In bygone times Basingstoke earned the unfavourable nicknames of 'Basingjoke' and 'Boringstoke'. Happily the latest revamp of Basingstoke town centre now has local kids referring to their home as 'Amazingstoke'.


On rainy days there’s a 10-screen multiplex cinema in the Festival Place shopping centre. Alternatively take the kids ten-pin bowling at Basingstoke Leisure Centre, or to Planet Ice, where you can take ice-skating lessons and book party packs.

If you feel like a bit of exercise or a good pampering session, there’s the well-equipped Basingstoke Sports Centre with two gyms, a pool and a spa. You can join as a casual or full member, and the centre provides a Crèche and Kid’s club.

Basing House, a great ruined castle left over from the civil war is a must see for all you culture vultures. Then there’s Milestones, an open-air museum that follows the city back through the Victorian era, or the Willis Museum, which contains artefacts dating back to Roman and Saxon times.

The Vyne is a fantastic National Trust 16th century house, only four miles from Basingstoke centre. It dates back to Henry VIII’s reign and incorporates an unmissable Tudor stained-glass chapel. Stop for a bite to eat in the on-site restaurant, and sample some historic Renaissance dishes.

The award-winning West Green House Garden must also be a priority on your to-do list, with its stunning herbaceous borders and ornamental maze. If you like your art take in the Sandham Memorial Chapel, with its breathtaking collection of Stanley Spencer’s visionary paintings.

On a fine day visit Wellington Country Park for a barbeque or picnic, or if you’re feeling energetic set out for the Wayfarer’s Walk. This runs through Watership Down, site of Richard Adam’s famous rabbit-themed novel. There’s also the Towpath Trail, a pleasant walk following Basingstoke canal.


The recently built shopping centre, Festival Place, has an American shopping mall feel to it. It is very modern and has all the high street names and boutiques you could wish for, plus several cafés and restaurants for the weary shopper.

Saunter along to the top of town every Saturday morning to peruse Basingstoke market. You’ll find everything there from beads to Bonsai trees, and they do some great food stalls.

Basingstoke’s famous Farmer’s Market takes place on the first Sunday of alternate months, at the top of town outside the Willis Museum. There’s always a great atmosphere and you can pick up some real bargains on local produce.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Basingstoke is home to plenty of traditional pubs and inns serving real ale and home-cooked food. There are also a couple of sports bars with widescreen TVs.

Basingstoke is fairly quiet on the clubbing scene. There is one main nightclub, Liquid, which is also situated in Festival Place. Liquid is open from Wednesdays to Sundays and plays a mixture of commercial dance and chart, R'n'B and 'old skool'.

If you fancy yourself as a thespian there's usually something worth watching at The Haymarket Theatre; for live music and comedy check out what’s on at The Anvil Theatre. Last but not least, there’s Gala Bingo in the Leisure Park for those wanting to stretch their Bingo wings!

Of course, if you’re up for something a bit more eclectic, Bristol and London are only a couple of train stops up the road.

Tourist Information

Basingstoke Tourist InformationOld Town HallMarket PlaceBasingstokeRG21 7QD


It is best to get to Basingstoke via the Bus/Rail station, or use the excellent road network. You can get to London Waterloo easily from the station, or Winchester and Bournemouth in the opposite direction. Gatwick and Heathrow are easily within reach.

All car hire locations in United Kingdom