Family Days out in Hampshire
This is the second in my ‘Days Out’ series, at the bottom of this page is a list of links to the other posts in the series, covering counties which are geographically close to me. If your favourite places are not mentioned then please let me know and I will add them to the main post.
The basis of these posts are from leaflets which I have picked up in my travels, therefore some of these places we have visited, some we have not and some we are planning to do so in the near future. This list will evolve so please check back for regular updates, our experiences and photos.
- Alice Holt Forest – Nr Farnham – www.forestry.gov.uk/aliceholt – the cost of parking is dependent on how long you stay, for over 4 hours it is £8 – This is one of our favourite places simply because it is so peaceful. We visited last year when they had their Gruffalo trail on, unfortunately this has now finished but the 6ft carved statue remains. By signing up to their newsletter you will be kept up to date with the various activities they are running throughout the school holidays. They have a new cycle trail and you are also able to hire bikes from them should you wish. The cafe is under refurbishment so I would check their website for updates around the availability of food. The play area is a great and formed from several large wooden structures including a pirate boat set in sand. The swings are not your normal traditional swings – shorter in heigh and with bungie ropes, Monkey loves them and they are perfect for younger children. There are also a number of free activity sheets which you can download from the website to help you make the most of your visit.
- Bird World – Nr Farnham – www.birdworld.co.uk – Pricing will depend on the time of year you visit at peak times such as school holidays and weekends in the Summer, adults are £15.95, children under 3 are free, 3-6 year olds are £12.95 and 7-13 year olds are £13.95. You can purchase a ticket for a family for £49.95. However when we visited we googled and found a 2 for 1 voucher on Hampshire Attractions which is still valid for the 2015 season. The little train ride and the pelicans were by far Monkey’s favourite especially at feeding time
- Marwell Zoo – Winchester – www.marwell.org.uk/zoo/– prices vary depending on the time of year you visit and if you want to include an optional gift aid donation. In the Summer months adults are £19, under 3s are free and 3-16 years are £15. You can book online or pay on the day. We have been to a number of zoo’s over the last twelve months but we are yet to make it to this one. Its set in 140 acres and has 170 different animal species including tigers, giraffes, snow leopards, rhinos and penguins. They also have special activities on for example this coming half term Dora is making an appearance so its worth checking out their website if you are thinking of visiting.
- Beaulieu – The New Forest – www.beaulieu.co.uk – if you buy in advance online then an adult is £18, a child £9 and under 5s go free. It is open every day except for Christmas Day. We have not visited Beaulieu with Monkey although I do remember going there for a school trip when I was little and seeing a car which looked like an an orange. The ticket will give you access to the National Motor Museum, the Secret Army Exhibition, the World of Top Gear, the Palace House & Gardens as well as Beaulieu Abbey. You also get unlimited rides on the Monorail and Veteran Bus. They have special events on throughout the year and appear to have activities on during most school holidays.
- The New Forest Animal Park – Longdown Nr Ashurst – www.newforestwildlifepark.co.uk – Adults cost £10.95 and children put to the age of 16 are £7.95, under 3s are free. They are open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Now this looks right up our street, we have yet to visit but would love to. There are adventure playgrounds as well as a wide variety of animals and and birdlife. Including several different types of otters (Hubby’s favourite), badgers, deer, wolves, polecats, ferrets, lynx, hedgehogs, bison, boar & wallabies. On their website you can download information on each animal and bird which would be great for older children. They also have a restaurant onsite and specialise in cream teas – yum!
- Spinnaker Tower – Portsmouth – www.spinnakertower.co.uk – Adults cost £9.50, children £7.50 and under 3s are free, you can book online and save 15% and there are also further discounts for residents. We tired to visit one Friday afternoon, its 100 mile round trip for us so I had checked the website before going. It all looked fine, however when we arrived the lift was out of order. Unfortunately 530 steps is not a possible with a three year old, who was bitterly disappointed and to be honest so was I. The staff were friendly and helpful offering to take a phone number. However after a snack in the cafe underneath, which was lovely and clean theres not much more to do on a rainy day so we left as it hadn’t come back up. After all three year olds are don’t make particularly good shopping partners, however there are a wide range of shops in Gunwharf Quays to browse if you choose. My advice would be to call before leaving the house to avoid disappointment!
- Paultons Park – Romsey Nr Southampton – www.paultonspark.co.uk – children under a metre are free, if you buy advanced discounted tickets online then a standard ticket is £24.25. We have not been but many of our friends have and had a great day. From their website
Paultons Family Theme Park Home to Peppa Pig World has over 60 wonderful rides and attractions included in the price. Paultons has been voted as the number 1 UK theme park for families by readers of Netmums, Which?, Mumsnet and by reviewers on Trip Advisor. The Park is set within 140 acres of beautiful parkland on the edge of the New Forest National Park.
- Blue Reef Aquarium – Southsea Portsmouth – www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk – if you buy tickets online then you get a 15% discount on these prices, under 3s are free, adults are £10 and children are £7.75. If you live locally then they also offer a membership pass which could be worth the investment. We have only ever been to Sealife Centres so I am not sure how this measures up. But they have close encounters with sharks and rays as well as over 50 living exhibits. Monkey loves aquariums and they are an ideal bad weather activity so next time we are local we would definitely check it out. In fact its a shame I hadn’t found this before our failed trip to the Spinnaker tower!!
- Milestone Museum – Baskingstoke – www3.hants.gov.uk/milestones – under 5s are free, children £6.33 and adults are £10.40. This looks like a great bad weather activity. Between June and September 2015 they have a special display on looking at victorian dinosaur hunters. In addition they have their normal activities which includes running your own post office for the under 5s, wander through the historic streets, play on the vintage penny arcade, get a sugar hit in the 1940s sweet shop and keep dad happy in the traditional old pub – The Baverstock Arms.
- Watercress Line – 7 miles from Winchester – www.watercressline.co.uk – You can travel all day on your ticket is free for under 2s, children are £8 and adults are £16 which makes it good value compared to some others – We have been lucky enough to visit a few steam railways last Summer once Monkey was getting old enough to be excited. However we haven’t made it to the Watercress line yet, although my mum who is now in her early sixties remembers the name with fond memories, so it will only be a matter of time until we find our way to it. The line runs through four stations – Alresford, Ropley (which includes the ticket bridge from Harry Potter!), Medstead & Four Marks and finally Alton. Buggies are allowed if they fold and have to be placed in brake coach. They run different activities through out the year and have Pepper visiting them during half term. It is also possible to purchase a ‘driving experience’ for the older members of your family.
Three more great suggestions from Kate at V Family Fun:
- Longdown Activity Farm – Ashurst, New Forest – www.longdownfarm.co.uk – under 3s are free, children £8 and adults are £9, plus discounts for family tickets and season tickets are available. Monkey would love this place as there are lots of opportunities to feed farm animals and they have a daily schedule on their website, as well as tractor and pony rides. It also looks like a lovely farm shop on site and the opportunity to buy farm animals…hubby has always wanted pigs. There are also lots of opportunities for play on their website they list softplay, trampolines, a sandpit and infant room, a straw den which sounds amazing, go-karts, tractor ride ons and an outside play area including ping pong tables.
- Finkley Down Farm – Nr Andover – www.finkleydownfarm.co.uk – Under 2s are free, children are £8.95 and adults £9.45. They have a giant indoor play area which can be used all year round. The outdoor play area is extensive with sand pits, den building (how cool), zip wire, gokarts and tractors. They also have a great map on their website which shows all the animals and a timetable of what is going on and when so you can plan your visit. The farm also holds a number of different events on including a Paddington Visit, Pepper Visit and a Fireman Sam Visit.
- Lepe Country Park – Exbury Southampton – Lepe Country Park – parking costs depend on the time of year and how long you are looking to stay it varies from £2-£5.50. It is possible to book a BBQ for a special occasion via their online booking system. For the children there is an outside play area and activities put on in the summer months such as nature detectives and guided walks. Sounds right up our street!! The pictures of the seashore look amazing.
Lepe Country Park has over a mile of beautiful coastline which provides the perfect opportunity to take a tranquil stroll and admire the stunning views that can be seen across the Solent and over to the Isle of Wight.
Thank you Kate for sharing these ideas for days out. Links to the other day out pages in this series are below:
- West Sussex
- East Sussex (coming soon)
- Kent (coming soon)
- Surrey (coming soon)
I will be adding other days out to this post in due course, if there are any which you think should be added please comment below or email me at Mudpiefridays@hotmail.com. Enjoy.