The largest town in Hampshire in the South East, Basingstoke lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon. With a rich history dating back to Roman times and beautiful rural surroundings, it’s no surprise this area is a much-loved home to its residents.
With a wonderful variety of cultural and heritage attractions, Basingstoke is also a popular place to visit. Home to one of the South’s best shopping centres, Festival Place, and a whole host of shops, bistros and cafes, this vibrant town is the perfect place for a relaxing short break.
In the last census, the population of Basingstoke and Deane was estimated at 167,799 people and there were 69,315 households. That was an increase of 15,226 people since the previous census in 2001. The majority of these households were based in detached homes, followed by terraced and semi-detached properties.
The average house price in Basingstoke is £334,461 – just above the national average but more affordable than property in some of the surrounding towns.
There are a variety of property types in the area, ranging from old style Victorian properties, through to modern apartments. One to two-bedroom apartments typically range from £130,000 to £250,000, while one-bedroom terraced properties tend to start from around £170,000. Three-bedroom family homes range from around £180,000 to £300,000.
Basingstoke is a great place to live and work, whether you’re taking the next step in your career, bringing up a young family or looking for a slower pace of life away from the heart of London.
With a great selection of amenities, shops and outdoor spaces, as well as schools and business opportunities, it’s easy to see why Basingstoke is so popular.
The town is also an important economic centre and is home to the UK headquarters of a host of major companies, making it a popular base for young professionals.
Basingstoke is one of the best-connected towns in central southern England, making it popular with commuters working in London and Reading. The town’s central train station offers direct links to London Waterloo, with services reaching the capital in around 40 minutes, or Reading in around 20 minutes. Trains also run to Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth.
Frequent bus services run between the town centre and the surrounding residential areas, while the M3 and M4 motorways are also within easy access, making it quick and easy to reach Southampton, Winchester and Bournemouth.
The town is fondly known as Doughnut City due to its large number of roundabouts!
If you have children, there are a wide choice of schools in Basingstoke and the surrounding area.
For little ones, there are six primary schools within easy reach, including Four Lanes, Kempshott, Oakridge and Old Basing Infants School.
For older children, Brighton Hill Community School, the College of Technology and Bishop Challoner Catholic Secondary School all receive consistently good Ofsted reports.
There is lots to see and do in Basingstoke and the surrounding area.
The town is home to two major entertainment venues – The Anvil and the Haymarket Theatre.
To the west of the town centre, Basingstoke Leisure Park offers a great range of activities, including ice skating, bingo and bowls, as well as a multiplex cinema and swimming facilities.
Just a short drive away, the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty provides rich opportunity for outdoor pursuits and activities.
Basingstoke is jam packed with places to eat and drink, catering for every occasion, taste and budget. From traditional pub food and Indian restaurants, through to Japanese eateries and Italian restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Some of the town’s most popular eateries include The Olive House, which serves up top quality Mediterranean-themed dishes, The Gamekeepers, offering freshly cooked, locally sourced food, and The Sushi Maki.
If you’re looking for a quick pint or a drink with friends, the laidback Royal Oak is a favourite amongst locals, while The Golden Lion is famous for its pub quiz. Or, for a refreshing drink in the heart of the city centre, The Bakers is well worth a visit.
Basingstoke offers a great choice of shops and shopping centres.
The Malls in the town centre is home to a wide range of shops and cafes. There’s also plenty of car parking available or, if you’re travelling by train, there is an entrance into the shopping centre directly from the railway station.
With over 200 stores, including French Connection, Zara, Next, Topshop and TK Maxx, the award-winning Festival Place is a popular shopping destination. The shopping centre is also home to over 20 popular eateries, such as Las Iguanas, Pizza Express and Nandos, as well as a 10-screen multiplex cinema.
At the Top of the Town, the historic heart of Basingstoke town centre, you’ll find a great choice of restaurants, pubs and independent shops. The pedestrianised streets host a market every Wednesday and Saturday, while Market Place is regularly used for events and street entertainment.
The surrounding towns of Hook, Overton, Whitchurch and Tadley also have a great choice of shops.
Whether you’re just passing through Basingstoke or you’re visiting for business or pleasure, there are plenty of great hotels and B&Bs.
Popular hotels in the area include the Crowne Plaza Basingstoke, Audleys Wood Hotel, The Red Lion Hotel, Basingstoke Country Hotel & Spa, Oakley Hall Hotel and the Village Hotel.
Here are some of the best things to do in and around Basingstoke:
Housed in what was once Basingstoke’s Town Hall, the Willis Museum has been a popular attraction since it opened in 1984.
Named after George Willis, a local clockmaker, antiquarian and former Mayor of Basingstoke, the museum hosts a range of exhibits focusing on the area’s rich history. One of the museum’s highlights is a statue of Jane Austen, which was unveiled in 2017 to mark the 200th anniversary of the author’s death. Designed by Hampshire-based sculptor Adam Round, the statue was cast at the Morris Singer Foundry in Lasham.
A great programme of touring exhibitions, fun events, workshops and activities also runs throughout the year.
Eastrop Park is a tranquil spot just outside the town centre. Home to a boating lake, tree trail, children’s area and paddling pool, it’s a great place to spend a sunny day with all the family.
Throughout the summer months, an exciting programme of events runs in the park.
Free parking is available and there’s a kiosk for refreshments.
Located just a few minutes outside Basingstoke town centre, the Crabtree Plantation is a nature reserve with beautiful woods and open fields. A great spot for walking and cycling as you take in the fantastic views, it’s a great day out for all the family.
The beautiful setting attracts a huge variety of butterflies, and you’re sure to spot plenty of them if you visit during the summer months.
Take a trip back in time at the Milestones Museum. This living history museum brings the past to life, with its realistic streets and over 20,000 objects that were either made or used in Hampshire throughout the years.
From a collection of beautifully restored vintage vehicles, through to a 1940s sweet shop and the Museum’s very own working pub, The Baverstock Arms, there’s plenty to explore. There’s also a dedicated play space and a range of I-Spy trails.
Special events take place throughout the year and there’s a café and well-stocked gift shop on site.
Known as the biggest outdoor play area in Berkshire, Wellington Country Park is set in 350 acres of beautiful parklands, just off the A33 between Basingstoke and Reading.
With several adventure play areas, a toddler’s area, sand pits, slides, miniature railway, an animal farm, petting barn and a nature trail maze, there’s plenty to keep the whole family occupied all day long.
There’s also an enchanted forest, water play, a 12-hole mini golf course and lots of play equipment. Follow one of the four nature trails where you’ll have the chance to spot an array of wildlife in its natural habitat, including Red and Fallow deer.
The park’s 35-acre lake is a great place to stop and enjoy a picnic, or pop into the café, where you’ll find a great selection of drinks, snacks and ice creams.