Review 2013: Birdworld

Birdworld

Holt Pound, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 4LD

(near Alice Holt. See my review about Alice Holt HERE)

Play

We went to Birdworld at the weekend and took one of our friend’s 8 year old and 5 year old with us. We had free children’s tickets that we won at auction for the “Forget Me Not Baby Angel”  charity event in May, so wanted to cash these in.

It took us 35 minutes to get too from Basingstoke and we went via the M3 and Farnham. You can also get to Birdworld easily from Basingstoke via Alton.

There are essentially three parks at Birdworld: Birdworld, Jenny Wren farm and Underwater world. We went to all three parks and our favourite was the Jenny Wren farm, mainly because the children were able to handle some mice and baby guinea pigs! Even the stroking of a python didn’t beat the handling of the mice!

In Birdworld I liked that you could go into some of the enclosures and see the birds up close. We managed to get a good view at the Penguin feeding but most of the penguins were moulting so there weren’t that many on display. We then wandered down to the Pelican feeding which was fun to watch.

We spent a lot of time at the feeding station, watching how the food was put together for the birds, as my little one was fascinated with this. After lunch we headed to the Jenny Wren farm and I was hoping we would be able to get into the Heron display, but we missed it by two minutes as the mice handling was more interesting! lol.

We had the most fun in Jenny Wren farm. The two oldest children loved sitting on the tractors and my little one loved being able to get up close with the rabbits in their enclosure. She also enjoyed seeing the chicks that were on display.

On the way out of the park, we also really enjoyed the peacock walk and the willow maze in Birdworld. The children spent about 20 minutes chasing each other around in the maze and there was a bench nearby so we could watch them having fun safely.

The two older children loved the play areas, especially the 7-14 year age appropriate play area. They spent ages trying to ring the bell at the top of the climbing poles.

We went through Underwater world on our way out. It took about 10 minutes, as the children were getting very tired. Be warned that the tanks are high up, so if you have a little one, you will need to carry them through Underwater world.

Tips

When you go through the entrance, ask for the children’s competition questions. Unfortunately we weren’t automatically given these, but they did help with keeping the 8 year old entertained. There is also an alphabet to look out for, which kept the bigger ones engaged.

Follow the signs for “Suggested route”. This route gives you the best view of everything that’s available.

If you want some peace and quiet, head to the Peacock walk. This was empty for the whole 30 minutes we were in it. There is also a secluded bench which would be great for breastfeeding.

Food

We took our own picnic, so I can’t comment on the food. They did have a good deal of two hot meals for £10 which looked very reasonable.

The picnic area was in a good location and had a play park next to it. Just watch out for the wasps from the bins.

Facilities

Seemed good on the whole. The gardens were exquisite and we spent some time smelling all the herbs that were in one of the herb gardens on the way to the Penguin Tank.

Baby Facilities

Weren’t great. My husband did the nappy changes that day and he said that the nappy changing room was grim. He liked that there was a step in there for the little ones to get to the sink though. However, he said the nappy changing room was so grim, that we did eau natural changes outside for the rest of the day!

Parking

Is free!

Prices

Are expensive (aren’t they all!). I was very surprised with how expensive it was, considering what was on offer.

In summer, an adult is £15.95, a 3-6 year old is £12.95 and a 7-15 year old is £13.95. A family pass is £49.95.

However, under 3’s go free!

Rating 4 out of 5

We had a nice day out, but I did feel we had to string it out with lots of time in the play parks onsite. Plus, given how grim the baby changing area was and how expensive it was, I think 4 out of 5 is a fair rating.

Related Pages

Previous Reviews

Review 2013: The Hawk Conservancy

The Hawk Conservancy

Visitor Centre, Weyhill, Andover, Hampshire, SP11 8DY

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Everytime I go to the Hawk Conservancy, I have a fantastic time. When you look at the site plan, it doesn’t look very much, and yet after 5 hours of being there, we still hadn’t done everything!!

We went to the Hawk Conservancy on Saturday and had two extra children with us. We were looking after a friends 14 year old son and 8 year old son. I was a bit apprehensive about finding somewhere that would be suitable for a 14 year old, 8 year old and 2 year old, but the Hawk Conservancy came up trumps!! Totally recommended and we had a brilliant day out.

Play

When we arrived we were asked if we would like to take part in the “Sarson Falconer” session, which took place in the afternoon, as there were still spaces available. Mr NHM and the boys weren’t that keen, but I persuaded them that it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity, their debut on the stage, and that I would do the boring thing and look after Miss NHM whilst their made their debut’s.

Being involved in this event ended up being the highlight of the day!! The boys and Mr NHM didn’t stop raving about their roles for the rest of the weekend. I had to bite my tongue with the “told you so’s!!!” lol.

Each of the children were also given a card, which had 10 stamps of birds that needed to be collected. It took us all day to fill the card up, but even Miss NHM was on board with shouting “Stamp!!!” when we found the last few.

We had arrived just in time for the Vulture feeding at the Vulture Restaurant. The 14 year old thought this was brilliant. It was very interesting to hear about how threatened Vultures are in the wild and what the Hawk Conservancy trust are trying to do to protect them. Plus, seeing the Vultures feeding was an experience!

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We then went to the World of Birds of Prey flying demonstration which was brilliant. Madelaine the Secretary Bird was my favourite. You should see her whack that poor rubber snake! lol.

At the end of the flying demonstration there is an opportunity to hold a British bird of prey. Both boys and Miss NHM held an Owl. I have some fantastic pictures and the 8 year old was very proud of having done this. Miss NHM spent most of the day then saying “WOW said the Owl” as we have the book at home. It was great to be able to relate this experience to the book for her.

We then grabbed our picnic from the car and went up to the picnic tables next to the Valley of the Eagles. We had it to ourselves as most people stayed by the picnic tables at the main entrance.

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The boys had to eat fast as they needed to prepare for the “Sarsoner Falconer” session as they were given instructions on what to do and were given outfits to wear. I had to entertain Miss NHM for an hour and when she started to get really cranky the Gypsy caravan opened for ice cream and coffee, which saved the day!

The boys and Mr NHM made their debuts as “Plough man and Plough boys”. They all looked very cute in their smocks and I managed to get some fantastic photo’s, despite having a wriggling toddler on my lap. They then got front row seats for the rest of the performance.

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The birds were amazing. The Valley of the Eagles show is my favourite by far, because I’m not sure there are many other places were you can nearly get a Vulture flying into your head!!! (Note to self, don’t sit up when you feel a Vulture fly over your head, as there’s probably another one right behind it!! Boy was that a close shave, I even felt my hair move!!! lol).

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Oh, and this is just a side note for the girls, but I have to say that the Falconer’s outfit in the Sarsoner’s session REALLY did it for me! :-D. Don’t knock it till you’ve seen Gary in his outfit! LOL.

I really like the presenters at all of the demonstrations as they make it all sound so fun, and take it all on the chin when things don’t exactly go to plan.I even learnt something about what a “cadge” is. I missed the last bit with the Bald Eagles flying in, but apparently it was amazing.

After the demonstration we went to find the Play area and had a lovely time playing on all of the different equipment.

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We then spent the rest of the day walking around the site and getting our remaining stamps. I would have liked to have stayed for the Ferret racing but Miss NHM was getting cranky as she was well over due for her nap.

We had a brilliant day out and I was so pleased that the boys also enjoyed their day. I think the reward at the end for completing all of the stamps also helped 😉

Food

We took a picnic with us, but we had a look in the restaurant and it looks REALLY nice. I did have some of the ice cream from the gypsy hut and it was some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted!

Facilities

Were excellent.

Baby Facilities

I completely forgot to check these as we did an eu-natural nappy change when no one was around.

Parking

Is free!

Prices

We got a family ticket for the 5 of us and it was very reasonable. Under £40 which I thought was great value for money considering what was available and how much fun we had.

Rating 4.99 out of 5

The staff are great, the site is great and there’s a real friendly atmosphere. I love that it’s a family owned place and also supports vital work in other countries.

We went on a Saturday in the summer holidays and I was surprised that it wasn’t busier. Apparently Saturday’s are change over days for people on holiday, so it tends to be a quieter day. Tip for us locals 😉

My only comment is that there weren’t any recycling facilities that we could see. Otherwise, it would be a 5 out of 5!

Other Reviews on NHM

Review 2013: Basing Lime Pits

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Basing Lime Pits

Redbridge Ln, Old Basing, Hampshire RG21 4 ‎

We went to Basing Lime pits a few weekends ago, early on a Sunday morning. We had most of the place to ourselves. I did see a fox though, so that was exciting!

Play

There are four different areas in Basing Lime Pits. The main area is the play park, which has two different types of swings, a couple of climbing frames and a massive slide, which my little one loved! Behind the park is also a red rope climbing frame (like the one in Eastrop park) and there are two BBQ’s and lots of picnic tables. There is also a big hill you can walk up or walk around.

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The second area is my favourite, which is towards the back of the park. There is a train climbing frame with one carriage that you can sit in!!! I love this little train. It’s so cute and my little one loved climbing into it and then sitting on all of the different seats in the carriage. If you walk under the bridged (that you can also walk across) there is a slide behind, and we spent a long time playing on this too.

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The third area is the “natural” amiptheatre, which is a hollowed out area with a huge hill behind it. We wondered around this and my little one loved running across it. It would be great to see a play here!

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The fourth area is in between the two car parks and is a grassy area with press up/push up bars, etc. This would be a lovely area for a picnic, as it’s quite shaded and there are a couple of picnic benches. The top of the very large slide can be accessed from here and you can walk back to main car park from here.

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We spent an hour and a half exploring and had a lovely time wandering around and using the big slide a LOT! lol.

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Food

Not available but there are some lovely areas to sit and have a picnic.

Facilities

There aren’t any facilities at Basing Lime Pits. However, there are enough bushes if your little one’s are caught short!

Baby Facilities

I don’t think anyone minds people changing nappies in a park!!! lol.

Parking

Is free! But the car park isn’t very well tarmacked, so it can be a bit bumpy going in . There are about 10 car park spaces in the first car park and then 10 car park spaces in the main car park. However, there is space to park on the road if needed.

Be aware, if you are heading to Basing Lime Pits from Old Basing, there is a blind bridge, so you need to be very careful and go very slowly as the road on the bridge is very narrow and you can’t see any oncoming traffic.

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Prices

Free!!!

Rating out of 4.7 out of 5

There is a lot of litter on the entrance way and the car park could be better paved.

Related Posts

All Reviews on NHM

Review: Finkley Down Farm

Review: Alice Holt, Farnham

Review: Basing Lime Pits

Previous Other Reviews

15 Different Experiences for Children

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Review 2013: Basing Wood

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Basing Wood

Did you know, that we have our own equivalent to Alice Holt Forest in Basingstoke? Basing Wood, or Carpenters Down as I’ve always known it, is a fantastic huge expanse of woodland, with trails, picnic benches, a Woodland Trail, a nature play ground and the chance to spot a Deer. It’s completely free, you don’t even need to pay parking.

I’ve been walking in Basing Wood for more than 30 years. Eek!! I remember when it used to have the National Trust sign at the entrance.  I realised yesterday, when we were walking through the forest, that I remember when certain bits of the forest were originally planted with sapplings. Those trees are fully flourished now, and you can’t tell that they are less than 30 years old. Gosh, that makes me sounds ancient! lol.

We were there on Sunday and we had most of the forest to ourselves. In fact, we didn’t see a soul for over an hour, as we went deeper into the forest. It’s a great place for getting away from it all, for getting some fresh air, rain or shine, and  for exhausting your children so they sleep well ;-).

If you would prefer that someone showed you the trails within the Forest, Emma at BuggyFit does a class on Monday’s and Friday’s in the Wood.

This is the address to find Basing Wood: Popley Fields Community Centre/Carpenters Down Basingstoke RG24 9AE

Play

There is a “natural” play park at the top of the hill (no idea what the official term of it is). You can see from the photo’s below that its great for Toddlers. The few times we have been in the forest recently, we have had it to ourselves (although, I may regret this post soon! lol). They have swings, tunnels, tree stumps, stone blocks and all sorts of other things that you can swing, clamber, climb, run through, jump over, etc. etc. We always spend at least 30 minutes here, just running around the park.

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I absolutely love the woodland trail, which is just a short walk away from the play park. The wooden animals are brilliant and my Little One loves crawling over them, stroking them, and trying to feed them stones! lol.  When I’ve been on my own with my Little One, we have walked up to the end of the woodland trail, as I can’t push the pushchair up the hill because of the remnants of my SPD. She can manage to walk to the end of the Woodland trail and back, at 2 years, 3 months old. (This may help, if you are wondering if you can take your little one without a pushchair).

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We also walked through the outdoor Parkour site (as it’s called on Google Maps) and this was great to explore. It’s good for older children, as they can swing on the pipes that are attached to the roof. This is half way up the hill, on the way in, and is a large wooden structure with extra “bits” to it.

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The forest is a great place for a picnic. There are picnic benches in the play park at the top of the hill and the odd bench dotted through the forest. However, if you take a picnic blanket with you, you don’t need to worry about where you sit. ;-). There is also a really large grassy area next to the forest, but a lot of dog walkers use this area, so beware of where you are sitting.

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One of the great things that I love about this forest, is that you can nearly always spot a deer if you are quiet and standing in the right place. We saw one with my little one a few weeks ago and she was mesmerised. We couldn’t have been more than 25 meters away from it.

Food

Not available

Facilities

Not available. But as it’s outside, it doesn’t matter where you change your little one, as there’s generally no one in view!

Baby Facilities

Not available. So maybe not as good as Alice Holt for this reason.

Most of the paths are suitable for pushchairs, but you do need to go up one big hill. So if you have SPD…be careful! However, you could walk around the grassy field next to the forest if the hills look like being too much of an issue. Or, you can dodge the hills by accessing the forest from Chineham Business Park.

Parking

is Free!!! There are about 40 parking spaces too, so you should always be able to find a space.

Prices

FREE!

Rating 4.9 out of 5

Basing Wood/Carpenters Down, like Finkley Down Farm, has a special place in my heart because I’ve been going there so long. I took 0.1 off the rating because sometimes there is a lot of litter because local youths use the forest in the late evenings/night times and leave their rubbish.

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Related Posts

Review: Finkley Down Farm

Review: Alice Holt, Farnham

Review: Basing Lime Pits

Previous Other Reviews

Mum Top Tips

15 Different experiences for children

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Review 2013: Finkley Down Farm

Finkley Down Farm, Andover

I LOVE Finkley Down Farm. I’ve been visiting, on and off, for the last 30 years (OUCH!). It’s been great to see how it’s developed over that time. I remember the old gypsy caravan, when you used to actually be able to go into it and sit on the beds. Anyone else remember that? lol.

Play

There is SO much to do at Finkley Down Farm. It’s quite small so it’s easy to walk around and there’s a lot packed in. A new “play barn” was built this winter and it’s massive! We went on a Sunday morning, and it was very quiet until 12.30pm, where it started to become very busy. I’d expected it to be very busy, but was really pleased to see how quiet it was.  We spent a lot of time in the Rabbit Barn because my Little One loves the rabbits. We then ventured over to the Mini ride on Tractor field and my Little One practically had it to herself for 30 minutes. She had to go on every single tractor! lol.

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We then wandered back through the farm and went over to the Little Tikes play area. My Little One loved this area and we spent a good 40 minutes playing on the slides and on the trampolines.

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I then noticed that there were five very large trampolines nearby that were deserted, so we went and had a go on every single one!! Well, I wasn’t allowed because it was for 10 year old’s and under but my Little One had a whale of a time. She just LOVES bouncing.

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We then went back through the farm again. We didn’t attend any of the Handling sessions because I think my Little One is too young to handle farm animals, at 27 months old. But this is obviously a personal choice. We spent a lot of time watching the Ferrets, which were very funny and then talking to the Ducks. We also went into the Touch and Feel barn again but my Little One was a bit freaked out by the sheep that were “baa-ing” very loudly. At that point, we were both exhausted so went and had our picnic, had one last go in the Little Tikes play area and then headed home.

We had a look in the new Soft play barn when we arrived at 10am (it’s massive!) but decided we would come back later on. When we did go back, the place was heaving. Which was a little disappointing as it seemed most people were inside, even though the weather was nice. It was always an issue before if it rained at Finkley as there weren’t many sheltered areas, but now the Soft Play barn has this covered!

Food

We took our own picnic (we remembered it this time! lol). I did have a quick look at the menu and it seemed reasonable, but without many healthy choices. I did think that £3 for a slice of cake was a bit steep.

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Facilities

Were never that great but they have improved radically over the past few years. However, I was a bit disappointed that I could find any recycling facilities on site, especially as they sell drink cans.

Baby Facilities

Are near the entrance. There are a few baby changing tables and a few nappy bins. All seemed in good condition.

Parking

Is free and there is lots of it. When the main parking area is full, they open up a field nearby and you can park here.

Prices

Maybe I’m getting old, but I was surprised at how expensive the day tickets are. I think I’m getting wise to this now, after my Wellington Country Park review! lol.

SAVER Ticket – 2 Adults & 2 Children £31.00
Adults £8.95
Senior Citizens, Students & Disabled Adults £8.50
Children (aged 2 – 16 years) £7.95
Children with disability and carer £7.50

They also do a reduced after school rate and Serving Military Personnel discount.

However, if you live near Andover or plan to go to Finkley more than four times in a year, the best option by far is to get the Season ticket, which is cheaper if you buy it online.

Rating 4.75/5

Finkley has a special place in my heart, because I’ve been going for such a long time. So I’m giving it a 4.75 out of 5, because it isn’t cheap and doesn’t have recycling facilities, but we always have a fabulous day out there!

Review 2013: Wellington Country Park

Wellington Country park

I’ve been meaning to go to Wellington Country park for ages but we never seemed to get around to it. Until one Sunday last month! The weather wasn’t great but we had a lovely morning there. I went there years and years ago, so I was intrigued to see if it had changed much.

Play

There is lots to do and see. We walked left from the entrance building as everyone else seemed to be going right. This worked really well for us as most of the park on the left was empty and by the time we got around to the right side, this had emptied out too. There are lots of little parks dotted around. We walked through the dinosaur section which was good, especially because my little one got to practice the word “dinosaur” lots. On an side note, I remember the big dinosaur from when I went to the park about 22 years ago! Yes, he and I are that old! Lol.

We didn’t get around to the farm this time, but we did spend time in the sandpit area, the tractor area and the toddler village. We also trekked out to see the deer (and it seemed we were the only ones who did!) so my little one learnt the word “deer”. My little one loved the toddler play area near the entrance. She spent a lot of time playing in the Wooden and plastic houses and on the little bikes. There is also a very cool looking bouncy “pillow”. This was packed the whole time we were there, so we didn’t get a chance to have a proper look.

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You need to be careful with your toddlers as there is lots of open water. We spent a lot of time fielding our toddler away from the water as she couldn’t help but gravitate towards it.

My little one absolutely loved it the whole place. She was exhausted by the time we left.

Food

Was good, but expensive for what it was. We had actually packed a picnic, but someone forgot it, so we ended up eating in the restaurant. It was a bit chaotic, children everywhere, but I suppose it’s to be expected. There weren’t many healthy options, just the usual sausage, fish fingers with chips. They had a picnic lunchbox, but this was £5, which I felt was quite steep.

Baby Facilities

Were good. There were several all over the park. I liked the fact that all of the toilets had toddler steps, so they could reach the sinks and toilets.

Parking

is Free!

The shop

Is full of tat. You can’t avoid it either as you have to walk through it to pay. We saw several older children acting up because they wanted something that their parents weren’t prepared to pay a fortune for. I felt for the parents and the children.

Entry Cost

Is expensive. There is no getting around this. £9 per person. But under three’s are free. But you don’t have to pay for parking (I should think not for that price!) A much better way would be to get the annual pass which is £56 per adult and gives a year’s entry, plus lots of extras. We are thinking of getting this pass just for me, so I can take out little one there when my husband is working.

There is lots to do, but still, I felt there was something missing. I felt that it was very commercialised, the whole place didn’t seem to have much of a personality. I can’t really describe it. Everything was a little too “perfect”.

Rating 4/5

Because the food was expensive, entry was expensive and it felt too commercialised and as if it was just there to make money.

Review 2013: Basingstoke Aquadrome

Basingstoke Aquadrome

I’ve been to the Aquapark many times but when we went it was my husband and daughters first time. I’m so old, that I actually remember when the swimming pool was Westfield Lido, and they used to open the glass doors so you could run down the hill, where the Bowling Alley now stands. It was always a pleasure going in the water that was full of grass! lol.

We went on a Friday evening, at 4pm. It wasn’t too busy, about 20 people in the whole aquapark section.

Play/Swimming Area

My little one loved the tiny toddler pool. She must have spent about half an hour going on the tiny elephant slide. I did think this pool was a bit cold. The baby beach was great. My little one loved the plastic puzzles on the wall. But beware of the water shoot. We nearly got drenched under this!

The lazy river was fab. We went into each of the different sections and our favourite was the one with the seating. My little one could stand up here and she enjoyed walking up and down the seating and being carried through the water jets. The lazy river wasn’t too fast but you do need to be very careful to avoid the fierce jets!

My husband thoroughly enjoyed the slides although he didn’t really rate the yellow slide.  We spent a couple of hours in the pool. It was a great bonding experience.

Food

We didn’t try this so I cannot comment.

Baby Facilities

The family changing rooms were excellent. Very large and they each had a plastic baby changing stand and a nappy changing bin.

Facilities

Were in good condition. One thing I don’t like is that the showers aren’t enclosed. You have to shower with your swimming costume on (unless you have no shame!), so you can’t shower properly. The toilets were in a good condition but I hate public swimming pool toilets. They are always wet. Yuk.

Parking

There is lots of parking (although not as much as there used to be because of the Spruce Goose hotel extension and the Parachute place), but none that is particularly well placed if you have small children with you. It is free parking though.

Price

As it was Off Peak, my husband and I both paid £5.45 each. My little one was free and from what I can see on the website, all children under 4 are free. You need to double check this though, as I wasn’t quite sure about this.

Other Information

I wouldn’t recommend attempting to take more than one child on your own. If you have more than one small child, you really need a one adult to one child ratio. For safety, I wouldn’t suggest using the lazy river with more than one child at a time. The website states that:

“Children under the age of 4 must wear approved flotation devices and be accompanied by a responsible adult in the ratio of 1:1.”

Our little one didn’t have a flotation device, but that was our decision and we were happy with this as there were two of us to look after her.

The parent and baby beach is open every day from 10.30am and is £3.50.

Rating

4.5 out of 5. We had a lovely couple of hours in the water, but I took half a point off because the water was colder than I would have liked and the showers were open so you can’t really shower properly.

Related Posts

Swimming with Babies

Review 2013: Alice Holt, Farnham

We had lots planned for the Easter weekend, but didn’t do any of it because my little one had a stomach bug. We’ve been trying to make up for it since then and been to quite a few places. So I have lots of reviews coming up over the next few weeks. Hope you find them useful!

Alice Holt

I’ve been to Alice Holt several times, but not with a couple of toddlers in tow. We went to Alice Holt when my little one was a few months old and it was great to get some fresh air and go for a big long walk. The paths are suitable for most pushchairs, and a couple of routes are designated for wheelchair access.

We parked in the first car park on the right (the one most people initially park in) and went for the walk that was on the right. It’s between 1 mile and 1/5 mile. I think we did the 1 mile, which both toddlers coped with. There were some wooden scupltures and a picnic bench at once point, the toddlers played with the sculptures as they were tactile sculptures. Then further around the walk were several bivoacks made out of wood. We had much fun going in between these. One was supposed to be for wheel chair access, but it didn’t actually look accessible. Great idea though!

We went on a Friday, so it wasn’t very busy and we didn’t see anyone else on our walk. However, I’ve been on a weekend and it can get very busy in the car park, so either get there early, or continue past the first car park and park in the second car park which is behind the new toilet block.

It took us about 30 minutes to get there from Basingstoke, and we went through Farnham rather than the Alton route.

Alice Holt: Wooden Huts

Playarea

Was AWESOME! I wish we’d had play areas like this when I was little. The two wooden houses were fantastic, but without doubt, the pirate ship was the BEST!

Alice Holt: Pirate Ship

Food

The food was excellent. I was really impressed. Definitely worth the money. It wasn’t too expensive either, for what it was. There were a couple of “healthy” options for little ones too, not just the standard sausage or fishfingers or chicken nuggets with chips.

There are lots of picnic tables around Alice Holt and we saw several groups of Mum’s with their babies, out for a picnic and some fresh air. This would be a great place to meet with a group of ante-natal or post-natal friends.

Parking

Is quite expensive for what it is, BUT you don’t have to pay an entrance fee, so I don’t mind paying it. It’s £4 for 3 hours parking, which was enough for us, with a walk around the forest (with two toddlers and a baby), some time in the play area and lunch.

Facilities

Were excellent. They’ve just built a new toilet block which was obviously in really good condition. The baby changing facilities were excellent and everything worked as it should. There is also an information block attached to the new toilet block, but it hasn’t opened yet. You can also hire bikes, including the trailors for little ones. Go Ape is also available here.

Rating

4.9 out of 5

(We would have given it 5/5 if the pirate ship steering wheel actually moved! But then we realised this would be a really bad idea from a Health and Safety perspective, but still!)

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Review 2013: Kids ‘n’ Action, Soft Play Centre, Winersh Triangle nr Reading

Kids ‘n’ Action, 680 Eksdale Road, Winnersh Triangle Berkshire RG41 5TS (does anyone know if they have a website because I can’t find one?) 

We went to a new (it opened in August last year) Soft Play centre recently which is over near Reading. A friend of a friend recommended it to us so we checked it out on my little one’s birthday last week.

As you walk in, there are a lot of tables and seating, so you can grab a table and start to explore. There’s lots to do. Along one side of the main room is the soft play for smaller children and they have a small area specifically for babies. Then there is the car wash, which we really loved! Next to that is a football pitch with hoops. The husband was most annoyed that I scored more hoops than him, and it’s made me seriously think about taking up netball again! lol. Then there is the Activity centre which is HUGE. My little one loved clambering through this and it’s big enough that adults can go on too. She also really loved the slides, the big one and the small ones. The big slide is very big though!

Just off the main room is a long corridor with lots of little rooms in. There is a technology room, a dressing up room with lots of different costumes, a shop, a vets, a hospital area, a construction zone and I’m sure there is another zone I just can’t remember! My little one loved the technology room and the construction zone. I could have spent several hours in the shop room, sorting out all of the food toys! It was a bit demoralising to go into every room and see everything all over the place, but I guess it’s to be expected.  Such a brilliant idea having different rooms with different themes.

You can buy food on site. The food was ok but it’s quite expensive for what it is and there aren’t too many healthy options. I guess that they have to cater to demand though.

There was also only one baby changing room which we didn’t get to check out as it was always being used. However, the ladies had another baby changing table in. All seemed clean and tidy but it had one of those nappy dispensers and I could not work out how to get it to work! Parking can also be a challenge.

When you go in, you can request a card which allows you one free entry once you’ve been five or six times (can’t remember how many, sorry).

We were there for a good 3 hours, which included food. It was a lot busier in the morning when we were there and seemed to empty out at around 11.45am.

We had a good time, but I don’t think we will be going there regularly as it’s a good half hour drive from Basingstoke. It was a nice day trip out to go somewhere different.

We give it a 4/5. It would have had more had we not spent ages trying to find a car parking space and if the food options were healthier.

Previous Reviews

Review: The Living Rainforest, nr Newbury, Berkshire

Review 2013: The Living Rainforest, nr Newbury, Berkshire

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about bringing some new ideas for post themes to NHM and I think I’m going to try to do reviews for the places that we’ve visited as a family, as the information may be useful for other NHM Readers. So, here is the first post for a review of a place that I’ve been to recently with my family.

The Living Rainforest

I saw the details of the Living Rainforest via a post from Fumblina, a long time NHM Reader. We finally got around to going on Friday. We had a really lovely day and we spent a couple of hours wandering around the rainforest. Its quite small but there is lots to see. My little one kept saying “Wow!” every time we saw something new.

There were creepy crawlies, turtles, a big fish tank with catfish and the biggest stingray, and lots of birds flying around in one of the rainforests. We found the Sloth, she was hiding up in a very big tree, but we didn’t manage to spot the crocodile. My little one loved looking at the monkeys and was even more impressed when a teal (which looks like a duck) walked past her! She kept saying “Quack Quack! lol.

A Teal
A Teal

When you buy your ticket it lasts for the year and gives you unlimited entry to the Rainforest for the following 12 months. There are free Activity packs available for 4 to 7 year olds which include activities to do in the Rainforest.

The Living Rainforest is open daily, with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. When we went there were several school groups there and it was difficult to get around with the pushchair as we kept bumping into them. However, by about 1.30pm all of the school groups had left and we practically had the place to ourselves. On this basis, I recommend going in the afternoon as I spoke to a member of staff who said they have several groups of school children visiting every day.

The prices are as follows (for a years entry, which is a bargain!):

  • Adult £9.95
  • Child (2- 14) £7.95
  • Under 2 Free
  • OAP/Student/Con. £8.95
  • Family (2A + 2C) £31.75
  • Family (1A + 3C) £30.75
  • Carer Free

My little one is just under two so she had free entry but we plan on going again, probably in October when the weather turns as this was such a great indoor activity.

However, although I remembered my little one’s welly boots, we didn’t have a change of trousers and she kept falling over in puddles, so I recommend taking a change of clothes as well as welly’s for your children. Also, it’s very warm (as rainforests tend to be!) so keep this in mind if you are taking coats without a pushchair as you’ll have to carry them around with you.

The centre is family and baby friendly, with nappy-changing and bottle warming facilities available.

We had a great day out and as a family gave it a 4/5 rating.  We would have given a higher rating if the baby changing facilities had a working lock on the door and the restraining strap wasn’t broken.

Have you been to The Living Rainforest? If so, what did you think?

The best picture of the Sloth that we could get!
The best picture of the Sloth that we could get!