<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Hampshire Life today click here

What’s on in Basingstoke during 2018

PUBLISHED: 10:47 16 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:47 16 January 2018

The town's high-rise offices can be seen from miles around

The town's high-rise offices can be seen from miles around


Last year this North Hampshire town rediscovered its heritage, and 2018 will see it continue to rejuvenate itself as multi-million investment forges ahead. We look at what’s to come

Gripped by Jane Austen fever during 2017’s bicentennial, Basingstoke’s connections with the author’s early life have been preserved in a bronze statue on Market Place. A cultural heritage reborn as this part of North Hampshire celebrated one of its most famous residents. Buoyed by the excitement generated, all eyes are now on the place the Thames Valley Property Awards voted Town of the Year, as the ambitious programme of regeneration and redevelopment in Basingstoke gathers pace. 

Doing the business

With its office towers visible on the skyline, interestingly, around 90 per cent of companies in the Basingstoke area employ less than 10 staff. And if proof’s needed that global organizations can co-exist with small, independent businesses, the town’s movers and shakers point to its Business Improvement District. Here, as much as £2 million could be raised thanks to high street retailers and independent shops, cultural centres and major corporates joining forces to invest in the future. Already up in the historic Top of the Town, grants to give its buildings a facelift and expert advice to help its businesses to grow, have seen results.

Additionally, there’s the ongoing rejuvenation of the central business area, as the council’s Invest to Grow Fund, pours £25 million into supporting new housing, office, industrial, manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure, renewables and low carbon schemes. And on-going investment from Enterprise M3 is behind road improvements to the south west and north east corridors; meaning faster journey times, as well as improved routes for cyclists and pedestrians. 

Bricks and mortar

Whilst there may be a sharp intake of breath from some quarters at the idea of creating a brand new community on Basingstoke’s western fringes, supporters of the Manydown development argue that it will provide much needed housing and facilities on land jointly owned by the borough and the county council. If the planning application is successful, this will see over 3,000 new homes, schools, play areas, allotments and a country park being added to the landscape. 

Skills for life

Not only has BCOT (Basingstoke College of Technology) been ranked among the county’s top achieving colleges for vocational qualifications, it’s now opened a new £3.8 million Future Skills Centre in Bordon. From brickwork to carpentry and construction this addition establishes BCOT as one of the region’s largest providers of apprenticeships for school leavers and those already in work, who want to build a career. 

Retail therapy

As home to 200 plus retailers, Basingstoke’s Festival Place has long been the go-to place for a big brands fix, and there’s a makeover underway! Several new store openings are in the pipeline and car parks are being renovated. Whilst down the road in Basing View, the arrival of John Lewis continues to attract devotees. The good news being that there remain fewer empty shop units than the national average and the street market, established by Royal Charter in 1622, is alive and well. Stalls set-up from 9am on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Market Place and continue down Wote Street towards Festival Place. 

Getting active

Those wanting a day or night out are eagerly awaiting the proposed transformation of Basingstoke Leisure Park. With swimming, 10-pin bowling and golf among the sports already catered for alongside the Milestones museum, indoor skydiving and skiing, a cinema and restaurants, a £350 million cash injection could see the doubling of attractions offered at the 60 acre park. Some of the ideas expected to be rubber stamped include rebuilding and redesigning the existing Aquadrome, as well as the addition of an events arena, velodrome and a designer outlet shopping centre. 

The great outdoors

When it comes to green spaces, both Eastrop Park and The War Memorial Park hold a Green Flag for their high standard. And now the go-ahead has been given for Beggarwood Park to become a Local Nature Reserve.The park is rich in ancient woodland, chalk grasslands and wildlife and is somewhere to escape the hurly burley of everyday life. 

What’s on in 2018

• Thursday 8 to Saturday 17 February: Basingstoke Gang Show

One of the region’s longest running family variety shows returns to the Haymarket Theatre with a matinee and evening performances.

• Sunday 13 May: Festival of Transport

Expect over 900 vehicles from classic cars to military trucks on The War Memorial Park.

• Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 June: Kite Festival

Flying dragons surf the skies above Down Grange Sports Complex.

• Friday 15 June to Sunday 8 July: Basingstoke Festival

Community groups and professional organizations take part in over 100 events, including Basingstoke Live, the UK’s biggest free music festival. On 16 June Old Basing Carnival has vintage vehicles and fairground rides adding to the fun on the Recreation Ground. And on 23 and 24 a Cheese and Chilli Festival returns to The War Memorial Park.

• Sunday 7 October: Basingstoke Half Marathon

Starting in The War Memorial Park, runners will line-up for this traffic-free, challenge. 

My Basingstoke

Basingstoke’s annual A Place to be Proud of awards recognize the contribution made by individuals, groups, organizations, places and initiatives in creating a vibrant community. THAT Gallery in Festival Place, topped the hotly contested 2017 Arts and Entertainment category. Graeme Farragher and Rachel Davis curate the novel pop-up.

“We started as an artists’ collective about four years ago,” Graeme explains. “ Prominent local artist, Kev Munday, approached the centre director because he could see there were empty units and felt it would be good to have a pop-up gallery to showcase local artwork.”

Rachel adds: “It brings a bit of culture into the shopping centre. We’re given short leases, so part of the creative challenge is to take whatever space is available and try to turn it into something magnificent.”

The 25 artists currently exhibiting - all of whom are from Basingstoke and the surrounding area, are, she says, getting quite a following.

“What’s interesting is that people don’t always buy from one particular artist, they might be driven by colour or subject matter. For anyone looking for something a bit different, they are thrilled not to have to travel outside of Basingstoke as we’ve original artwork starting from £50.”

With many of the artists also doing a shift in the gallery, there’s a good chance of seeing an eclectic mix of work being created in front of your eyes. And, according to Graeme, it’s what makes the whole place much more relaxing than your average gallery.

“We are always happy for families to come in,” says Rachel. “There really is a sense of community here, and it’s such a hive of creativity.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About


10 of best photos of Hampshire shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Tue, 12:47

We like to think that here at Hampshire Life we are at the forefront of our local food and drink industry; recognising the county’s diverse businesses every year at our Food and Drink Awards. However, Newcomer of the Year finalists, The Red Lion in Odiham seemed to slip through our net

Read more
Tue, 11:20

From saunas and spas to splashing about in fords… this New Forest gem shows why it’s officially Britain’s most beautiful village

Read more
Tue, 11:08

Broomsticks and bedknobs, Tudor mansions and Roman towns… A visit to Tadley is a surprise

Read more
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Foodie families who like period property and want the beach on their doorstep need look no further than Southsea

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Snowdrop season inspires people to get out and take a stroll through the countryside and that is no different here in Hampshire, as these beautiful photos prove…

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

This February 14 use your imagination and discover what Hampshire holds for the most romantic Valentine's Day ever

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Is there anything more refreshing than a stroll on a crisp winter’s day? We don’t think so! Here are a few of our favourite rambles across the county to enjoy this season

Read more
Thursday, February 1, 2018

Whether you want to treat her to ultimate relaxation with a spa day or an overnight stay complete with indulgent spa treatments, Champneys is a great gift for Mother’s Day

Read more
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

Forget the snow and ice, love is the answer to the gloom of winter and there is nowhere better than Hampshire to share and express it

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

A new, old village? Or an old, new one? There’s definitely more to Four Marks than meets the eye

Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Braving the winter weather, wildlife writer Tiffany Francis ventures in to the New Forest to discover more about the work of the community rangers

Read more
Monday, January 22, 2018

Choose from the best in Hampshire for your wedding venue. We round up 20 of the best

Read more
A+ South & South West
Great British Holidays advert link
Pure Weddings advert link
South West Life advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Hampshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search