We meet early afternoon at Winchester and our first steam train ride comes courtesy of the Mid Hants Railway running through “The Alps”. This is a pristine recreation of the Southern Railway with all stations genuinely restored to their original glory.
Why the Hampshire Hover? Today answers that as we cross to the Isle of Wight by the UK’s only remaining scheduled hovercraft service. Time on the island for a ride with both the Island Line and the lovely steam railway. Then, we’ll tour to the western end of Vectis and cross back to the mainland via the Lymington ferry and rail to Brockenhurst.
More seaside stuff today in another circular day out. By rail to Bournemouth and then the Breezer bus service, over Sandbanks Ferry, to the Isle of Purbeck. Two steamy attractions follow. Firstly, the Swanage Railway, including options to visit quaint Corfe Castle, followed by an afternoon visit to our friends at the Moors Valley Railway. Miniature steam on a fully signalled, looping, track and engineering interest as much is built here on site.
In the New Forest we will find the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. Not only a huge collection of vehicles but an elevated monorail and stately home to keep us engaged. Afterwards it’s Exbury Gardens to ride on the Rothchild’s personal steam railway and a wander around the estate.
To round things off we catch a train to Portsmouth Harbour and stroll into the Historic Dockyard. So much to see and do here with nautical exhibitions, the Mary Rose, a harbour boat tour and HMS Victory. Homeward bound journeys will commence from the harbour station after lunchtime.
A super country base in which to stay. The public areas are well appointed and reside underneath
the thatched roof of this historic coaching inn. The accommodation is all “out the back” in a modern extension that is blissfully quiet as it’s surrounded by the hotel’s plush grounds and countryside beyond.