Hello Hampshire: 15 ideas for days out
The school holidays will soon be here again and if you are searching for places to take the kids in Hampshire, then I have some top tips for you.
Hampshire has three fantastic cities to explore; Winchester, Southampton and Portsmouth as well as the stunning New Forest - one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the South East of England with a plethora of fun activities to do with the kids.
The New Forest itself is beautiful and the kids love racing around the trees, spotting New Forest ponies, getting up close and personal with a herd of fallow deer at Bolderwood or visiting the witches cavern in Lyndhurst, a village where they also serve the best ice creams!!
If you are looking for something a little more structured, the New Forest Wildlife Park offers a fabulous day out where you can see a collection of indigenous species in their natural surroundings, as well as getting to play in the huge park. The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu will take you back in time and tell you the story of motoring in Britain, whilst Longdown Activity Farm offers bumpy tractor rides, the chance to bottle feed kid goats and calves and cuddle chicks and rabbits.
In Southampton, there is the new SeaCity Museum, which tells the story of the people of the city, their fascinating lives and historic connections with Titanic and the sea, or visit the ultimate trampoline park playground at Oxygen Free Jumping.
Just outside the city you can visit over 100 species of animals at Marwell Zoo in the 140 acre park which also has a train and 5 adventure playgrounds or if you have Peppa Pig or dinosaur fans in tow, a visit to Paultons Park is a must! Home to Peppa Pig World and the fantastic Lost Kingdom........beware, you will be humming the Peppa Pig music all day though!
Portsmouth is known for its maritime heritage and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The dockyard is home to the interactive National Museum of the Royal Navy, the wooden warship HMS Victory, where Nelson died in the Battle of Trafalgar, and HMS Warrior 1860. The Tudor ship Mary Rose is also conserved in a dockyard museum and when exploring the ships gets a bit much, Action Stations will get the kids racing around a ninja assault course, racing up climbing walls or taking part in experiments to see if they can balance a ship or make a plane take off.
Overlooking the dockyard is Spinnaker Tower, a 170-metre tower offering astounding views over the city and over to the Isle of Wight on three viewing decks. You start your visit with an animated film show and then take the express lift to the top – are you brave enough to stand on the glass floor?
For little scientists, Winchester Science Centre is a hands-on, interactive, science and technology centre - and home to the largest standalone planetarium cinema in the UK! My kids love it here as they can test their reaction times in the sports zone, journey through the human body as if they were food, view the earth as Tim Peake saw it from space and even make their own cyclone!!
If you are looking for an adrenaline pumping activity for older children, iFLY in Basingstoke is a must as you can soar like in a bird in their 14ft (4.3m) diameter, super-smooth, super-fast and super-cool wind tunnel.
Where is your favourite place to visit in Hampshire?