Review 2018: Stonor Park, Henley on Thames

Thank you very much to Emma for today’s NHM Secret Review! She’s done an awesome job :-D.

About

Stonor Park is a beautiful stately home found in the sprawling countryside near Henley on Thames. The house itself is open on various dates throughout the year and showcases art, treasures and a step back in time. However, as beautiful as it is, the reason that we loved our visit to Stonar Park was for the Wonder Woods play area that has been built and the beautiful gardens you can explore.

The adventure play area is really big and includes massive slides, swings, water play, climbing frames and gigantic zip wire. We arrived as soon as Stonor park opened at 10am and by 12.30pm the kids were still merrily throwing themselves around on the play equipment. We had to remind them that they needed to eat!

Once we had exhausted the play area we took a wander around the grounds and the children really loved all of the little winding pathways that they could run off and explore – it felt a bit like ‘The Secret Garden’ – really magical.

Alongside all of the exciting things to see, the facilities are also excellent. They have wonderfully clean toilets, a baby changing room, on site parking, gift shop and a café.

Tips

Take a picnic if you feel that way inclined, as they have a lovely big picnic area for you to enjoy whilst watching the Deer frolic amongst the trees.

Be aware that the play area is set on a very steep hillside. I had my baby in a pushchair and I managed to take it all the way up to the top but it was quite a work out to do so, perhaps leave it in the car and grab a sling instead! I also don’t think it would be particularly accessible if you had any mobility issues.

You can pay to visit the whole site (including the house) or just for the gardens and Wonder Woods.

Finally, I suspect that the day was made by the beaming sunshine – it is quite an exposed spot so I am not sure if it would be the same in the pouring rain.

Rating

We had a wonderful day out and I think in good weather it is most definitely a top scoring location! 5/5!

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NHM Readers Recommend: Buggy Friendly Walks with a Tea/Coffee Shop at the End

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with the following question: “Do you know of any buggy friendly walks with tea/coffee shop at the end? Know of Eastrop, Beggarwood and War Memorial.”

Many thanks for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Buggy Friendly Walks with a Tea/Coffee Shop at the End

Rebecca said “There is one in Rooksdown on Thursday morning. We haven’t started to yet but have been talking of ending the walk at a local Costa or with a picnic.”

Mary said “Basingwoods is good for buggies. There is sometimes a cafe in the popley fields community centre but i can’t remember dates etc. Also from there you can walk up to st Gabriel’s which sometimes has a cafe. I think you need to check their websites for times.”

Emma said “Sherfield on London is nice! Take the little ones to see the ducks, play on the park, walk all around the big greens and across the streams and then there’s a lovely cafe on the corner with a post office in the back”

Wendy said “Greenham common are on the verge of opening their cafe in the old control tower. It will be staffed by volunteers so not open every day. Check their facebook page for details. https://www.facebook.com/GreenhamControlTower/

Lauren said “Beggarwood is ok and the community centre has a really nice cafe”

Karen M said “Kempshott/oakley multi user path and jolly ollie’s in oakley or kitty’s in kempshott”

Karen J said “Go on ready steady mum’s group”

Ruza said “Farnham great park, and the cafe is reality good.”

Ruchira said “Ready steady mums walk at Eastrop park on a Wednesday at 1”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Local Places to go for Large Groups with Pushchairs

I recently asked the NHM Community “I’m looking for suggestions of local places to go for large groups of Mums with pushchairs and little ones under 6 months old, especially places to eat or drink at.”

Many thanks for all your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend local places to go for large groups with pushchairs

Rachel said “Wellington country park, eastrop park, memorial park. When I met up with the mum’s from my NCT group we found Longbridge Mill to be accommodating (we just used to warn them when we booked).”

Emma said “Beggarwood park- there’s a cafe at the new community centre

Kate said “Tea bar quite roomy in the afternoon when it’s quieter.”

Helen said “Giraffe have always been very welcoming for our buggyfit socials. They have a big room at the back they let us use and Mums can bring in buggies and feed comfortably

Lisette said “Our NCT group often met at Starbucks in festival place. At the tables and chairs outside. Always plenty of room”

  • Mary replied “We also cause total havoc on a weekly basis as the ‘outside’ seating upstairs means we aren’t in anyone’s way.”

Hannah said “Hook garden centre are good”

  • Lottie replied “Another vote for hook garden centre here”
  • Pauline said “Hook Home and Garden Centre great kids play area and cafe with amazing cakes!

Jessica said “Aingels Cafe and Bistro, lots of parking, relaxed environment and plenty of room.”

Tracy said “Dome cafe Brighton Hill is fab.”

Sarah said “Nando’s rearranged their outdoor tables for a big group of us!”

Jo said “More of the Good Stuff has lots of space and a little fenced off indoor play corner too. LOVELY cake!

Steph said “The cafe in John Lewis has loads of room but that’s more lunch/cake”

Karen said “Roses cafe

Kathryn said “Redfields garden centre in church crookham might be too far for your group”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Bus and Train Journeys for Kids

An NHM Reader recently asked “My daughter wants to go on bus/train but I don’t know of anywhere from Basingstoke to really go that has something at the other end worthwhile doing with 2-3 children. Good way of avoiding some of the wet weather!!”

Thank you to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Bus and Train Journeys for Kids

Victoria said “We like going to Bramley on the train and the bakery-simple but the kids love it. The other place is Whitchurch silk mill but it’s a little trek from the station to the town-my 3 and 6 year old walked it though”

Wendy said “You could feed the swans on the Thames at the back of Reading station or there’s this 10 min walk from Southampton parkway http://www.steamtrain.co.uk/ You could also just get the bus to Chineham and go to the library.”

Holly said “There’s the new WWF centre in Woking https://www.wwf.org.uk/…/living-planet…/plan-your-visit

Mo said “You could take the Newbury bus and go to 4 kingdoms – as bus stop right outside entrance..”

Stacey said “Only a short journey but you could take the purple bus from town to the leisure park – lots to do there – Milestones, bowling, skating, swimming, food etc”

Lianne said “Little Street in Frimley is really good. I think you have to change trains though to get there from here”

Katie said “We quite enjoy getting the bus to/from Sainsbury’s and popping into Sainsbury’s cafe. Or you could just choose something from Sainsbury’s to take home?”

Lindsey said “Train to Winchester…loads of coffee shops, the library, the cathedral, there are usually buskers on the high street.”

  • Becky replied  “I was going to suggest Winchester!”

Karen said “Milestones.(or swimming/ice-skating/bowling/cinema) Get the shuttle bus from town. Hatchwarrren Sainsbury’s and go to pets at home or beggarwood park. Train to winchester – the library is a few mins walk or there’s the water mill you can visit. Little street frimley although the train to the weybridge one is more direct. To Andover and it’s about 10 minutes walk to the shops and there’s a play place inside (role play sorry I forget the name) Bus to chineham park (6) and walk behind Lidl and you’ve got playdays on stewart road or change to the number 4 and go to chineham for the library they’ve got crafts from 10-12 today.”

Colleen said “If you’re looking for a big day out, Portsmouth is direct train from Basingstoke and you have the spinnaker tower and historic dockyard right next to the train station. Eastleigh lakeside railway is short walking distance from Southampton airport parkway station, and has a miniature train, country park and a v reasonably priced cafe.”

Kim said “Look up the Watercress line. Some lovely journeys on it and you can take a picnic on the train.”

Sasha said “We take the bus to town and do the discovery centre or play den at the sports centre or go and get eggs from the market on a Friday. Keep it simple and have fun”

Joanna said “We love getting the train to Winchester, it’s a really pretty train ride and there is a really nice library and play park in Winchester”

  • Colleen replied “And the sweet shop… mine like a trip there.”

Amanda said “We used to do train trip to reading just to do Disney store, it’s not there anymore but for the kids it’s more about the trip than anything. As long as we visited the sweet shop in the Harris arcade before getting the train back they were happy.”

  • Pauline replied “There is a pop up Disney store in the Oracle at the moment.”

Larissa said “Winchester is lovely to wander about and the sweet shop near the train station always a winner”

Ruza said “Start your your day of exploration off by bus to the train station. Children are so excited by this because. We have then been to London just to walk along the embankment, the London eye was a bonus. Highly recommend SeaCity museum which is a short walk from the station.”

Samantha said “Train to Bramley and there is a lovely little coffee shop just next to the train station. Drink and a biscuit and then back home!”

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NHM Reader Recommendations: Places to go with an 8 month old and no transport

An NHM Reader asked “I was wondering if you could help me out. I live in Basingstoke and have an 8-month-old son. I would love for us to be able to go out for the day somewhere, but I’m not sure where is good for babies. I don’t drive either, so it would have to be accessible by public transport or walking distance. I do have a railcard though. Do you have any ideas?”

Thank you to the NHM Readers for the below replies. Thank you also to Juliet for putting this post together! 

NHM Reader Recommendations: Places to go with an 8 month old and no transport

Lottie says “There’s a bus to Marwell Zoo which I think you can pick up in Winchester so you could get the train there”

Hannah says “Beale Park is a short train ride away. Also Millers Ark on the way to Hook…. has a bus stop not far from its entrance.”

Helen says “I second the Beale Park suggestion. As well as animals and the train they have a big sand pit and paddling pool. Go during the term time and it’ll be quiet.”

Vicky says “I downloaded this app it’s really good tells you what’s going on groups etc in your area for the age group you are looking for” https://hoop.co.uk

Wendy says “A walk by the Thames at Reading (there’s a park by Reading bridge and lots of swans). The New Forest has tourist buses in the summer. Paultons Park has a bus from Southampton station. The number 11 bus stops outside Manydown. Bus to Shakespeare Road (Popley East) for the Splash Park.

Jason says “The New Forest also has a train station”

Cathy says “Lots of free events coming up around town http://www.basingstokefestival.co.uk/…/cate…/free-events

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NHM Readers: 7 free things to do in and around Basingstoke with children

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook “I’m currently putting a post together with the following subject and wondered if you had any suggestions?: “7 free things to do in and around Basingstoke with children”.”

Thank you for your replies, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend 7 free things to do in and around Basingstoke

1. Local Libraries

Vanessa said “Board games and Lego club at Basingstoke Discovery Centre on alternate Saturdays. Board games this week, Lego next. Lego construction club at South Ham library, weekly on a Tuesday afternoon. Ages 3-12. They also do free crafts on the first Saturday each month.”

Helen said “Go to the library. We have so many lovely libraries and events at them.”

Jo said “Borrowing books from the library…timeless!”

Karen said “Lego Club Saturdays 2pm Chineham library. They do crafts too, I think 1st Sat of the month at 10:30. Library’s, books rhyme time, use the computers.”

  1. Willis Museum

Louise said “The Willis Museum, they always have craft upstairs as well”

Karen said “ Crafts at the Willis museum (donation)”

  1. Basing Wood

Rebekah said “Basing Woods”

  1. Black Dam and Crabtree

Cesca said “Feeding the ducks at Black Dam and then walk over to Crabtree”

  1. Beggarwood Park

Gemma said “Beggarwood Park. Beggarwood is a fab place for using scooters and bikes”

  1. Wyevale Garden Centre

Karen said “Wyevale Garden Centre have turkeys and goats and a fish shop”

  1. Pets at Home

Gemma said “A visit to Pets at Home in Hatch Warren”

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BASINGSTONES: Top Tips

The Basics

All you need to do is paint a stone and write “Basingstones” on it. Then hide it somewhere safe for someone to find and hopefully brighten their day!

If you find a Basingstone, please post a photo of it on our Facebook Group page so we can see how far it travels. Either keep it and replace, or just hide it again somewhere new.

 

The Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/groups/basingstones/ The magic of Basingstones is what happens off social media ie the spending time together, being creative, getting outdoors, sharing and the small acts of kindness concept.

Our facebook page allows the wonderful Basingstones community to come together online to share photos and smiles but it shouldn’t be the focus.  That said, here are a few tips on using the facebook group page:

  • Pinned Post

Please make sure you have a read of the Pinned Post – lots of important information in there!

  • Searching

There is a SEARCH bar which allows you to search out key words in posts – very helpful for when you are looking for a particular post by an individual or regarding a certain topic. Just type the person’s name for example and hit SEARCH.

  • Reporting posts

Please help us to keep the page free of sales posts, unrelated page links and spam. If you see anything inappropriate or disrespectful, please press the three dots in the right hand corner of the post, then select the option to “Report post”

  • Sharing photos

Note that this group is public and can be seen and accessed by anyone, so please be mindful when sharing details and posting pics. Do NOT post photos of other people’s children.

Did you know…?

…there are often competition basingstones for you to keep a lookout for!
Try searching “competition” to see what you could win

…there is a Basingstones Admin photo album for Basingstones news
hit Albums and select Basingstones Admin

…there is a thread to track international Basingstones so that we can see them pop up all over the world! (This can be found in the Basingstones Admin album)

…Basingstones has been on the radio, in the newspaper and even nominated for a community project award!  Check out the Basingstones Admin Album for details

FAQs

Where can I get stones from?

Lots of garden centres and large DIY stores sell big bags of stones/cobbles for about £5.  Locally, you can try The Range, Wickes, Conkers, Home Bargains, B&M, Bunnings and many more.

Taking rocks from beaches is discouraged and you could actually be fined.  Whilst taking the odd stone will do no damage, we don’t want to have a negative impact on the environment.

How should I decorate basingstones?

You can paint the stone however you wish, perhaps with a pretty pattern, a fun cartoon character, an inspirational quote or an artistic design.

Please avoid sticking things to the stones though which could potentially fall off and be harmful to wildlife. We want to be friendly towards our environment and our furry friends too.

What paint is best to use?

Sharpie pens, permanent markers, nail polish, acrylic paints and clear varnish or spray (to make it weather proof) all work really well.

Why haven’t I seen a photo of the basingstone I hid?

There are thousands of group members and hundreds of posts each day. You cannot keep track of them all.  Also, some people may choose not to share their photos or finds online.

Don’t worry that not all hidden basingstones get a finder post – each one makes someone smile and each one is special!

I hope this helps.

Have fun!

Rachel x
Basingstones Admin

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Help!!! Sounds Babies pay attention too

I had a lovely message from Helen who has asked for the help of the NorthHantsMum Community.

We’ve helped Helen and her colleagues out before, via NHM, a few years ago and it would be great to help again!

Sounds Babies pay attention too

I work in the psychology department at Reading University.

A colleague is desperately looking for people to help with a project about the sounds babies pay attention to. It’s for babies aged 12-15 months and takes around 20 mins.

They will play sounds and pictures to the babies and measure which they prefer based on what they pay attention to.

It does mean a trip to Reading but might be something fun and different to do.

Would you be able to put out a plea to your lovely network of mums?

If you’re a parent that’s able to help can you please email g.w.schafer@reading.ac.uk stating you’d be interested in finding out more about the baby project and he can send you all the info.

Thanks in advance!

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Things to do in Basingstoke with a 3 year old

Things to do in Basingstoke with a 3 year old

Visit a library

Below is a list of Libraries in the North Hampshire area:

  • Aldershot Library
  • Alresford Library
  • Alton Library
  • Andover Library
  • Basingstoke Discovery Centre – Open on Sundays!!!
  • Chineham Library
  • Farnborough Library
  • Fleet Library
  • Kingsclere Library
  • North Baddesley Community Library
  • Odiham Bridewell
  • South Ham Library
  • Tadley Library
  • Whitchurch Library

Or Try out one of the following activities featured on NHM

What would you add to this list?

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May Bank Holiday 2018 – Entertainment at Finkley Down Farm

Sun forecast for May Day Weekend! 🌞🌞
Children’s entertainers will be joining in the fun all weekend.
Book online and save 10% using code: mayday10

Visit our website for further details here

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