Basingstoke - or Amazingstoke if you prefer - is the biggest town in Hampshire and is growing in popularity as a place to move to. 

Whether you have lived here all of your life or you have recently moved, you will no doubt have picked up on some of the loveable quirks which make the town unique. 

Here are some of the things our editorial team noticed when they moved to Basingstoke ...

#1 Life in the fast lane – literally

Whoever designed Basingstoke’s transport system must have liked driving fast. Because the network of dual carriageways makes it possible for drivers to travel almost exclusively at 70mph around the town - very much to my terror when I first moved here.

Whether it is a supped-up car appearing behind you while you pause at (one of many) roundabouts or Formula 1-style overtaking towards Black Dam, every moment behind the wheel feels exhilarating and alarming to the trepid driver.


#2 Every shop you can think of

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on Basingstoke's high street stores, just like towns across the country. But for its size, Basingstoke really does have everything. Whether it be clothes shops, supermarkets, restaurants, or other retail outlets, the selection rivals some large cities. 

Basingstoke Gazette: Festival Place has all the shops Festival Place has all the shops

Basingstoke also has a thriving independent quarter with a number of local businesses operating in the Top of Town area. There is also the twice-weekly market where you can pick up anything from fruit and veg to e-cigarettes if that’s your thing.

And throughout the year in non-Covid times, there are world food markets that bring a little taste of afar to Basingstoke. What’s not to like?


#3 Lots of nice places to go for a walk

While it might be a busy, bustling town, Basingstoke has lots to offer in terms of green space. There are fantastic parks in the town centre including War Memorial Park and Eastrop Park. And you don’t have to go far to be outside in the beautiful countryside with literally hundreds of walks at your disposal. It's a luxury to be somewhere with all the mod-cons of a city but with easy access to the outdoors. 


Basingstoke Gazette: Eastrop Park is a beautiful place to hang out in the summer Eastrop Park is a beautiful place to hang out in the summer

Read more: 21 signs you know you're from Basingstoke 

#4 Well-connected and lots to do

I've had several local people tell me that the selling point of Basingstoke is how easy it is to get to other places. If you fancy a trip to the coast, you can be by the sea within an hour and a half or if you have to be in London, it's 45 minutes on the train. Basingstoke's prime location makes it a good base for any adventure (as soon as lockdown restrictions ease, of course!).

And there is also plenty to do here if you don't fancy going further afield. An award-winning ice hockey team, Silchester's Roman ruins, an indoor skydiving centre, a pool with slides, two cinemas, a bowling alley, and a historic Tudor mansion .. there is lots to do on your doorstep. 


Read more: The Basingstoke bucket list: 15 things you have to do before you die 

#5 Quirky layouts

Someone must have had fun creating some of the quirky road layouts. Have you spotted the strange traffic island on Pack Lane? Or the bizarre McDonald's drive-thru in Brighton Hill which forces you to go through Curry's car park first?

Not to mention the confusing Winklebury and Houndmills exit of the ring road or the absolute nightmare that is Black Dam roundabout. When you first move to Basingstoke, it takes some time to get used to the town’s motoring quirks. But after a while, you find it all adds to its post-war, industrial charm. 

Ryan Evans 

#6 Fuel is weirdly cheap

A mundane entry here but an important one. Basingstoke is not that far from either Newbury or Andover yet one of the things I first noticed was the marked difference in fuel price (exciting stuff, I know). A well-known supermarket appears to undercut the cost of stations in other towns which is good news for local residents and makes it a decent spot to fill up.


#7 The Wote St statue 

It would be impossible to write a list of things you first notice when you move to Basingstoke without mentioning the town's most famous statue (sorry, Jane Austen). 

I am of course referring to the Church Stone, or the 'Wote Street willy' as it's more commonly known. The fantastic sculpture is a great meeting place because, well, you can't miss it and adds a bit of cultural allure to the town centre. 

Basingstoke Gazette:

Learning the story behind the £25,000 9ft statue is genuinely fascinating, though. Despite its jokey nickname, many may not know that the statue was created to mark the site of an ancient church. Read all about it here


Read more: The pubs everyone is most excited about visiting after lockdown 

#8 Friendly people everywhere

Having lived across Devon, Berkshire, London and Hampshire, I can confirm Basingstoke is probably the friendliest place I’ve lived so far. There are community groups left, right and centre and residents have shown time and time again during the course of the pandemic that they are happy to help out wherever they can.

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke volunteers pictured before Christmas Basingstoke volunteers pictured before Christmas

Whether it’s friendly dog walkers, chatty people in the local shop or neighbours leaving a bottle of Prosecco on your doorstep when you move in, there is real sense of community spirit in Basingstoke that you don’t get everywhere. Trust me!  


  • What did you notice when you first moved to Basingstoke? Let us know in the comments below or email