22 things to do with an under 7 year old in Basingstoke when it’s raining

I recently put a plea out on “Louise nhm Smith“, asking if anyone has any suggestions of posts they would like me to investigate.

Wendy came back with some great suggestions. One of her suggestions was for me to do some more research on places, other than soft play, to go on a weekend when it rains.

Great suggestions for a post, so thank you Wendy and here are my suggestions. Hope they are useful!

22 things to do with an under 7 year old in North Hampshire when it’s raining

1. Libraries

Libraries are a great place to take your little one when it’s raining. They nearly always have an area that is dedicated to children. They also have some fantastic services available. Did you know that it isn’t mandatory for your child to pay late fee’s on their books (I pay anyway, as I love my local library and if we don’t support them, then they could easily be shut down).

These are some previous posts that have featured on NHM about libraries in the area and the services they offer:

Library Membership

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

2. Local Museums

Our local museums do lots of events for children.

Milestones Museum

The Willis Museum

3. Kids Cinema

Saturday Morning Cinema Club – Odeon or Vue

  • Cheap tickets for children and adults go free.
  • For Odeon – recommend joining their premier club as it allows you to collect points and use them to pay for tickets or food.
  • Don’t forget to check out the Newbie session if you have a baby.

4. Places to Go

Lots of places close down for the Winter season so it can be hard to know what’s still open. These are the places that I know that are still open over Winter:

Finkley Down Farm

Intech Science Centre in Winchester

Alice Holt, Farnham

The Vyne

The Living Rainforest, nr Newbury, Berkshire (keep your receipt as it’s valid for a year)

Longleat Safari Park

This is a list of all of the places that I’ve Reviewed since NHM began, including lots of places that are free to visit.

5. Coffee Shops

There are lots of coffee shops in the area who are particularly welcoming of children. Check out the post below with a list of local cafe’s:

Reasonably Priced Afternoon Tea’s

I particularly like the Little Roses Coffee shop and The Parlour Tea rooms, who go out of their way to make children welcome.

6. Swimming

We are very lucky to have so many swimming pools in the area. I’ve been meaning to do a post about local swimming pools for AGES. I published a post in the very early days but it didn’t have the links in. I really should get that sorted and published again!

This is a list of swimming pools in the area:

These posts may also be useful:

Swimming with babies

Swimming Pools in North Hampshire suitable for Babies and Children

8. Covered Shopping

If your lucky enough that your children can be restrained in a pushchair, you can’t beat wondering around a shopping centre, window shopping and people watching.

Festival Place

Mothercare, Hatch Warren – they have baby changing facilities and it’s great to let your children have a look at all the toys. Honest.

The Oracle at Reading

Ikea at Southampton or Reading – excellent breastfeeding room and great free creche for your over 3’s.

Marks and Spencers Camberley

9. Puddle Jumping!

Wrap everyone up in their waterproofs and go splashing in the puddles. This works for pushchairs too, but I recommend making sure the rain cover is on ;-).

Miss NHM has been puddle jumping since she could walk and it’s by far one of her favourite activities. Even without her welly boots on. Grr :-D.

10. Pots2Paint – Viables Craft Centre

I love Pots2Paint and it’s great fun to work with the team to create presents that are going to be treasured.

11. Breakfast with Children

Also check out the posts listed below for posts that have been published on NHM that you may find useful:

10 Places to Breakfast “out” with Children in North Hampshire

12. Games you can play with your little ones

Coloured spaghetti

Dry food play

Making Gloop

A Toddler box of tricks

Other Suggestions

13. Airkix Indoor Skdyiving 4 years and upwards apparently!

14. Hobbycraft – do free pre schooler classes during term time, but I can’t see anything on their site that shows this. Maybe it’s school holidays only?

15. Bowling – we took Miss NHM Bowling on her 2nd birthday and she loved it!

16. Ice Skating . Try the Ice Tots class first if you are nervous about taking your little ones out on the ice.

17. Pets At Home, Tadley Pet Supplies or the Aquatics shop at Wyevale Garden Centre.

18. Trampolining at the Active Life Centre and JumpFactory.

19. Show your children some of the military history of this country. You could try the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport, the Army Flying Museum near Andover or the Gurka Museum in Winchester.

20. Take your child on a steam train. The Watercress Line isn’t far away and is a brilliant experience.

21. Visit an Aquarium. I think the nearest ones to Basingstoke are the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth or the London Aquarium. Or you could take your children along to one of the local fish shops.

22. Take your child to the theatre. The Anvil and The Haymarket have regular children’s performances.

23. Nature Detectives – great for inspiring the family!

Do you have any suggestions that should be added to this list?

Related Posts

8 Cheap or Free Rainy Day Activities in Basingstoke

5 Places for Sunday lunch, with Children, in North Hampshire

8 “Cheap” Restaurants in Basingstoke (Meal for 2 for under £15)

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

Local Parks and Open Spaces

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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!

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.

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

11 Things for Mum’s to Do in Basingstoke without their children

As it’s coming up to Mother’s Day in the UK this Sunday (10th of March 2013) I thought it might be nice to put together a post with some ideas of how you might want to treat yourself by having some quality time to yourself.

1. Join the local Mum’s choir. Group on FB: “Ooh Mama! We’re a newly formed choir purely for Mummies to take some “me time”. No Audition! – singing just for fun”. Meet every Tuesday in term time. 8pm to 9.30pm at Christchurch Chineham.

2. Book a mobile Beautician to come to your house to give you a massage when your children are asleep in bed (and will hopefully stay there!) or for a manicure, or pedicure

3. Attend a “Mums on a Mission” class. Becky’s Studio has classes throughout the day and you can bring your children along too.

4. Arrange a catch up with some girlie friends for afternoon tea. The Parlour Tea rooms or check here for more Afternoon Tea’s HERE and HERE. Kill two birds with one stone and take your Mum with you instead!

5. Join a dancing class. There are lots of dance schools in North Hampshire. I’m working on a future post with a list of dance schools in the area. (HERE).

6. Have a personal shopper experience. Debenhams in Basingstoke has this service available and you can book a slot online via their website. (I used this service just before I went back to work after maternity leave, as I had no work clothes I could get into and I hate shopping for clothes. A friend came along with me and had our babies with us. The Debenhams team were really helpful and didn’t mind me breastfeeding) . Click HERE for a previous post on creating the perfect capsule wardrobe.

7. Book a blowdry at home. Click HERE for the link to a page on NHM for Mobile Hairdressers

8. Go Ice Skating at Planet Ice. So much fun and lots of exercise without even knowing it!

9. Go out for lunch with some friends. Click HERE for a previous post on reasonably priced restaurants in Basingstoke.

10. See something at the Anvil or Haymarket. There’s nothing quite like going to the theatre.

11. Attend a Burlesque class or Dirty Dancing workshop for lots of giggles.