Basingstoke is part of the borough of Basingstoke and Deane, and was an old market town which expanded in the mid-1960s. A mixture of urban and rural, there are several picturesque villages within a couple of miles of the town centre.
Development in Basingstoke has brought a huge boost to the town centre. Festival Place Shopping Centre has a wide range of shops, cafés and restaurants, as well as a large multi-screen cinema. There is also Basingstoke Sports Centre, which has a pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room, as well as a state-of-the-art gym, studios, squash courts and main hall.