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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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!)

Related Posts

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

Review: The Living Rainforest, nr Newbury, Berkshire