find more details by visiting the Silchester Roman Town website
The novelist Jane Austen was born in 1775 at Steventon where she lived until she was 25. She drew her inspiration for Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility from her life in Hampshire.
Steventon Church, where Austen worshipped, is also the grave-site of her brother and his wives. The Jane Austen Society of North America paid for the refurbishment of the church bells in January 1995 and a plaque recognises their support.
Jane attended regular balls at Basingstoke's Assembly Rooms, above the old Town Hall in the Market Place. Demolished in 1832, this stood on what is now open ground next to Lloyds Bank.
For more information please visit our Jane Austen page.
The borough is home to many churches. St. Swithin’s Church at Nately Scures dates from the Norman period and the Church of St. James at Bramley contains significant thirteenth century murals depicting the murder of Thomas Becket. St. Michael’s Church in the town centre dates back to the early sixteenth century and narrowly escaped serious damage during the Second World War.
Sandham Memorial Chapel
This red-brick chapel was built in the 1920s for the artist Stanley Spencer to fill with murals inspired by his experiences in the First World War.
Influenced by Giotto’s Arena Chapel in Padua, Spencer took five years to complete what is arguably his finest achievement. The chapel is set amidst lawns and orchards with views across Watership Down. As there is no lighting in the chapel, it is best to view the paintings on a bright day.
Harts Lane, Burghclere, near Newbury, Hampshire RG20 9JT
Whitchurch Silk Mill
South-east of Basingstoke and situated on Frog Island in the River Test, the small market town of Whitchurch offers a wonderfully unique attraction. Whitchurch Silk Mill is the last working mill of its kind in the south of England and was originally used to produce silk for Burberry raincoats and legal gowns.
It now functions as a working museum, making silks for interiors and costume dramas. Open throughout the year, visitors can watch the working waterwheel, hear the late 19th century looms weaving silk and view the costume exhibitions. The riverside garden is particularly pleasant for coffee and home-made cakes from the Mill's cafe. And you can buy silk produced at the Mill from the gift shop.
Whitchurch Silk Mill receives grant funding from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Whitchurch Silk Mill, 28 Winchester Street, Whitchurch, Hants, RG28 7AL.
Follow the Basingstoke Town Trail and discover more about the town's history, from Domesday to the modern day.
This is a self-guided walk of the town centre, starting at 800-year old Market Place, the Historic Heart of Basingstoke. The full walk lasts approximately 90 minutes, although this can be followed in smaller sections.
Further information on the town trail, including a map is available below. Alternatively, paper copies of the walk are available from the Willis Museum and the council offices.
Points of interest and a trail has also been developed on the free TrailTale app, available for Apple and Android smartphones. Simply pick your starting point, choose your walk and away you go. More information can be found at http://www.trailtale.co.uk/
Discover more about Basingstoke’s history and heritage from Love Basingstoke.