With the coast, the city, and the countryside all forming the diverse county of Hampshire, there’s no shortage of things to see and discover. Hampshire is steeped in history and holds heritage close to its heart – if you’re looking for a real cultural experience alongside some top-notch dining, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s our guide to the best restaurants, hotels, bars and cafes to get you in gear for exploring everything from the luscious greenery of the South Downs National Park, to the historic Southampton waterfront.
The Westgate sits at the top of Winchester High Street, a renovated 1800’s inn just a small walk from the medieval gateway after which it was named. Situated on the edge of the lovely South Downs National Park, this prestigious pub is the perfect place to relax after a long day exploring the natural beauty on offer nearby. Indulge in a beautifully presented British-inspired dish, paired with a drink from the extensively-stocked bar.
After a stroll along Southampton’s stunning marina, head over to Bacaro to experience authentic Italian dining at its very best. The rustic interior and friendly staff will make you feel as though you’ve stepped inside from the streets of Venice. Whether you’re having quiet drinks on the sunny terrace, sharing a romantic meal or a family celebration, you’ll be in awe of the expertly-crafted small plates and more from the extensive menu.
Get ready to meet your new favourite cafe. Situated in the heart of Southampton’s nautical district and accompanied by much-loved restaurants in the foodie quarter, The Docks Coffee Shop is a caffeine sanctuary for the coffee connoisseur. Explore the docks or take part in the special Titanic Trail Walking Tour later this month, before you enjoy a drink (and maybe even a cream tea). For light bites, think avocado toast, halloumi and roasted veg and prosciutto and rocket panini, as well as other home-made goodies – don’t miss the ever-changing selection of irresistibly unique brownies!
Old Thorns, set in 400 acres of stunning countryside, is steeped in history and boasts several onsite dining and drinking venues to suit all occasions. This outstanding luxury hotel and estate in South Downs National Park boasts championship golfing facilities and much more. Enjoy a hearty breakfast or lunch to start your day of adventures at the Kings Restaurant or spend the evening among the classy interior of the Atrium Champagne Bar. For something more informal, the Old Thorns’ Sports Bar is the perfect place to enjoy traditional pub fare and an ice-cold beer as you catch the game.
A well-respected fixture of Southsea for 30 years and counting, Beckett’s has had a generous amount of time to perfect its cuisine. Local ingredients and specialist culinary know-how come together to create traditional and modern European dishes beyond your wildest foodie dreams. The bar offers a broad selection of world wine as well as a long list of cocktails and beer to accompany your meal. For even more culture, follow up your European-inspired indulgence with a trip along the seafront to Henry VIII’s Southsea Castle or the nearby D-Day museum.
In the cosmopolitan heart of the city, the Brew House is just a short stroll from East Park, which makes up a network of green spaces within the centre of Southampton. East Park offers a picturesque window into the city’s heritage – fountains, mosaics and memorials honour the city’s past in this Victorian park. The bar itself will also offer you great surroundings and new discoveries – with its hip, urban décor, creative lighting and knowledgeable staff waiting to guide you through the finest drinks on offer. Food-wise, authentic, stone-baked pizza ‘with attitude’ is the star of the show.
If you’re looking for more dining inspiration in Hampshire, you can request a free copy of our Hampshire Food & Drink Guide here or read the magazine below: