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highclere castle in snow

Five mini adventures just across the water

Why travel hundreds of miles for dare devil adventures and exciting experiences, when there’s plenty waiting for you just across the water.

Whether you’re looking to try something new, make memories with the kids or treat yourself to a little luxury, there’s a plethora of places to explore in Hampshire, right here on the doorstep.

From donutting down Southampton’s Ski Slope to tours with the Lady of the Castle, we’ve put together a list of must-do activities just 1 hour away by ferry.

Why not use your Big Book of Savings to save on your mainland adventure and remember to book in advance for the best ferry fares. Vehicle Ferry travel starts from just £29.50 each way for a car and up to seven passengers.

Here’s our top five mini mainland adventures to set sail for in 2024.

1. Hit the Slopes

Did you know that Southampton has its own ski slope? Whether you’re a seasoned skier or just starting out, Alpine Snowsports offers skiing, snowboarding and donutting, plus lessons as a group or 1:1 for beginners. Sign up for level 1 to 4 skiing or snowboarding day courses, before regularly hitting the slopes for recreational sessions. They even offer Ski and Tea sessions, with refreshments and a chance to mingle after your time on the slopes. The centre is just an 18-minute drive from the Red Funnel terminal in Southampton and sessions start from just £16. 

lady skiing down the dry slopes

2. 10 Course Gastronomic Experience

For keen foodies, a trip to AO in Southampton is a must. Restaurant creator and Chef Daniel Rogan has taken immense pride in the dining experience at AO, offering a 10-course tasting menu showcasing the best of Hampshire’s local produce. A one-of-a-kind culinary journey, this 10-course menu experience is not a budget night out but is one you’ll remember for a long time to come. There is also a 5-course lunch tasting menu available. Just a 15-minute car ride from our Red Jet terminal, make the most of our Super Off-Peak Day return available for 2 or more travelling after 11am, returning anytime same day. 

food on a plate

Discover the New Forest

Just a short drive from our Southampton Terminals, the New Forest is the perfect haven for those seeking serenity and to connect with nature. Wild deer, ponies, pigs and cattle roam free among the heaths, with miles of unspoiled woodland and greenery to explore on foot, by bike or on horseback. Pack a picnic or pit stop at one of the many country pubs on the edge of the forest. A great day out for every member of the family, including the dog, don’t forget to make the most of our dedicated pet lounge onboard. Find the forest just a 15-minute drive from the vehicle ferry terminal. In the summer months, why not catch the Red Jet across and connect with the Hythe Ferry, hopping aboard the New Forest Open Top Tour Bus

horse in woodland

Explore Stonehenge

We’ve all heard of it, but have you been there? Recognised as one of the best and most impressive landmarks to visit in the world, Stonehenge is just a 1-hour drive from our terminals in Southampton. Shrouded in mystery, the giant bluestones arranged in circle were transported over 150 miles from a Welsh hillside, with the stones themselves dating back to 2500BC. Work on Stonehenge started over 5000 years ago in the late Neolithic Bronze Age period. Today we can only speculate what Stonehenge was built for, but the fact that the sun rises over the Heel Stone on the longest day of the year and sets over the shortest day suggests it’s a prehistoric temple aligned with the Sun’s movements. Definitely one to tick off your bucket list!

stonehenge as sunset

5. Highclere Castle

Just a 1-hour drive from our terminal, Highclere Castle dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period, transformed into the elegant house you see today during the 16th Century. Currently home to the Earl and Lady of Carnavon, Highclere is most recognisable as “Downtown Abbey” and boasts between 250 and 300 rooms. On a tour of the palatial Castle, you’ll get to explore the state rooms made so familiar by the popular TV programme, where the Castle played home to the Earl of Grantham, his family and loyal staff. Tours are led by knowledgeable guides and often themed, with Christmas at Highclere, Wintertime Castle and Valentine’s and Afternoon Tea tours currently available. Lady Carnarvon is often on hand to guide guests around her home and looks forward to welcoming you to the magnificent castle. 

highclere castle in snow