Forest Fun: Day out at Alice Holt Forest Woodland Park
Since having children, Alice Holt Forest has become my favourite place for a family day out. It’s the perfect location for blowing off some steam for a few hours when you just need to get the kids outside or for a longer day with friends. Children (and grown–ups) can walk, cycle, play in the many play areas and or swing through the trees at Go Ape.
It can get busy in the school holidays, but we’ve always managed to find a parking space whatever the time of year. We often visit on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve when it’s fairly quiet and there’s something about that time of year that makes the forest seem extra magical.
Entry to Alice Holt is free, there is a small parking charge, but it’s great value. Here are some of our favourite things to do at Alice Holt Forest Woodland Park:
Cycling and Cycle Trails
I have many happy memories of cycling around Alice Holt as a family. On one occasion my youngest daughter was only 5 and wanted to try the Family Cycle Trail on her own bike rather than in a trailer. One of the hills is quite steep and if I’m honest was a bit of a struggle for me. She found herself behind some other cyclists and just wouldn’t give up. When she finally made it to the top, she burst into tears as she was so relieved to have made it. We were so proud of her determination and she soon cheered up!
There is a much easier Beginners Cycle Trail however if you don’t fancy the Family Trail, but I’d recommend giving it a go as the scenery is just beautiful with lots of great places to stop en route if you need a rest.
Bikes can be hired from The Alice Holt Cycle Centre, please check the website for more information.
Alice Holt has many play areas located around the forest. The main play area located near the entrance has a large pirate ship, swings and lots of things to climb on. Just outside this area is a large 3D maze, which my children love to run around in.
We general walk around the Habitat Trail every time we visit. It’s a lovely walk with play areas en route which I find makes my children forget they’re on a walk with Mum and Dad as they’re so busy running between the different play areas. There’s an owl with a fireman’s pole, a spiral staircase inside a tree trunk, a giant bat and moth and even play tunnels. The Habitat Trail is perfect for when you’re a bit short on time, but still want to get the kids out and about in the fresh forest air.
If you want to explore further into the forest, Stickman and the Gruffalo are hiding along one of the walks and well worth looking for.
We’ve been to several birthday parties at Alice Holt. Barbeques can be booked so you can cook up a feast while the children run around working up an appetite.
Alice Holt and other Forestry Commission sites often hold special events. In the past, we’ve tried lantern making, done a night time walk and followed various trails. Currently, there is a Gruffalo Spotter Trail running. You simply download The Gruffalo spotter app and then once on the trail looks for clues which lead to footprint marker posts. If you point the app at these you’ll see Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake and the Gruffalo appear! You can also buy an activity pack from the visitor centre for £3.
All in all Alice Holt is a great low-cost family day out, perfect for any time of year. Have you ever visited? Let us know in a comment below, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!