What you need to know about Basingstoke
The Hampshire town of Basingstoke has an interesting history – the modern housing estates and boggling number of roundabouts means it’s often mistaken for a new town, but actually it’s an old market town that was expanded extensively in the 1960s to help relieve overpopulation in London.
Unfortunately many of the historic buildings were bulldozed, but you can still see glimpses in the Old Town area, where you'll also find some of our serviced apartments. You can explore the town’s history in the Milestones Museum and the nearby ruins of Basing House. Meanwhile modern Basingstoke is a vibrant, modern and rather likeable commuter town, set in a valley in Hampshire’s beautiful North Downs.
Food and drink
Basingstoke has a good selection of places to eat, from High Street chains galore to plenty of pubs and world food restaurants.
Whilst a shopping centre may seem like an unlikely place to find great food, the Festival Street Kitchen in Basingstoke’s Festival Place is a gem, serving a huge variety of quality street food from around the world.
For a more traditional feel, head to the nearby villages like Dummer and Old Basing, where you’ll find wonderful pub food and a cosy, welcoming atmosphere.
Like many towns redeveloped in the 1960s, Basingstoke’s shopping was big on concrete and small on style. However in 2002 the town opened Festival Place, which has quickly become a popular shopping and leisure destination for the region. The centre has 165 shops and department stores, alongside some busy bars and a nightclub. It also includes a sports centre, library and multi-screen cinema, so it’s a great place to spend a family day out.
Festival Place also hosts many regional events through the year, including a home and garden exhibition, fashion events and a local food festival.
In the older part of Basingstoke (known locally as the Top of the Town), you’ll find a great market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, as well as a nice selection of independent shops, restaurants and cafes.
Basingstoke is an important commercial town in the UK, particularly in IT, telecommunications, insurance and electronics.
The town is home to the UK headquarters of Sun Life Financial, The Automobile Association, Sony Ericsson, GAME, Motorola, Barracuda Networks and BNP Paribas, as well as the European headquarters of the Adidas Golf Company.
Basingstoke is just a few miles off the M3, so it’s easy to drive to (if you don’t mind the roundabouts) and has plenty of parking in the town centre or at your serviced apartment. The town is just 48 miles from London, which takes 45 minutes by train to London Waterloo; there are also direct services to Reading, Winchester and Southampton.
Basingstoke is well served by buses, with regular services across the town and the local villages, and there’s an extensive cycle network in and around the town if you prefer to travel on two wheels.
Things to watch out for
Music venue The Anvil in Basingstoke has outstanding acoustics and is one the best places to see a concert in the region. It’s run by Anvil Arts, who also run a superb programme of dance, theatre, opera, and comedy throughout the year.