This Hampshire Travel Christmas Gift Guide 2020 is here to help you find the best experiential gifts for the travel lovers in your life.
This guide will help you navigate shopping local and online this festive season because let’s face it, the majority of shopping is going to be done from home. Weirdest year ever, right?
Supporting local businesses, creators, causes, charities and institutions is particularly important this year so they are all still there, once the pandemic is under control. Supporting them will ensure our towns and cities stay diverse fun places to explore.
Here’s some of my favourite local travel experiences to inspire your gift giving this year.
Hampshire Travel Christmas Gift Guide 2020
This list of gift suggestions is focused on days out, experiences and things to do across Hampshire.
An experience is always a thoughtful gift, and it encourages your friends and family to get planning for when life’s a little less restricted. While most of these are not open in a full lockdown, they respond quickly when restrictions are lifted.
I’ve included things that require a membership, one off tickets and things that are free to cater for all budgets.
Obviously with all the experiences on this list, please do check what’s open and can be booked. Some of these experiences might be ones you can promise a visit in the future to. And, it gives something that you and the person you’re gifting to, an experience to look forward to together.
Experiences are listed in alphabetical order for ease and to keep things fair.
Support the county’s heritage, castles, palaces and gardens
Membership will let the person you gift it to explore Hampshire and any English Heritage attraction. And, you’ll be supporting the local historic attractions in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and beyond.
Lots of the sites are outside, and easy to apply social distance measures.
Support two museums in Chawton
If you know a Jane Austen fan, this will be right up their street. Not only can you visit Jane’s home, a tiny cottage in the beautiful village of Chawton but, you can visit Jane’s brother’s home which is literally just around the corner at Chawton House.
Jane spent a lot of time at both and it offers great insight into her life. Make sure you book an afternoon tea at the local cafe too, Cassandra’s cup.
My suggestion would be to round off the day with takeaway in front of your favourite Jane Austen film or series.
Read my blog called ‘THE ULTIMATE DAY OUT FOR A JANE AUSTEN FAN‘ which will give you a little look at what to expect.
Support a Winchester museum
Gift a visit to a bit of historical whimsy, King Arthur’s Round Table and The Great Hall in Winchester. The hall and the features within are absolutely magnificent and a real hidden Hampshire gem that your travel fan may not have discovered yet.
Support conservation and the animals at the zoo
A trip to the zoo, is a great bit of escapism. Marwell Zoo is particularly brilliant because it’s so big, mostly outside and it offers a long walk.
It’s also home to some pretty spectacular species, and the tropical house, which is over two levels and has one ginormous fish tank home to 2,500 beautiful fishies.
I mean the Red Pandas, Giraffes, Pygmy Hippos, Humbaldt Penguins and Snow Leopards are just some of the incredible animals you can see.
Personally I can’t wait to go back, there’s been so many developments since my last visit. While it’s obviously a great gift for families, it might be a nice idea for any animal lovers you know.
As so much of the zoo is outside, it’s another place that’s really easy to socially distance in a pandemic. The annual ticket would make a great gift.
Support the county’s gardens and historic houses
While the National Trust is big, it supports many locations in the county including gardens, landscapes and manor houses. And, they’ve taken a real bashing this year with enforced closures.
With plenty of gardens and outside locations to explore, it’s another ace gift choice in a pandemic.
Personally I’ve missed exploring with the National Trust so much. I love my membership and can’t wait to get out and use it again soon.
Membership will give a couple, family or friend a year’s worth of days out in Hampshire and across the whole of the UK- what a gift!
Support a Portsmouth charity, museum and important historic artefacts with global importance
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, is a great place to visit especially in a pandemic because so much of it is outside. It’s very easy to social distance and there’s so much to do.
An Ultimate Explorer ticket gives access to HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, HMS M.33, the Mary Rose, the Harbour Tour and the Royal Navy Submarine and Explosion! Museum of Royal Naval Firepower. Oh and The National Museum of the Royal Navy and all current exhibitions. Phew! It’s a mouthful but as you can see, seriously good value for money.
I’ve never manage to fit it in one day, and I’m thankful they offer an annual ticket. It means I can take my time onboard each ship and go back for events they hold during the year.
If you know someone into naval history, or who like museums and exploring the county, this might be a good gift for them.
Support local artists and cafes
Not all gifts have to cost money. If you know someone that likes street art, take them for a wander around Portsmouth and explore all the street art on offer. A very thoughtful gift, and time well spent together.
You can sandwich the day between incredible coffee and food spots and a walk along the beach.
I wrote a guide to Portsmouth Street Art that you can use to plan your route. This is a fun free thing to do, it’s easy to social distance and isn’t reliant on things re-opening.
You don’t have to head to California or Australia to see giant Red Woods. A free, and very joyous experience, could be taking your friends of family to Blackwater in the New Forest to follow the Tall Tree Trail.
This impressive sight is a real marvel and a lovely memory to share with someone. And, that’s what gift giving is all about, right?
The Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line is a beautiful old steam train that you can ride through the county.
Know a Harry Potter fan? Book tickets and you can pretend you’re going to Hogwarts. Alton, Alresford, Ropley, Mediated and Fourmarks are all along the line and the stations look like you’re on a film set.
It’s a beautiful, wholesome quaint day out and such a beautiful way to enjoy and explore Hampshire.
Keep an eye on the regular events program it runs too, as these also make great gifts.
Just over the Solent is a whole island rich in food, spectacular landscapes, walks and heritage attractions to explore.
Osborne House, Carisbrook Castle and The Needles are just a few of the amazing things the island has to offer.
A ferry ticket is a fun day out for anyone that like to travel and Wightlink has excellent transport links.
When you can’t really go abroad, jumping on a ferry is the next best thing, so if you know someone with itchy feet a ticket to the island will give them that feeling of freedom.
Book a ticket to tour the Cathedral Tower – this is on Lonely Planet’s top 500 things to do in the UK. Not many people know the tower can be climbed and it is a brilliant experience for anyone who likes to travel.
The experience allows you to climb the 213 steps to the top of the tower. Once you’re up there you can experience magnificent views across Winchester and the county. You’ll also see the ringing chamber, bells and be able to walk the full length of the nave roof and see the large wooden beams.
Hampshire Travel Gifts
Hampshire is full of exciting experiences to explore which also make great gifts. By buying or supporting the attractions and places on this list you’re not only making wonderful memories but, you’re also supporting local jobs, places and local businesses.
Some of the best gifts I’ve ever received were days out or things to do with the people I love the most.
I’m hoping these will inspire a little creative thinking when it comes to your gift giving this year.
But, if you’re still looking for ideas then take a look at these other Hampshire Experiences that you could gift.
- The A to Z of things to do in Hampshire
- Book a Hampshire Vineyard Tour
- Book a Hampshire Distillery Tour
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