Season Tickets to local attractions in North Hampshire – updated 2017

I’ve recently just invested in a Season ticket for a local attraction. I wanted somewhere that was near to Basingstoke, that we could just pop into after work or when my husband is at work on the weekend.

Paying for entry to attractions can be very expensive, but if you find somewhere that you like, and you know you will visit maybe once a month, it makes sense to invest in a Season ticket.

You also get discounts and extra perks with most Season tickets. I am planning to get a season ticket for a different place each year, so we don’t get bored of the same places.

This is an exceptionally long post. Sorry about that! It was really difficult to know what to include, so I’ve tried to include the key highlights and the costs. Hope you find it useful!

Updated September 2017

Wellington Country Park

Wellington Country Park Season Tickets

How long is it valid for?

Valid for 1 year from the date of purchase.

Under 3’s go free.  

Not only do you receive ‘unlimited access’ to the Park but also a whole host of other benefits…

2017 Season Ticket Benefits

  • UNLIMITED ADMISSION to Wellington Country Park during normal opening hours
  • 3 FREE train ride vouchers for each Annual Pass holder, with all subsequent rides only £1.00 each
  • 5 FREE hot drink vouchers for Adult Annual Pass holders only
  • 3 FREE day passes for Adult Annual Pass holders only
  • FREE PARTICIPATION in all of their in-house events – excluding Christmas and additional ticketed events
  • MONTHLY E-NEWSLETTER to keep you up to date of what takes place at the Park

Please note: Terms and Conditions do apply. For full details, please see ‘Terms and Conditions’ on their website.

How much does a Season Ticket cost?

2017 Prices  

Adult (16+) £74.00
Child (3-15)   £60.00
Children 2 and under FREE

Please Note: Don’t forgot that when your child turns 3 years old, they will need their own Annual Pass

Finkley Down Farm

Finkley Down Farm Season Ticket

An Annual Pass enables each person purchased free admission to the farm park for 1 Year from date of purchase. Ideal for a short visit even after school for a quick play on the playground or all day in the holidays.

Also if you purchase a pass before your child turns two they are free the duration of your pass.

There is also a Childminder’s annual pass, details can be found on their website.

Please note: Terms and Conditions apply.

Person Type Monthly Direct Debit (Online Only) One Off Payment
Family (4 persons) £24.00 £260.00
Adult £7.00 £75.00
Children 2 – 16 Years £6.00 £65.00
Children Under 2 Free Free
Senior Citizen £6.00 £65.00
Student Student ID Required £6.00 £65.00
Disabled + Unnamed Carer Disability Proof Required £6.00 £65.00

Beale Park

Beale Park Season

Season tickets will soon be available to purchase on-line. In the meantime, please read the options on how to buy a season pass below.  A season ticket to Beale Park is fantastic value, offering:

  • Access to the Park for one calendar year from the date of application.
  • 10 train rides during the course of your season ticket
  • Subscription to the Park’s electronic news updates

…and, by becoming a season ticket holder, you are actively supporting the conservation projects that Beale Park undertakes, as well as contributing towards the care of the animals.

It’s easy to join. Simply print out the form on the website and bring it with you to the Beale Park ticket office where, on payment, a photograph will be taken and your application processed, enabling your season ticket to be produced.

How much will it cost

Adult Season Ticket – £48  

Senior Citizens (60+) – £38.00  

Child Season Ticket – £34  

Registered Disabled + Carer – £48  

Family Season Ticket (2 Adults + 2 Children) – £135  

Terms and Conditions apply

Bucklebury Farm

Bucklebury Farm Park Membership

Why not become a Farm & Deer Safari Park member and enjoy access to the farm and deer park throughout the 2017 season? An ideal opportunity for numerous short visits either after school, school holidays, rainy days, to visit the animals, go round the deer park on a tractor, safari or deer expedition, have a stroll or just for the children to let off steam!! All our park attractions are included in the price with the exception of special events. Joining costs you the equivalent of around £5 per month. Make six visits and then go FREE!

The membership includes a 10% discount on group party bookings for 2017. This can be used for birthday parties but also your children’s class (only one discount per class can apply!) at school – well worth mentioning to your children’s teacher. We also offer all season ticket holders a very special 20% discount in Woody’s for ten visits – great for breakfasts, family lunches or just coffee and cake with friends (excluding special event menus).

How much will it cost

Adults – £60

Children & OAPs – £54

Disabled/helpers – £46 each

Many Down Farm

Many Down Farm Season Tickets

Season tickets are valid for unlimited visits during all 4 2017 events. Easter lambing, May Half Term, Summer Maize Maze (Plus all weekends in September), & October Pumpkin Carving

Front Entrance Price Online Discount Price
Adult £37.50 £37.00
Child £37.50 £37.00
Senior Citizen £35.50 £35.00
Under 2’s £0.00 £0.00
Family Tickets Front Entrance Price Online Discount Price
Family of 2 Online Only £73.50
Family of 3 £107.50 £107.00
Family of 4 £137.50 £137.00
Family of 5 £167.50 £167.00
Family of 6 £197.50 £197.00

Terms and conditions apply. Details on entry.  

4 Kingdoms Adventure Park

4 Kingdoms Adventure Park Annual Pass

Enjoy their 12 Special Events through the Summer Season for the price of 6: Purchasing an annual pass costs less than the equivalent of 6 visits over a twelve month period.

You can visit 4 Kingdoms 7 days a week throughout the year: An annual pass runs for a full twelve months from the date of purchase.

“Try Before You Buy”: When you go to 4 kingdoms on any day and buy day tickets for you and your family, if you buy an annual ticket before you leave you will have your day ticket refunded (T&C’s Apply).

An Annual Pass gives you 10% off your child’s special birthday party event at 4 Kingdoms: Choose from any of their special themed birthday parties and get 10% off the price.

An Annual Pass gives you 10% off their magical Christmas Event: Join them for a magical Christmas family experience and get 10% off the ticket price.

Visit 6 times And Every Other Day Is FREE!

Single – £59.90

Family of 2 – £115.00

Family of 3 – £165.00

Family of 4 – £210.00

Family of 5 – £250.00

Birdworld

Birdworld Membership

If you are a regular visitor to Birdworld then why not become a Birdworld member. Their members enjoy many benefits including:

Unlimited Visits – As an Annual Pass holder, you can visit Birdworld as often as you like, be it for half-an-hour or a full day. Just show your pass with photo at the Information Desk on arrival, thereby avoiding any queues at Admissions on busy days.

E-Newsletters – Their regular newsletters will keep you up-to-date with happenings within the Park, so you’ll hear all about new arrivals amongst the birds, fish, reptiles and animals on the farm, seasonal activity in the Gardens, and generally be aware of what’s going on around Birdworld. You may opt to receive this via E-mail.

Annual Pass Holder Events – You can join their team for exclusive events at Birdworld, which are only available to our pass holders. This includes our annual supper evening, which you can enjoy at no extra cost.

Discounts & Special Offers – Annual Pass Holders are eligible for a 10% discount on any purchases from the Gift Shops (excl. foods), and 15% discount on Birdworld Birthday Parties. You will also receive special prices for our Santa’s Winter Wonderland. When buying your pass you will also receive a one off 10% voucher to use on many products at Forest Lodge Garden Centre.

If you are still not sure, then visit Birdworld for the day and they will be pleased to refund the cost of that ticket against the pass if you decide to join on the day.

Pass type 1 year
Adult £55.95
Child £46.95
Pre-School Child (3-6 years) £29.95
Disabled Child £35.95
Concession (Senior citizens, students and disabled adults) £46.95
Family: 2 Adults & 3 Children £185.00
Family: 1 Adult & 3 Children £135.00
2 Adults Joint pass £99.95
2 Concessions Joint pass £89.95
Carer £19.95

The Hawk Conservancy

Hawk Conservancy Membership

By becoming a member you can be an invaluable part of our mission while enjoying as many visits to the Hawk Conservancy Trust as you like – not to mention many other benefits throughout the year.

Participating Member:

As a Participating Member, you can visit the Trust as many times as you like in one year and support our important conservation work. You’ll also receive:

  • invitations to our exclusive Members’ Evenings;
  • discounted tickets for your guests;
  • three HawkTalk newsletters;
  • and our Annual Review.
Adult £55
Joint (couple) £105
Child £24
Family (two adults and two children) £140
Extra child on a family membership £18

Conservation membership and life membership are also available with additional benefits, details of which can be found on their website.

Terms and conditions apply to all membership packages.

Other Passes or Season Tickets

The Living Rainforest review on NHM (The standard admission price entitles the purchaser to an Annual Ticket, which allows free entry for one year, so keep your receipt!) NOTE: the prices have increased since the review and can be found on The Living Rainforest’s website.

National trust

Culture Trust Membership

Merlin Pass

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Review 2017: Beale Park

Thank you to the NHM Secret Reviewer who wrote today’s post.

Review 2017: Beale Park

Like many other afflicted parents, I have a boy addicted to trains. I made the mistake of promising a train ride all week, and today I had to deliver. Fortunately I live in an area where there are quite a few options that aren’t solely about trains, and today was Beale Park – a stunning wildlife park and gardens with a fantastic selection of children’s play areas. Perfect!

Beale Park website

Beale Park Facebook Page

About

Beale Park is a wildlife park and gardens about 30-40 minutes away from Basingstoke, between Lower Basildon and Pangbourne, by the River Thames. There are three main features to the park:

Wildlife:
The park has a collection of small exotic animals, farm animals and birds, including meerkats, wallabies, coatis, owls and peacocks to name but a few. The train passes many of these areas, which can be very useful for tired little feet, although the paths are pushchair friendly. There is also a deer park set in a large open space with picnic area and zip wire. We haven’t been that far yet though.

Attractions:
The park’s miniature train runs every day during their open season and your first ride is included with your entry ticket. There is an additional charge for further rides. There is an amazing Little Tikes Outdoor Village, indoor play area, adventure playground, paddling pool, sandpit, Roplay area and aerial cableway. To be honest, there is so much at the central play area alone, we could spend the whole day there and our boys would be happy (with a train ride of course).

Gardens:
We have so far managed to convince our boys that the way to the main play area is through the Jubilee Water Gardens. That’s not strictly true but the gardens are so stunning we don’t see the harm in being a little sneaky in order to enjoy the amazing walk. With a beautiful oriental feel, I can’t imagine leaving them feeling anything other than relaxed. There is also a ‘Dry Garden’ running alongside the inner lake making it a wonderful feature.

Conservation

Not only is Beale Park an amazing day out for all, it is committed to conservation of rare and endangered species, managing several projects and supporting others. Always a bonus having a great day out and knowing you are contributing to a wonderful cause.

Food

The Peacock restaurant offers a good range of hot and cold food and drinks. I was also surprised and impressed to see on our way out a table offering fresh milk for tea/coffee etc, including soya milk. I don’t know if they cater for special diets, but I will definitely be checking next time!

Tips

Don’t forget your swimming costumes and towels if you’re intending on using the paddling pool

We found it useful to eat early as the restaurant got very busy

It’s also worth keeping an eye out on their website or Facebook page for events

Facilities

There are two toilet blocks with baby change facilities in the park.

The routes around the park are pram and wheelchair friendly.

Parking

There is a large car park to the front of the park with no charge for parking.

Prices

Prices for low and high season can be found on the park’s website: Beale Park admissions

Children under two years old go free

Rating out of 5

Has to be 5/5, there is just so much to do and see

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Review 2017: Thatcham Discovery Centre

Thank you VERY much to the NHM Secret Writer who wrote today’s Review!!!

About

Thatcham Discovery Centre sits within a reserve that has a range of different habitats including a lake, meadow and woodland areas and is adjacent to Thatcham Reedbeds. It also includes adventure playgrounds, cafe, shop and visitor centre with interactive wildlife and natural history displays encouraging visitors to find out about the local wildlife.
Around the reserve are a network of footpaths, ranging from small family-friendly walks to longer walks. A map of the reserve can be found here.

 

The Nature Discovery Centre offers a wide ranging and varied programme of events   throughout the year including hands-on wildlife activities, craft workshops, walks and talks.

You can find out more about the centre on the Thatcham Discovery Centre facebook page.

We had been told about Thatcham Discovery Centre before and so were quite keen to visit. The first thing we saw when we arrived was the adventure playground, which our toddlers loved! It is supposed to be for 8 years plus so they recommend younger children play in the other playground at busier times. Fortunately it was quite quiet so the boys had a really good run around whilst being nicely shaded from the sun on a very hot day! We did visit the other playground, aimed at 3-8 year olds, which was a good size but not shaded so we didn’t stay too long this time.

The centre itself covers a small area over two floors offering interactive displays including jigsaws, soft toys and brass rubbings. The area upstairs has a lovely view over the lake. There is a small shop selling a variety of books, toys and sundries.

In the centre there is also a cafe which opens up onto the lakeside, with tables overlooking the area. There was a limited menu when we were there, and a note apologising for the minimal food that day, but there was still a good amount available and the cake was amazing!

We didn’t go on any of the walks as it was too hot to be dragging toddlers around, but we will definitely be doing so next time. I am also keen to try out some of the events, especially the Bird of Prey event which looked very interesting.

All in all it was a great visit with lots still left to explore, especially with the events programme. Whilst the centre is quite small, it is free and offers a lot of information. The view at the lakeside is amazing, I could have sat there for ages. It is a great place for children to burn some energy, learn about nature, as well as being an enjoyable experience for adults.

Tips and Notices

The older adventure playground is a great place to go when it’s too hot to be out in the sun as it’s shaded by trees.

Dogs are allowed but not in the water and under close control.

No picnics inside during busy periods.

Centre Opening hours (including shop and cafe)

Summer (April-October): Open 7 days a week, including bank holidays. 10:30am-5pm
Winter (November-March): Tuesday-Sunday 10:30am-4pm. Closed Mondays

Silent Space at the Nature Discovery Centre

8am-10am every Saturday and Sunday.

The Silent Space is a secluded meadow area that offers a wonderful spot for quiet contemplation – an opportunity to relax and enjoy this peaceful area within the busy reserve. Find out more here

Facilities

  • Lakeside Café serving homemade hot and cold food
  • Gift shop
  • Toilets, disabled toilet and baby changing facilities
  • Picnic facilities
  • Adventure Playgrounds
  • Bird hide overlooking Thatcham Reedbeds Nature Reserve
  • Signposted walk routes and seasonal trails
    Thatcham Community Orchard

Prices

Admission is free, donations welcome

Charges apply for special events (please see the What’s On web page for more information)

Parking

Car park is open from 8am every day with closing subject to seasonal changes.

Cost is £3 donation

Rating

5 out of 5

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Ready Steady Mum’s – FREE Buggy Walk

We run 3 in different areas of Basingstoke. City centre, Tadley and Beggarwood.

More details are available on the posters below. Even though the classes have already started, you can still join them using the contact details in the posters.

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Warm Swimming pools suitable for babies and young children in North Hampshire

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if anyone could recommend any good and warm swimming pools for a 3 month old and a 5 year old.

Thank you very much to everyone who responded and thank you to Shona for putting this post together! 

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order. 

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NHM Readers Recommend Swimming Pools

Alton Leisure Centre

Jason said: Alton Leisure Centre  

Alton Leisure Centre

Tadley Pool

Wendy said: Tadley is the warmest local pool but not sure they do a baby’s session on a Friday. The Sport Centre has a shallow pool which would make it easier.

Heather said: I’d go to Tadley, it’s warm and there’s no chlorine.

Caroline said: Tadley pool is nice and quiet. They have great sessions for very little ones where they raise the floor too.

Peta recommended Tadley Pool.

Karen said: You are better off in water that’d be chest height if you just going with baby as you can walk with them at a comfortable height without bending over. The raised floor is good for older children. I would recommend Tadley Pool for that reason.

Tadley Pool

Sports Centre

Lisa said: Sports Centre in Town

Kelly said: I have a 5 month old and a 5 year old. I found the Sport Centre in Town was great for my first attempt. Very warm, not too deep and small enough to focus on both kiddies. Left my pushchair in the changing rooms although they do have buggy lockers and took carseat onto poolside.

Caroline said: Town is nice and warm. 

Ellie said: Good and small pool would be great with a 5 year old as well.

Sports Centre

Farnham Leisure Centre

Natasha said: Farnham Leisure Centre from 11am in the teaching pool on a Friday

Farnham Leisure Centre

Coral Reef – Bracknell

Peta recommended Coral Reef.

Karen recommended Coral Reef.

Coral Reef

Coral Reef is now closed for refurbishment until 2017

Aquadrome

Karen recommended the Aquadrome.

Aquadrome

You can read my review on the Aquadrome on NorthHantsMum.

Related Posts

Swimming Pools in North Hampshire suitable for Babies and young Children

Water Babies

Review 2015: Frensham Common

Paddling Pools/Splash Pools in North Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey

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Review 2014: Dinton Pastures Country Park, Berkshire

Thank you very much to this week’s Secret Reviewer, Jo, for her fab review of Dinton Pastures!

Dinton Pastures 

Davis Street, Hurst, RG10 0TH

Dinton Pastures Country Park covers just over 335 acres and has 7 lakes, 2 rivers, 3 public bird hides and meadows.

It offers scenic walks, wildlife watching, fishing, golf, orienteering, water sports and a large play area for children.

I have to be honest and say I have been visiting Dinton year in and year out since I was the same age as my children so it holds a special place in my heart as I have so many memories here!

 

Walks

Dinton is a lovely place to go walking and given the large number of lakes and footpaths you can make these as long or as short as you like really.

The wildlife trails are colour coded and signposted so you can follow these or wander to your hearts content if you prefer.

There is a short route marked for wheelchair and buggy access however in my experience if you have a robust pram/pushchair you should be able to follow any paths.

I have certainly had no trouble pushing my Phil & Teds Sport for miles around some lesser trodden tracks in the park although I wouldn’t attempt a longer walk with my Maclaren stroller.

 

The lakes are beautiful to walk round and I love them equally in the brilliant sunshine of spring & summer, the autumnal colours and the winter crispness.

There are plenty of benches at various points around the lakes to sit down & rest or take in the scenery and there are lots of places where the Ducks, Swans & Geese gather where you can feed them.

One word of warning, if you feed them at the main deck by the far end of the play park then it can become a bit like a scene from the birds.

The Swans & Geese are in large numbers here and are not frightened to surround you which can be very intimidating even as an adult let alone for small children!

I prefer to take our bread to a quieter point round the lake to feed the ducks there.

Play Area

In May this year the new play area was finally opened at Dinton (after delays due to the flooding earlier in the year) and boy was it well worth the wait!

The play space that has been created is nothing short of amazing! It features giant nest towers, swinging hanging logs, zip wires, funnel net trap, willow maze, a storytelling area & woodland obstacle course.

There are swings & slides and lots of sandpit areas.

At the far end closer to the lake is a woodland picnic area & den building structures plus a ‘hobbit’ tunnel and small trampoline suitable for toddlers.

There are other features such as a giants chair and dinosaur eggs to enthral your youngsters and really help their imagines run wild.

The only criticism I can make of this area is that it is so large that it can be very difficult to keep track of your little ones if you have more than one and for toddlers not all the equipment is suitable so you do need to be careful to keep tabs on them.

All in all though this is probably the best play area we have yet visited and there is no concrete in sight. I think it will keep my children entertained for many years to come.

Water Sports

The Dinton Activity Centre part way round Black Swan Lake offers a multitude of water sports including Sailing, Kayaking, Paddleboarding & Windsurfing.

For younger children they also offer pond dipping.

Advance booking is generally required for these activities.

Lots more information can be found on their website via WBC: http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/parks/countryside/dac/

If you are solely visiting for the DAC there is a separate car park which is generally a lot less busy.

Other Activities

Orienteering is available and you can pick up a pack from the café for 50p.

There is a Pay & Play 9 hole golf course (par 70 standard scratch) and clubs, trolleys & buggies are all available to hire again from the café.

For any keen bird watchers there are 3 bird hides available at various points around the park – bring your own binoculars!

Refreshments

Refreshments are available at The Dragonfly café next to the main car park. The café is lovely and has a vast amount of outdoor seating and an outside covered area plus plenty of space indoors too for when the weather isn’t so good.

They are very accommodating towards children & babies.

Prices are very reasonable and I can highly recommend the homemade cakes they serve.

Picnic Areas

There are plenty of picnic benches both inside and outside of the play area and there is also an abundance of green spaces which are perfect for a picnic blanket if the weather is good.

Toilets & Baby Changing Facilities

There are toilet facilities at the café, the rangers office in the main car park and at the Activity centre.

The facilities at the café are the nicest as you would probably expect.

You can access them without having to go through the café. Baby changing facilities are available in the disabled toilets and these are clean and adequate.

Parking

There is a decent sized car park at the main entrance which also has an overflow section if it does get busy.

Alternative parking is available at the Water sports centre or at the aviation museum.

If you use the aviation museum car park you are at the very far end of the country park about as far as you can be from the main entrance and play area and I would allow a good 30-40 minute walk to get there, though on the plus side parking is free in this car park.

Charges for the main car park & the activity centre car park are as follows:

Up to 1 hour – £1.20

1-4 hours – £2.00

Over 4 hours – £2.50

Summary

Dinton is a great place to visit with children of all ages (or even without children). Weather dependent you could spend anything from an hour to a whole day here quite happily.

Rating

5 out of 5

The new play area is worth this alone.

Review 2014: Dinosaur Crazy Golf at the Oracle

Thank you very much to this week’s secret reviewer! Great review!

The Oracle, Riverside performance area (near Pizza Hut), Reading, RG1 2AG.

Jurassic Adventure Golf

Play

At the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading they currently have “Jurassic Golf”.  It’s Dinosaur Crazy Golf for girls and boys.

It is by no means an afternoon or day out but it’s a novelty that keep my monkey entertained with something different for around half an hour.

We went on a Friday morning and had the circuit to ourselves.  I only had to pay entry for those wishing to play so we only paid £3 which is the price for under 4’s.

We paid our fee at the Kiosk, collected our golf ball and golf club and then made our way to the Riverside.

If you don’t have a buggy you can go straight down the steps.  We had a buggy so we walked along the riverside and behind Jamie’s Italian we accessed a walkway which slopped down and around to the riverside.

The plastic dinosaurs in the enclosure are fairly well done and have signs that identify which dinosaur they are along with facts and figures.  There are 9 holes on the circuit, the monkey and I attempted a few.

Some of the holes were a bit too advanced for a 3 year old and non-golfer put together but we did have fun on the ones we did try!  For those who like competition there is a high score board.

Tips

There is a large T-Rex in the middle of the circuit which moves and roars every 15 minutes.  My monkey wasn’t a fan but nothing a Mummy cuddle didn’t resolve.

Food

After our round of golf we came across a vintage Citroen van that had been converted into a ice cream van and was selling whippy New Forest ice cream.

The van was clean, ice cream was yummy and the seating area was clean and tidy.

Jurassic Golf fast facts

  • 1 moving dinosaur that roars
  • 10 life size dinosaur models
  • 9 artificial grass golf holes

Facilities

Opens 11am week days and 10am at the weekend.
Open from now until 30th September 2014.

Baby Facilities

Toilets/nappy changing
Available inside the mall toilets.

Parking

In the Oracle

Prices

£1 off your 2nd visit, voucher is in the leaflet available at the kiosk.

Rating out of 5

Our secret reviewer gave this 5 out of 5.

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Review 2014: California Country Park, Finchampstead

Another fab review by one of our lovely Secret Reviewers!

Thank you Secret Reviewer! 😀

California Country Park

Nine Mile Ride, Finchampstead, RG40 4HT

California Country Park covers 40 hectares and is set within 100 acres of ancient bogland and lowland heath. It offers scenic walks, wildlife watching, fishing and more.

Play

There is a lovely children’s play area next to the main car park. It has plenty of climbing ropes, balancing logs and a small zip wire suitable for pre-schoolers as well as slightly older children.

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There are couple of swings and slides for babies & toddlers and a pirate climbing frame with larger slide that my son loved.

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The play area is probably most suitable up to the age of about 7 years.

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Paddling Pool

Within the play area is a fenced off paddling pool. This was still closed when we visited but is open in the summer months and I think it would be a great hit with children of all ages. It looked a  grubby at the moment but sure once it is cleaned up & filled and the sun is out you could easily bring a picnic and spend the whole day here.

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Walks

There is a short walk of 0.9miles around Longmoor Lake or if you want to go a bit further you can do the Woodland Walk which is 2.2miles long. We did both and my 2.5 year old managed to walk the whole way as he was very interested in picking up sticks and batting them through the long grass on the Woodland Walk.

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The longer walk takes you through the 8,000 year old Longmoor Bog on a specially constructed boardwalk. This was great for pushchairs and my son who loved running up and down the boardwalk. There are a few areas before and after the boardwalk that are still quite boggy and wellies would probably be advisable especially if you have children like mine who love nothing better to run and jump in mud at the first opportunity!

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The shorter walk round the lake was very pleasant and tranquil as there weren’t too many other people about. We stopped at lots to look at the ducks and for my son to swirl the water with the sticks he had collected on the Woodland Walk.

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Refreshments

Unfortunately the California Dreaming Café has been closed down and there are no other café facilities at present. There was a note in the window saying that the Council were looking to provide a permanent replacement in Spring 2014 so hopefully the café will reopen in some form or another soon.

In the meantime make sure you take drinks and food with you.

Picnic Areas

There were only 4 picnic benches that I spotted but there is plenty of grassy areas both inside and outside of the play area which would be lovely to sit with a picnic blanket if you couldn’t get a bench.

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 Toilets & Baby Changing Facilities

Despite the café closure the café toilet facilities are still open between 10am & 4pm.

The disabled toilet has enough space for a double buggy and a pull down baby changing mat with straps. The light wasn’t working when we used it so it was pitch black which wasn’t very helpful.

The Ladies has 4 stalls and a bench area that you could put your own changing mat on.

If the weather is nice I would suggest changing baby on the grass is probably easier. The toilets were fairly clean but not brilliant.

Parking

There is a small car park area next to the old café building and play area and if this is full there is plenty of additional parking a short walk away. Make sure you have the right change whilst the café is shut as there is no means of getting it otherwise (unless you bump into a kind person like me who gives you their remaining ticket). Charges are as follows:

Up to 1 hour – £1.20

1-4 hours – £1.80

Over 4 hours – £2.40

Summary

This is a lovely place to visit for a couple of hours if the weather is nice (or more if you take a picnic). And I suspect it would be a good days entertainment in hot weather when the pool is open.

Rating

3.5 out of 5 – Only due to the lack of cafe facilities

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Review 2014: Legoland

Another Secret Review for you today. I was a bit reticent taking Miss NHM to Legoland, but having read this review, I’ve changed my mind!

Great tips on when to buy passes. Thank you Secret Reviewer, whoever you are! 😀

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Legoland

For the last year we have been enjoying some really nice days out at Legoland with our just turned 3 year Monkey, my husband and myself on our Legoland annual passes courtesy of supermarket points schemes.

We have spent a lot of our visits in Duplo Valley which is a perfect area for Toddlers. We’ve been visiting since he was 2 and we’ve always felt we have had value for money. Some of our favourite rides in the park have been:

Fairy Tale brook (any height is ok)
A gentle boat ride. The queue goes quite quickly for this ride.

Duplo Valley Airport (Riders must be 90cm and above)
A mini helicopter that goes up and down and turns around. You control the speed and height with your own controls. This ride is hidden away in a corner so the queue is not that bad.

Brickville Play Village
Lots of things to climb on and play on. Princess castles, bake shop, fire stations and police stations. No queue time just run in to play.

Duplo Theatre Puppet show (any height is ok)
Covered over auditorium with rows of low benches. You can always see from the back if the benches are full.

Atlantis submarine ride (any height is ok)
We love this ride in a submarine through an aquarium. It’s a popular ride so try this ride as early as possible as it’s always a long queue.

Dino Safari (Riders must be 90cm and above)
Ride along in a jeep on a track to see lots of big lego dinosaurs. The queue for this ride is usually quite quick and one of our favs.

Orient expedition train ride (any height is ok)
Train ride around a section of the park. A firm favourite for all the family.

Boating School (any height is ok)
A ride in a battery powered boat around a water track. Try this ride as early as possible as it’s always a long queue.

Dragons apprentice Mini roller coaster (Riders must be 90cm and above)
A new one for us last weekend. It’s a fast bendy ride. I was worried it was a step too far for monkey when we riding but at the end he sat there and clapped his hands in delight.

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I found the best time to visit is a week day during term time, you can pretty much walk on to any ride you choose. During Summer holiday weekends the park is heaving. What we have tried doing is going to the park late afternoon and making use of the park until closing time, this only works if you have a pass though.

In the two blocks of toilets I checked out at the park the toilets by Dino Safari were the best. They have lockable cubicles which have a fold down changer, sink and toilet. The toilets by the Pirate lake only has 2 baby changing areas which are built in to the same unit as the row of sinks. So you do the change in the communal area.

I would really recommend taking a picnic for your trip. The cost of food and drink in the park is super expensive. In fact anything you buy when you are in the park is expensive even with pass holder discounts. Luckily for us our monkey doesn’t ask us for much from the shops but if you have older children who do ask it could be an expensive day out for you. I did think I could pick up some cheap Duplo in the main gift shop but to be honest the prices are not that dissimilar to my beloved Amazon. Bank machines are available inside the park at the entrance.

If you want to buy any pictures from your rides Legoland are offering this year a photo pass. It’s £20 for 4 pictures which you can spread over the course of multiple visits, otherwise it’s £10 for one photo.

Our monkey had a phase of not wanting to sit in his push chair but wants to be carried instead. We have been hiring a plastic push cart for him outside the main gift shop which has a play steering wheel, sun shade and a drinks holder. He quite happily hops in and out of it and saves our arms and backs! There are single or double push carts to hire.

Legoland is expensive to attend for just a day visit. But if you think of it as an investment purchase it can work out cheaper. We bought an annual ticket to Legoland through Tesco Clubcard voucher deals which this year costs £28 of Clubcard points for an Adult. We were then sent a voucher which we cashed in as a photo ID pass on our first visit to Legoland. The pass also gives us free parking and 10% discount in the restaurants (not food kiosks) and gift shops. If your monkey or princess is under 3 they can get in for free.

An annual pass online with Legoland direct is £99 inc 10% discount. But keep an eye out for their sales, during 2013 there were sales in January and July. There are deals in national newspapers at certain times of the year for Legoland tickets so it’s a question of waiting for the right deal for you.

It takes 45 minutes to reach Legoland from Basingstoke via the M3.

Post code for your sat nav is SL4 4AY.

The Legoland website says please follow the brown signs when visiting as the post code does send some sat nav users to a residential street.

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Bopping Babies at Wellington Country Park

Polly asked me to let you know about her Bopping Babies classes at the Wellington Country Park.

Miss NHM LOVED Bopping Babies when she was little and I’m itching to go again soon!  The added bonus is the time in Wellington Country Park afterwards.

I can highly recommend these classes. Much, much fun and generally had me singing the music for the rest of the day! :-D.

Bopping Babies at Wellington Country Park

Bopping Babies starts their new 12 week term on the 25th April at Wellington Country Park. The classes will run up to the start of the summer holidays.

A fantastic mornings outing full of fun, entertainment and outdoor adventure. Every week there will be a different theme at each weekly class.

Come and enjoy a great fun filled session followed by fun in the park afterwards!

The class will be £5 for adult and child (season ticket holders) or £6 a class (non season ticket holders).

Please contact info@boppingbabies.co.uk or call 01256 884150 to reserve your place.

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