Hampshire Delights, Winchester & Watercress Line

Hampshire Delights, Winchester & Watercress Line

Enjoy train journeys, river cruises, gardens & museums on this 5 day tour


Enjoy train journeys, river cruises, gardens & museums on this 5 day tour

Basingstoke Canal

The Basingstoke Canal was completed in 1794, built to connect Basingstoke with the River Thames at Weybridge via the Wey Navigation.

It was never a commercial success and, from 1950, lack of maintenance allowed the canal to become increasingly derelict. After many years of neglect, restoration commenced in 1977 and on 10 May 1991 the canal was reopened as a fully navigable waterway from the River Wey to almost as far as the Greywell Tunnel. The tunnel partially collapsed in 1932 where it passes from chalk into clay geology, and is now inhabited by a protected bat colony making it unlikely that the tunnel will ever be restored.  We join the John Pinkerton II for a cruise in the peaceful surroundings of the Basingstoke Canal. At less than 3 mph, there is plenty of time to admire the passing countryside, spot the deer in the fields, and count the young ducklings and goslings. You may even see the bright flash of a kingfisher darting ahead of the boat, or the majestic flight of a heron circling round to return to its favourite bank to continue fishing.

Milestones Museum

Immerse yourself in the past at Milestones, Hampshire’s museum of living history. Explore the museum’s streets, shops and buildings to discover how people used to live, buy a ration of sweets from the 1940s sweet shop, view the unique collection of vintage vehicles and have a go in the penny arcade! Your visit to Hampshire past will take you as far back as the age of the Victorians, with cobbled streets, a local pub, the Baverstock Arms, a replica Victorian school room – complete with chalkboard and

teacher’s desk – and even a working printing press


Watercress Line

The Watercress Line is the marketing name of the Mid-Hants Railway, a heritage railway in Hampshire running 10 miles from New Alresford to Alton where it connects to the National Rail network. The line gained its popular name in the days that it was used to transport locally grown watercress to markets in London. The railway currently operates regular scheduled services, along with dining trains and numerous special events throughout the year. The line is also well known for its extensive facilities, friendly staff and the quality of restoration work.


Winchester is a historic cathedral city, the former capital city of England and the county town of Hampshire. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of the River Itchen. 

Winchester developed from the Roman town of Venta Belgarum, Winchester's major landmark is Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the distinction of having the longest nave and overall length of all Gothic cathedrals in Europe, the cathedral is also home to the tomb of the author Jane Austen. The town is also home to the University of Winchester and the famous public school, Winchester College. The city's architectural and historic interest, and its fast links to other towns and cities have led Winchester to become one of the most expensive and desirable areas of the country. A person who is from or resides in Winchester is sometimes locally known as a Wintonian.


Bucklers Hard & Maritime Museum

On the banks of the Beaulieu River, in the heart of the New Forest, you will find the unspoilt haven of Buckler’s Hard which remains untouched by the passage of time.

During the Second World War, Buckler’s Hard became a motor torpedo base and, further downstream, sections of the Mulberry harbours were constructed in the old oyster beds in preparation for the D-Day landings.

In the post-war years, visitors quickly returned to the river and in 1963 the Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum was opened in what had been the New Inn, ‘to serve as a memorial to those men of Buckler’s Hard who built men-of-war’.

Today, Buckler’s Hard is still a ‘living’ village and many of the people who live and work here are engaged in recreation and tourism. Meanwhile, measures are taken to ensure that this remarkable village remains an area of natural beauty for future generations to enjoy. The Beaulieu River is one of the few privately owned river beds and estuaries in the world under the custodianship of the Montagu family for over four centuries and is now a picturesque and unspoilt yacht haven offering permanent and short term berths and moorings in its marina.

Exbury Gardens

Created by Lionel de Rothschild in the 1920s, the Gardens are a stunning vision of his inspiration, offering 200-acres of natural beauty & horticultural variety,

world-famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and shrubs. 

The Gardens are still Rothschild family owned and managed, with three generations of the family at the helm.

Day 1

We leave Cumbria and travel south to Warwick, where we have some time at leisure for lunch before continuing on towards Winchester and our hotel the Norton Park. Dinner in the hotel.


Day 2

A nostalgic day as we begin by boarding the 50 seat narrowboat, John Pinkerton II for a relaxing 2 hour cruise on the peaceful surroundings of the Basingstoke Canal. The countryside and woodland views from the boat give you a totally different perspective, and make for a memorable and imaginative way to enjoy a taste of days gone by. In the afternoon we visit the interesting Milestones Museum which takes us back to the old cobbled streets of the past with replica buildings, costumed characters and restored vintage vehicles. Visit the 1940’s sweet shop, have a pint at the Baverstock Arms and bring back memories playing on the old penny arcade games on Milestones’ pier. Dinner in the hotel tonight.

B, D

Day 3

After breakfast today we head to the Georgian market town of Alresford, the home of Hampshire’s historical watercress industry. We will board a Mid Hants Railway vintage train for a 90 minute round trip through the beautiful Hampshire countryside, on the Watercress Line. After our nostalgic journey, we return to Winchester for the afternoon at leisure to explore King Alfred’s ancient capital of England, with its famous cathedral, home to Jane Austen’s tomb. Dinner on our return to the hotel.

B, D

Day 4

Today we head south to the banks of the Beaulieu River, in the heart of the New Forest, where we visit Buckler's Hard, once a thriving shipbuilding village where ships for Nelson's fleet at Trafalgar were built, now Buckler's Hard is a tranquil haven, discover the history of the village in the Maritime Museum, take a step inside a historic shipwright's cottage and enjoy a cruise on the Beaulieu River. In the afternoon we head to Exbury Gardens, a spectacular 200 acre site, world-famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and shrubs. We include a journey on the estates 12¼ inch guage Steam Railway. Dinner at the hotel.

B, D

Day 5

We leave the Norton Park hotel after breakfast and make our return journey to Cumbria, stopping off en route for lunch.


B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Norton Park Hotel

On the outskirts of Winchester the 4*Norton Park hotel blends beautiful contemporary chic with historical elegance all set within 54 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens to stroll around.

The hotel has 175 modern bedrooms offering contemporary elegance with en-suite facilities including shower and/or bath, comfy Sealy beds, laptop safes, free internet usage, trouser press & ironing facilities, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryer, remote control flat screen LCD TV, direct dial telephone. The hotel also has 6 purpose built disabled rooms, 3 on the ground floor and 3 on the first floor. These bedrooms interconnect to a twin room for use by a carer or family member if needed. The bathrooms are designed with an accessible wheel-in shower / wall mounted drop down seat and appropriate grab rails. Emergency pull cords link directly to staff phones from both the bedroom and bathroom. Horizontal and vertical grab rails are positioned at the side of the toilet.

The warm and welcoming atmosphere of Scene Restaurant provides the perfect setting to enjoy breakfast and evening meals. The chefs at Norton Park have created a contemporary menu of flavoursome dishes and where possible use locally sourced produce.


Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Shap Village Hall Shap
Tebay Old Services Car Park Tebay
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Old Bus Station Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
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06 Jun
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Autumn Spring 2018 2019
Summer Brochure 2019