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


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:

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.

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).

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.


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.


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!


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


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

The routes around the park are pram and wheelchair friendly.


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


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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Molly’s market: FREE ENTRY – Saturday 7th October 2017

A frequent conversation of mums with small children revolves about what can we do instead of going back to work to earn some money around our children, and one day during such a conversation our NCT group realised that we actually know quite a few people who have set up their own businesses since having children, and that we should support them as much as possible – and so the idea for Molly’s Market was born.

All the stalls are run by mums who have set up businesses, either things they make themselves or “shop” businesses like Usborne books, so there will be a wide range of goods for sale from handmade clothes, cosmetics and toiletries, children’s books, jewellery, crafts, greetings cards and gifts, to delicious homemade cakes – “byMum’sforeveryone“.

Entry to the market is free, with any profits going to Sebastian’s Action Trust – a charity which provides support for families of seriously-ill children. They have the UK’s only purpose-built facility that offers respite holidays to very sick children and their families, near North Waltham, which enables precious time to be spent together, a cause both local and close to our hearts as we all have small children.

Refreshments will be available and a raffle of items from the stalls, both in aid of Sebastian’s Action Trust.  Zingtastic will be providing a taster of their music classes to entertain any little ones, and KMS are providing taster massages for grown ups. And to top it off, a swap shop where you can pick up some children’s clothes for free, and donate your unwanted clothes!

Please come along to support some local businesses, raise money for a great charity and get a head start on your Christmas shopping!


Christ Church, Reading Road, Chineham, RG24 8LT

7th October 10am-12 midday

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Review 2017: Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room

 Thank you very much to the NHM secret Reviewer who wrote this post!

Review 2017: Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room

I’m currently very excited about our upcoming family camping trip, but have been wondering how to keep small J warm as he wriggles free from sleeping bags and blankets quicker than I can replace them. I enlisted Grandma to knit some knee length woolly socks ready for our trip and found myself taking her to Pack Lane wool shop in Kempshott. Imagine our delight to not only discover a treasure trove of all things sparkly and crafty but a lovely little tea room out the back.

Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea room is a hidden delight, that I almost want to keep to myself. We treated ourselves to afternoon tea, hot chocolate and cake – which is all made by the team that run the tea room. Small J was delighted with his gingerbread man and hot chocolate and happily for the grownups they were served in child friendly plastic mugs and plates so we didn’t need to worry about accidental breakage of the beautiful crockery.

My cream egg cheesecake was moreishly smooth, even Grandma decided to taste and then had to be fended off so she didn’t finish it!  Dangerously they also provide a take away cake service, so Mr J was lucky enough to sample the Crunchie cheesecake cake after his dinner that night, which went down very very well with him. They also serve gluten free cake options. The service was quick and friendly and the tearoom had a lovely family vibe about it.

We’ve already planned a return trip when I shall be to trying out the lunch menu (and more cake of course!)

The tearoom also serves breakfast and makes cakes and cupcakes for birthdays and other occasions to order. Children can celebrate their birthday with an afternoon tea party, during which they also get to decorate a cupcake to take home.

On site there are toilet and baby changing facilities, a small car park, and beware – a tempting Pick and Mix selection that takes up most of a wall! (I’m thinking of putting blinkers on Mr J when I take him)

Booking is essential for busy times. Check out their Facebook page for more @ Kittystiltedteacuprearoom or call them on 01256 321166.

Unit 2, 171 Pack Lane, Kempshott, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 5HN

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Proteus Café Reopening Celebrations & Family Fun Day!!!

The Creation Space Café

Monday 13th February – Saturday 18th February
9.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday
11am – 3pm Saturday

To celebrate the reopening of our café, we will be running a week of promotions and activities, culminating in a family fun day!

Starting on Monday 13th February, there will be offers and discounts available in the café, giving you the perfect excuse to come and try our drinks, cakes and lunches!

An ideal opportunity to catch up with friends, or to enjoy some time away from the office!

We will be having a family fun day on Saturday 18th February, from 11am to 3pm, offering the chance to try some new activities and have some fun!

Activities will include children’s art, craft workshops using recycled materials, musical activities for younger children, a ball pit and an indoor bouncy castle! And it is all free!!

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Child-friendly restaurants in Basingstoke

Child-friendly restaurants in Basingstoke


Giraffe – Town Centre

Zizzi’s – Top of Town Centre

Wagamamas – Town Centre

  • Baby Changing facilities are available in the Disabled toilet
  • Seating is on benches and generally not comfortable for breastfeeding
  • Fast and healthy food
  • If you sit at the tables near the entrance, there is enough parking for pushchairs next to the tables at the back
  • If you are pressed for time (evening feeds, etc.) you can check out your local Wagamama’s menu on the iPhone or iPad Wagamama application or check online in advance. The Mobile Applications allow you to place your order so it is ready when you arrive. You can also order takeaway using this option.
  • Excellent air con, so if it’s hot outside, this is a great place to be!

Pizza Express – Town Centre

Coal Bar and GrillTown Centre

  • One free child meal Monday – Friday between 12pm and 5pm with an adult spending £10

Pizza HutTown Centre

Debenhams Town Centre

  • Two different types of highchair, one for babies who can’t sit up and standard ones for babies who can sit up.
  • Toilets right next to restaurant with baby changing facilities
  • Selection of children’s food

Nandos Town Centre

  • Pushchairs to be left by front door
  • Not much space for highchairs


Pizza Express – South Ham

  • Baby Changing facilities in Disabled toilets, with cover for babies to lie on
  • Children’s menu available
  • Parking in car park is very small. Alternative parking is available at the football ground which is 3 mins walk away, however, you will need your pushchair as it’s too far to carry the car seat from.
  • Dyson hand dryers (it’s the little things that count!)
  • Very friendly people who like babies!
  • Check for discounts before going

Pizza Hut – Same shopping area as Toys R Us

The Harvester – South Ham

  • Tables aren’t big enough for Pushchairs
  • Nappy Bin smelt horrible
  • Menu shows the calorie content of each item
  • New kids menu and there are 2 sizes of children’s meals, one recommended for under 5’s and one for under 10’s

Mcdonalds Drive through – Same shopping area as Toys R Us

  • If you’re feeling more slummy mummy than yummy mummy and can’t be bothered to mobilise the army, this is a very quick place to get lunch

Morrisons CafeSouth Ham

  • Baby changing facility – not right near the restaurant but not far.
  • Space for pushchairs and highchairs
  • Baby food heating station and they even have disposable bibs
  • Small children’s play area
  • One child per adult meal over £4.50 eats free after 3pm
  • They have sandwich boxes where you can pick your snack/sweet for children as well as hot meals
  • Can be quite slow at lunchtime

Sainsbury’s CafeHatch Warren

The Beech ArmsOakley (Carvery)

The Dome Cafe ProjectBrighton Hill

Nelson’s DinerKingsclere

  • Friendly staff who welcome children
  • Good kids menu
  • Portions are large

SubwayBrighton Hill

  • Breastfeeding welcome
  • Children’s meal deals
  • Highchairs available

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NHM readers recommend child friendly coffee shops

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook for recommendations for child friendly coffee shops in Basingstoke and the surrounding areas. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!). 

Thank you very much also to Shona for putting this together! 😀

Please note, these are in no particular order!

NHM readers recommend child friendly coffee shops

1. The Tea Bar

Rachael recommended Tea Bar.

The Tea Bar

  1. Dome Cafe Project

Kath said: It’s a great venue that I often forget about

The Cafe Project

3. Little Roses – Tadley Garden Centre

Jo said: Little Roses, part of the garden centre on the way to Tadley, they have sofas and a kids corner with toys upstairs.

Melanie said: Little Roses is great.

Lisa also recommended Little Roses

Little Roses

  1. Wyevale – Reading Road

Madeline said: Wyevale Garden Centre on the way up to Reading has a toy box and a playhouse in the garden.


  1. More of the Good Stuff – Dummer

Kelly said: There is a lovely one in Dummer.

Fiona also recommended More of the Good Stuff.

More of the Good Stuff

  1. Redfields Garden Centre

Alison said: It has a cafe and children’s play area upstairs

Redfields Garden Centre

7. Wellington Farm Shop Cafe

Ruza said: Comes with outside space and activities. Inside big tables for spreading with toys.

Wellington Farm Shop Cafe

8. Jolly Olly’s – Oakley

Lisa recommends Jolly Olly’s.

Jolly Olly’s

9. St Gabriel’s – Popley

Rebecca said: There is a cafe with toys at St Gabriel’s in Popley on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

St Gabriel’s

10. Coffee & Co – Christ Church, Chineham

Madeleine said: On Mondays, 9.30-11.30. Toys, dressing up, play area, friendly staff and inexpensive cake!

Coffee & Co

11. NCT Coffee and Chat – Brookvale

Stephany said: Don’t forget NCT coffee and chat at Brookvale on Friday mornings.

NCT Coffee & Chat

Are there any other places that you would recommend that aren’t mentioned on this list?

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“Breastfeeding Welcome” places in North Hampshire – Feb 2015


I’ve noticed a lot of “breastfeeding friendly” signs in the area recently.

It’s so awesome to see these signs out and about.

I’ve been meaning to try to find more details about this for ages but I only stumbled on the website below because of something that someone else mentioned on another post.

Thank you very much to Fran and Sarah for inspiring this post after our discussion on the Cafe Project post I recently published and thank you for providing the link to the website below. 

“Breastfeeding Welcome” places in North Hampshire

If you are looking for details about breastfeeding in public in Basingstoke and Deane or are a business that would like to participate, check out the following website:

Also, they have links to pdf’s about current Breastfeeding support in Basingstoke (YAY! I’ve finally found the original source!!) and participating businesses:

Participating Businesses:

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Birth art cafe Basingstoke

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This looks so cool and I’m going to do my very best to attend!

I’ve checked with the team who are running this and you don’t need to have a baby to attend the cafe and you don’t have to be good at art, which is a relief, cause I’m totally rubbish at art! lol.

Birth art cafe Basingstoke

Do you need some me time? Time out to reflect and think?

Birth art cafe is for all mothers wherever you are on your mothering journey.

It is time out to reflect and listen to yourself in a group where you will not be judged.

It is a space where it does not matter how you birthed, how you feed, how you parent you are all welcome.

It is a time to relax in the company of other women, it is a safe space to share however much you feel safe to.

No art experience is needed.


Come along, eat cake, drink tea, dabble in some art and relax.

First session is on the 12th feb starting at 19:30, non mobile babies are welcome to come along and baby noise is welcome.

We charge £7.50 to cover the cost of art materials and petrol and we are based in Chineham.

For more information have a look at our Facebook page and to get the address pm or email me on

Reasonably Priced Afternoon Tea’s

I’m always looking for new places to visit. I live by the philosophy “variety is the spice of life!” So I’ve been searching for some new coffee shops to visit. I have my old favourites (Roses Tea Shop and the Tea Parlour) but it’s always good to find some new places.

If you are looking for somewhere a bit different to the usual Costa “Packet”, Cafe Nero’s or Starbucks, then check out the list of Cafe’s below:

The Parlour Tea Room – Viables

I LOVE It here. I haven’t been in a while but the cakes are awesome and if you are hungry I totally recommend the Farmer’s package. It comes on the cutest cake tray’s and there’s LOADS to eat.

You need to book in advance though as it’s so popular now. The best way to book is to phone up.

Little Roses Cafe behind Elm Tree Garden Centre, on the way to Tadley

I love the Little Roses Cafe but I haven’t been for such a long time! I hope it’s as good as it was when I used to go on maternity leave. I’ve written about Little Roses before HERE. They used to have excellent baby changing facilities and I hope they still do!

Newlyns Farm – just off Junction 5 of the M3.

I like Newlyns Farm for a cuppa and a cake. Plus, if the piglets are out, they are great fun to watch!

The Curiositea room – on the way to Tadley

I haven’t been here yet as it’s only just opened, but it’s on my list of places to try out soon!

M&S Cafe – Chineham

I like the cafe in M&S in Chineham because it’s free parking, the cafe has loads of space and seating and it has very serious air conditioning which is perfect in a heatwave! lol.

The men’s toilets also have babychanging facilities which is a plus in my book. The free crayons and drawing paper always go down a treat.

We sometimes go here for dinner as they always have a couple of meals on the menu and it’s always really quiet in the evenings.

The portions are smaller than average but I quite like this. The meals are quite healthy though and the options for little one’s are good quality meals which can also be purchased from M&S Simply Food downstairs.

Aristology Cafe – Fairfields at the top of town.

Lovely place and was recommended by NHM readers.It’s only recently just opened.

It’s like sitting in someone’s living room, but having cake and tea/coffee on tap! Lots of toys and books for the little ones and lots to look at an investigate. I LOVED the little bottles for the children and the gluten free cake rocked!

Highly recommended, although there isn’t baby changing facilities, so make sure to take your travel changing mat with you ;-).

The Tea Bar – top of town

I still haven’t been here yet, but I hear great things about it.

Milestones Cafe

I haven’t been here either! However, the 1950’s cafe looks fab!

Wyevale Garden Centre cafe, Sherfield on Loddon

I’ve been here a few times recently and it’s quite nice but the meals are expensive and the facilities for children are no longer as good as they used to be.

It’s nice to go for a cuppa though, especially if it’s nice weather and the garden is open.

The Dome Cafe

Another place I haven’t been too but have heard great things about. Lovely concept and great to support the local community.

The Departures Lounge – on the road to Alton

I’ve only been here once but the time I went it was lovely. The food was good quality and the cakes all home made.

The novelty factor is the airplane that is coming out of the back of the cafe. Awesome for toddlers who are obssessed with airplanes, like mine is! lol.

Are there any other Cafe’s you can recommend in the area?

Related Links

Luxury Afternoon Tea in and around Basingstoke

9 Foody Places to go as a group of Mums with babies/toddlers

Are you looking for somewhere to meet up with several of your friends, their babies and pushchairs/buggys?

The list below are some of the foody places you could visit that welcome large groups of Mum’s and babies:

1. Queens College Arms – Tadley road

Recommend booking in advance and asking for the “big” table. They have baby changing facilities onsite and bottle warming facilities. Very friendly and welcoming of Mum’s and babies. For bigger children, there is a climbing frame in the pub garden.

2. Little Roses Tea Shop – Elm Tree Garden centre, just up from the Queens College Arms

They have excellent baby changing facilities and even provide free baby wipes and nappy bags! There is a changing station and several highchairs upstairs if you don’t want to take your pushchair in. Recommend looking in the Chests/tables as there is a treasure trove of toys that will keep children amused for a while. Very welcoming of Mums and babies.

3. Dayers – Chineham Business Park

This place is normally empty in the mornings. They do good breakfasts and cake. Gets busy at lunchtime, so maybe not the best place to go for lunch.

Unfortunately they don’t have baby changing facilities (they used too!) but they do have large toilets so if you don’t mind doing emergency nappy changes on your changing mat on the floor, you should be ok.

4. Dobbies Garden Centre – Tilehurst (25 mins from central Basingstoke)

If you fancy going a bit further afield or live near Reading, it’s worth checking out the restaurant of this Garden Centre. They have a large restaurant with a big outside eating area. Seems to be quiet because it’s outside of central Reading.

5. Wyevale Garden Centre – Sherfield on Loddon

They have a large restaurant and outside area. The baby changing facilities are good, but are in the ladies toilets. I recommend signing up for the Gardening Club as you rack up the points quite quickly which give you discounts in the store and restaurant.

6. The Cafe Project, The Dome, behind Asda in Brighton Hill

Open Tuesday to Friday’s from 9.30am.

7. Portsmouth Arms – Hatch Warren

8. Costa Coffee – Hampshire Centrecourt Hotel (Behind the large Tesco’s)

The Service is slow but you can sit indoors or outdoors and there are baby changing facilities

9. Conkers Garden Centre

Related Posts

9 things to do in Basingstoke with a newborn

8 Cheap Restaurants in Basingstoke

11 Places to Breakfast with children in North Hampshire