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Basingstoke - A travel report by Terry
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Basingstoke,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
4423 readers

terje's travel reports

The Nickname City

  19 votes
Page: 1 2
No, I am not going to write about the birthplace of Nick Name, although that would probably be a bestselling novel. This article is dedicated to Basingstoke in Hampshire, an hour driving southwest of London.


Railway Station
Railway Station
OK, you didn't get the joke? Thats probably because you are not a resident of the Hampshire city of Basingstoke. Only exceeded by Southampton and Portsmouth, Basingstoke houses just over 150 000 people. A major part of these are a result of a massive expansion since the 1950's. And following a massive expansion in this periode - let's say the apartment complexes are unlike what we would have built today. This is the reason for many unfriendly nicknames, such as Boringstoke, Basingrad or Basingjoke.

And now you probably wonder what I have done in such a place...? As was it really that boring? Well, I came here on a business trip (as usual) but you have to read the rest to get the full answer of what I have discovered of attractions in the area.

Let's start with som history;
In the 9th century, the anglo-saxon tribe called Basingas, discovered this beautiful land by the river and started to put up their huts. The village was later known as Basing, and later as Basingstoke. In 871 (about the time Norway was founded), King Ethelred of Wessex was conquered by the Danish in the Battle of Basing. The first recorded documentation is from the Doomesday book of 1086.

Basingstoke has a long tradition of industry and trade, as already the dark ages saw a growing activity in importing of raw materials and fabrication of wooden clothing. The introduction of the canal and railway later had a positive effect on the trade.

Until the 50's, Basingstoke remained a small market town, when the area was designed as a "London overspill" area and a rapid growth started, absorbing many smaller villages. Today, Basingstoke is a prosperous city with business and industry, and a low unemployment rate. A few organizations have their headquarters here, among them the Automobile Association.

Favourite spots:
Entrance to Basing House
Entrance to Basing House
To discover the "real" Basingstoke, you must do as myself, search for Old Basing. The "old" prefix is not official, but seems to suit this village very well, thus keeping a distance to Basingstoke.

Very little remains of the Basing House, that was one of Britains biggest and most popular. It's located one mile outside Basingstoke, on the banks of the river Loddon. The car park is a bit far away, but the walk is very nice, following the river.
Basing House was constructed in the 1540's on the site of a norman fortress, and was besieged and destroyed during the english civil war, never to rise again..
The 10 acre area is under excavation, more and more of the original castle is revealed. The latest discovery was that the two main buildings were knit together by cellars.

Other sights in Old Basing includes:
* Basingstoke Canal
* Old Barn from 16th century
* St. St Mary's Parish Church & old cemetery
* Oliver's Battery (one of the places named after Oliver Cromwell)

What's really great:
Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle
As I am found of ancient british history, I was happy to learn about Calleva Atrebatum, (Silchester), the most complete roman settlement ever excavated in Britain. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to go there myself. The remains of both an amphitheatre, temples and a christian church are to be found here.
Who hasn't heard of Tut-Ank-Amon, whos tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922? This had not been possible with generous financial support from Lord Carnavon, whos house, called Highclere Castle, is located in Newbury close to Basingstoke. There is a display of Egyptian artefacts here, and as you can see from the photo, a beautiful garden.
Modern buildings in Basingstoke includes the 17 store Fanum Building, headquarters of the AA. This is popularly called "the tallest building on the commercial flight path between Heathrow and New York". Opened by Queen Elisabeth in 1973.

Sights:
The Vyne
The Vyne
You can learn more of Jane Austen, the writer.
* Steventon Church, where Jane worshipped
* Assembly Rooms at Basingstoke Market Place, where she attended social gatherings
* The Vyne, a 16th century house that belonged to Austen family friends
* Oakley Hall, formerly owned by the Bramston Family, close friends of Jane Austen and mentioned in her texts.

Stratfield Saye was the reward for the 1st Duke of Wellington on his heroic return from the Battle of Waterloo. This magnificent estate is located halfway between Basingstoke and Reading.

Accommodations:
The Elvetham
The Elvetham
Suggestions in three cathegories:
** Cleeves Guest House, from £30,- pr. room pr. night
*** Thistle Audleys Wood, from £65,- pr. room pr. night
**** Apollo Classic Hotel, from £57,- pr. room pr. night

Another fancy alternative is The Elvetham, an expensive choice, but perfect if you enjoy sleeping in a huge 19th century mansion. Prices from £110,- pr. night. More info on http://www.theelvetham.co.uk/

Restaurants:
River Loddon
River Loddon
Basingstoke is not renowned for its eating places. Here is my list:
* The Kashmir - Indian
* New Standard - Indian Tandoori
* New Dynasty - Chinese
* Dominoes - Pizza

There is about 60 pubs in Basingstoke, many of them serving food. My favourite is The Crown, in Axford. Outside, a great garden for the summer. Log fires in the winter. Real ales sourced from local breweries and the food is very good.

Another suggestion is to arrange a picnic along the River Loddon. Sit down in the grass, smell the fresh air (and mayce realize that there are cows nearby), forget all your stress and imagine why people settled just here more than 2000 years ago.

Published on Wednesday October 25th, 2006


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Fri, Feb 22 2008 - 08:53 PM rating by rmoss

A good report, although it seems that most sites of interest in Basingstoke lie beyond basingstoke! I know that I have been to Basingstoke, as I lived nearby, both in Reading and Southampton during the 1990's. And yet I have no memory of the place or anything that happened while being there. How strange!

Thu, Nov 02 2006 - 11:39 AM rating by magsalex

Nice to see a UK report. Nice pics and lots of info.

Thu, Oct 26 2006 - 09:01 AM rating by gloriajames

wow.. u made this report very interesting. like your writing style. and now i know the background of this place! thanks! 5* btw... great pics!

Thu, Oct 26 2006 - 05:56 AM rating by marianne

Terje,
Fun to read, well written and interesting information.

Wed, Oct 25 2006 - 06:08 PM rating by st.vincent

Amazing Terje, you've managed to make Basingstoke interesting - and I've learned a few things I didn't know before

Wed, Oct 25 2006 - 04:58 PM rating by mistybleu

A very interesting report, certainly not 'basingboring'. The Vyne looks like a sceen from Pride and Prejudice.

Nicely done
Amanda

Wed, Oct 25 2006 - 03:08 PM rating by eirekay

Terje, this is a wonderful report but the pictures really sell it! Great history!

Wed, Oct 25 2006 - 01:37 PM rating by davidx

I was torn between 4 and 5 but if anyone can create that choice for a place like basingstoke, it has to be worth 5!
I was learning from practically every sentence.

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