BasingstokeBasingstoke is a town in Hampshire. It has been around as a market town since the Domesday Book, but was developed as a 'new town', one of several constructed in the 1950s to accommodate overspill population from London. Throughout the 70s and 80s it was often considered a joke 'dull' town with nothing to offer and had very little to entertain any visitors unless they were into trainspotting or roundabouts (it is alleged that Basingstoke has the highest number of roundabouts per head population of any UK town - but it's probably no longer true!).
21st century redevelopment of the town centre has seen the growth of a huge shopping area, lots of restaurants and new cinemas and theatre. Basingstoke - it seems - has grown up!
By trainBasingstoke station is on the main line from London to Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth. It is also on the Bournemouth to Birmingham and Manchester line via Reading. Train times can be found on the National Rail Planner or by calling 0845-748-4950 from anywhere in the UK. The fastest trains take around forty minutes to get to Basingstoke from London Waterloo station. The station is situated at the edge of the town centre and is only a minute's walk from the shops.
By carAlternatively the town is conveniently situated for the M3 motorway (US English: freeway) also from London to Southampton and is about one hours drive from both. The A33 links the town with Reading and the M4. The A303 (which terminates at Junction 8 of the M3) links Basingstoke with the West Country.
By footBasingstoke has a decently-sized town centre including a shopping centre, cinema and variety of pubs and restaurants all walking distance from the train or bus station. Furthermore, there is a leisure park on the western side of town including including an ice rink and cinema that's also walking distance, albeit crossing a few busy main roads.
By busBasingstoke is well served by buses. The central bus station is situated in the town center and most buses stop at the station. The buses are regular and serve most outlying areas of the town. Indeed the buses are efficient and the bus stops clearly marked
By carBasingstoke is easy to drive around and the town center does not suffer from much congestion (except for at peak times). There is ample parking in both 'Top of Town' and Festival Place and the town's ring road (called 'Ringway') makes it easy to access any part of Basingstoke without much trouble.
The Park and Ride facility is served by three Centre Shuttle buses, see National Park and Ride Directory
phone: +44 1256 467294address: Redbridge Lane, Old BasingOnce a major Tudor palace and castle rivalling Hampton Court, Basing House was destroyed in a civil war siege. Now an attractive set of ruins, with an explanatory exhibition. Car parking is very difficult in Old Basing village; instead follow the signs to Basing House car park and get the bonus of a very attractive walk along the crystal clear River Loddon to the house. Alternatively bus line 8 runs once an hour from Basingstoke bus station stopping outside Basing House main entrance.
address: SilchesterKnown to the Romans as Calleva Atrebatum, Silchester was abandoned after the Roman era which means that much of the archeology remains. All that is left on the surface now are a complete ring of city walls, the amphitheatre and a little mediaeval church. Away from the rivers that have dictated the area demographics, Silchester is about as isolated a place as you will find in south-east England; on a spring weekday you are likely to find yourself sharing the ruins only with cows. Open every day sunrise-sunset.
address: Leisure Park, Churchill Way WestA living history museum, with reconstructed street scenes and buildings from the Victorian era.
phone: +44 1256 883858address: Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, RG24 9HLa 16th-century country house, built for Lord Sandys, King Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain. It retains its Tudor chapel, with stained glass. The classical portico on the north front was added in 1654 by Inigo Jones's pupil John Webb.
address: Steventon Manor, Steventon, Hampshire RG25 3BEThe birthplace of Jane Austen. It is possible to visit the parish church where Jane's father was rector, but the house where she lived has been demolished.
Wote Street Willyaddress: Wote Street, town centreThe largest statue of a penis on public display in Britain. The image of a mother and child is carved into the side of the sculpture, and its phallic appearance was apparently overlooked by planners until its erection.
L'Arc Sculptureaddress: Alençon Link, town centreMarvel at the similarities between this sculpture and the Iran-Iraq war monument in Baghdad
Viables RoundaboutHome to Britain's shortest piece of gauge railway track.
Crockford Lane RoundaboutDisplays a ribbon of around 100 red steel human silhouettes.
Mike Reddaway's Ancestral Home
- Fyffes Banana Ripening Factory, Winklebury. The largest Banana Ripening Factory in Europe.
- Conference South Football at The Camrose, Western Way.
address: 20 Churchill Way, RG21 7QUListen to live Quality Blues Bands once a month.
The Millstone Pubphone: +44 1256 331153address: Bartons Lane, LychpitThis pub, by the delightful River Loddon, used to be a fantastic authentic rustic pub. It has now been 'renovated' so lost some of its character. It does bar food, and has a good range of real ales. A good place to eat before or after visiting Basing House (see 'See').
Station Kebabsaddress: Railway StationKebab van. Burger sauce available.
Michael Meredith's House
address: London St.
phone: +44 1256 460460address: Old Common Rd, Black Dam
address: Grove Rd.
address: Aldermarston Roundabout
Audley's Wood Hoteladdress: Alton Road
Basingstoke's area code (for landline numbers) is 01256 when dialed from within the UK or +44 1256 from outside the UK.