We love a day out whether it’s just a weekend day popping out somewhere, or a day out while on holiday. I think I’m addicted to seeing new places – something my mum always encouraged when we were children. And with N being engrossed in the farm, I’m keen to ensure he gets to experience as much as possible around so it gives me choices for when he is older.
I’m planning a series of posts based on round ups of places we’ve loved on our travels. Hopefully it’ll make them easier for you to find, especially if you’re looking for recommendations for places to visit. I may also introduce you to some other bloggers where they have recommendations. Because yes, if you’re looking for guidance on where to go you want to hear from visitors to the area, but also from people who live nearby too.
First up, family days out in Hampshire
History, culture and museums
Perfect for: kids learning about historic naval battles/Tudor times, history and boat lovers. You can return within 12 months with your entry, and do that if possible because there’s so much to see and do. Both dry docked boats, boat trips out, includes the Mary Rose and HMS Victory.
Royal Submarine Museum – Portsmouth
Find out more about the mystery of submarines and the naval history in the area
The largest roman palace find in Britain, great for an educational trip or sitting outside in the roman gardens. Good for a stop off as you can be done in a couple of hours.
Beaulieu motor museum – Beaulieu, New Forest
Perfect for: car and vehicle fans. With a house to look round, a nod to historic war times, a monorail, formal garden, vintage bus rides, a Top Gear exhibition and the motor museum itself, there’s something for every age and interest. It will take a full day to see everything.
Basing House – Basingstoke
Perfect for civil war fans – look out for re-enactment days
I’ve only been to the Science museum for a conference, but there’s certainly lots to explore and not as busy as London’s or Birmingham’s Science museums.
Milestones Museum, Basingstoke
For bygones – take your grandparents to hear their take on the displays.
Mottisfont – Romsey, nr Winchester
Beautiful rose gardens in summer, but still wonderful with a sensory garden full of colour in winter. Sometimes the house has touring exhibitions. Great for natural outdoor play – take wellies and waterproofs for the children to explore the water play area.
The Vyne – nr Basingstoke
The Vyne house has undergone a lot of restoration recently, so worth a visit.
Animals and nature
Marwell Zoo – Nr Winchester
We loved Marwell – look out for seasonal events, there’s a miniature train and tractor ‘train’ rides around the zoo.
New Forest Wildlife Park – Nr Ashurst/Lyndhurst
Teach children about the wildlife around them in the beautiful new forest setting
A farm is a perfect day out for younger children – get to feed or pet the animals, and there’s usually good play areas as well
Finkley Farm – Andover
Charlie’s Farm – Cholderton
Longdown Activity Farm – Ashhurst, New Forest
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens – Amfield, Romsey
Enjoy gardens throughout the year, plus there’s a great adventure playground
Hawk Conservancy Trust – Andover
Enjoy some falconry and get up close to meet the birds
Blue reef aquarium – Portsmouth
This isn’t the largest aquarium but you can get so close to the rays, and there’s a lovely outdoor play area for children.
Beaches and harbours
Perfect for: days on the beach, beach hut adoration, paddling and sandcastles
Barton on Sea
Perfect for: blowing the cobwebs away, and looking for fossils. There’s a beach café and a grassy area at the top of the cliff but not much else other than rocks to climb on and to sift through.
Spinnaker Tower Portsmouth
There’s so much to do around Portsmouth, including shopping and leisure at Gun Wharf Quays (although don’t try to buy a quick sandwich, coffee shops are in short supply), but for a view above and over the water, book a ticket to go up the Spinnaker tower.
Southsea’s on the edge of Portsmouth with plenty to do. Celebrate the naval history and enjoy the common or play area
Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World – nr Romsey
Perfect for: toddlers and pre-schoolers who love the pig, dinosaur lovers, and older children being introduced to theme park rides without them being too overwhelming. Look out for deals on the website, and potentially think about doing 2 days if you want to experience everything
Train rides on the Watercress Line – Alresford Station
Perfect for train fans, for feeling like you’ve gone back in time. They do themed days like Thomas the Tank Engine
Steam machinery at Hollycombe – Liphook
Trains and more at Hollycombe
Beaches, outdoor activities and more. Easily reached by ferry or hovercraft from Southsea or Portsmouth
Places to stay
Crowne Manor House Hotel – family friendly, right on Lyndhurst high street, handy location for getting out and about around the New Forest.
Queens Hotel Southsea – for old fashioned charm, and a handy location for families, right opposite Southsea Common and easy walking to the beach.
Hopefully you’ll find this snapshot of place to visit and things to do on family days out in Hampshire helpful. Let me know if you’ve any other places you love to visit for the perfect day out.
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