Review 2014: Marwell Wildlife

I am terribly remiss for not posting this up sooner. Unfortunately life got in the way, but better late than never!

This post is in conjunction with the recent review that I did on Giraffe at Festival Place. Thank you very much to Festival Place who organised this opportunity for my family!

Marwell Wildlife

I love Marwell. I’ve been visiting the zoo/park for over 30 years (Eek!).

I vividly remember the zoo, as it was, when the Tropical World was actually a Lion sanctuary. I must have been about 9 years old because my sister was 4 years old. The reason why I remember this so vividly was because there were signs all over the place warning you that the Lions could spray you (with wee!).

My sister had a brand new clothkits coat (the fashion in those days!), and she got too close to the Lions and got sprayed on. I may have laughed. A lot. It’s funny what you remember!

Anyyyyway, I’ve seen a lot of changes at Marwell over the years. I remember we used to go there on school trips, and when there used to be fairground rides next to the entrance, near the building that used to house the cafe.

I went to Marwell for a family outing just before I went to Canada on the Bunac program in 1993. I wasn’t planning to be back for my 21st birthday, so we celebrated at Marwell, in advance.

Marwell has also been important in recent years. It’s the place we took my Mum and Mr NHM’s parents, when they first met. We had a picnic at the far end of the Zoo and that’s when Mr NHM asked my Mum for her permission to marry me!

So, I was delighted when we were given the opportunity to visit Marwell and do a review. It’s been on my list of places to review for a while, so this gave me the motivation to get it done!

Unfortunately, the day we visited, the weather was appalling, but we still had a great time, despite getting drenched.

Several of the photo’s in this review were taken on the last time we visited Marwell, when the weather was much better.

We visited on the first day of the “Rise of the Dinosaurs” and it was great fun spotting the Dinosaurs throughout the park.

If your little one’s like Dinosaurs I TOTALLY recommend bringing them to Marwell to walk the adventure trail.

It runs from now until 2nd September, so all through the school holidays.

Play

There are LOTS of things to do at Marwell.

The park is huge and takes most of the day to walk around. There are lots and lots of animals to see.

We always start at the Penguin Cove. Miss NHM loves the penguins and it’s awesome how close you can get to them.

If you go behind Penguin Cove, there is a little cool play park. I might have a photo of Mr NHM with his head in this shark…

We then wander past the big cats. I’m quite proud of this photo of a cheetah that I took, but it’s not a patch on the ones I took when I was in Africa! lol.

We then walked up past the Rise of the Dinosaurs show stage and spent a lot of time looking at the Giraffe’s.

We then went to the African Valley house

Then we wandered up to see the Leopard

This time we didn’t eat at Cafe Graze but we’ve eaten here several times before and the food has always been good and reasonably priced.

We stopped for lunch at the Indoor Picnic area. This is my one criticism, the park was full of school children who all had packed lunches, so we couldn’t even get in the Indoor Picnic room as it’s quite small.

Given that it was chucking it down and we had Miss NHM with us, I wasn’t very impressed that we had to eat our lunch in the rain. We weren’t the only families who had to do this too.

 

So we ended up eating our picnic lunch trying to see the Tiger here:

After lunch we spent some time in the play park which is brilliant!

We then stopped to look at T-rex, but Miss NHM was a bit scared of him cause he kept roaring!

At the top of the park we stopped to see the Wallaby’s and Kookaburra’s

 

 

We also had a look at the playground near the Fur, Feathers and Scales area:

Then we stopped off at the Siamang Gibbons

We missed the lemurs this time, because the rain was dreadful, but I recommend checking them out as they are very cute and entertaining to watch.

We then went into the Tropical World because it was covered and warm. We had to tag team this though as pushchairs aren’t allowed in Tropical World.

 

Miss NHM loved looking at the bugs and we spent ages looking at the ants in their very long tunnel:

We finished our day at Marwell watching the Snow Leopards who are beautiful and I was quite proud that I managed to get a good shot of them, despite the rain:

We completely missed the road train and the rail train this time, but I’ve done the road train before and it was fab!

Unfortunately, because of the weather, we missed quite a lot of what is available at Marwell. However, we still had a brilliant time and Marwell will always have a special place in my heart!

Tips

Marwell is massive, so take your pushchair. As mentioned above, you can get the road train and the rail train but there will still be lots of walking involved.

It can get VERY busy at the weekend and during the holidays, so plan to start your day early to avoid the crowds, although the do disperse the further into the zoo you go.

Try going in the opposite direction to everyone else, going anti-clockwise around the park.

Buy your tickets online in advance and avoid the queues.

Upon entering the Park pick up one of our “lost child” stickers, add your mobile number and place it on your child’s back, where they cannot reach it with their hand.

Little ones can take scooters but the use of scooters is now limited to children under 42 inches tall.

For a much more comprehensive list of tips, check out Marwell’s top tips HERE.

Food

There are several areas to eat throughout Marwell. Click HERE for more details.

Is a bit expensive but it’s always been good quality when I’ve eaten there. The picture below shows the cost of the Hot Dogs at Bushtucker.

Facilities

Are always excellent.

Baby Facilities

There are baby facilities throughout the park.

At Cafe graze there is a microwave to heat up baby food.

Parking

Is free and there is lots of it! However, it isn’t on tarmac.

Prices

Considering that you can easily spend two days at Marwell with all that is going on, I feel that the price is very reasonable.

If you can afford annual membership, this is a total bargain as you would cover the cost in three visits.

Rating out of 5

I’ve given Marwell 4.9 out of 5. I love Marwell and really wanted to give it 5 out of 5.

However, as we had to eat our lunch in the pouring rain with a pre-schooler, this wasn’t much fun. Hence the 0.1  being taken off.

I think this is very generous considering we had to eat our lunch standing up! lol.

If you do visit Marwell  after reading this review, don’t forget to tell them (like any reviews you read on NHM) that you are visiting because you read the review.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Marwell Wildlife in conjunction with Festival Place. Our entry was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Review 2014: Micheldever Wood

Today’s Secret Review is by the lovely Kaela:

http://kaelabutlerflanagan.blogspot.com/2014/04/micheldever-woods.html

I’ve been meaning to go to Micheldever Woods for years, so after I read Kaela’s initial draft, Mr NHM, Miss NHM and I went on Sunday morning. It was perfect.

The only issue was, it took 45 minutes to find!?!?!

So, Kaela has said it’s ok for me to add the directions here:

  • Head for Winchester on the A30.
  • Go past the Claas (large Farm machinery and tractors) company which is on your right and then take the second left (don’t turn into the first turning, as you can’t park here) sign posted to Northington and The Candovers.
  • Go under the motorway and the car park is up on your left.
  • Oh and it’s NO WHERE NEAR Micheldever! lol

Go now, before the bluebells disappear for the year, as they are gorgeous!

Related Posts

Reviews

Related Links

10 places to see beautiful bluebells in the UK

Breastfeeding Support in Basingstoke – Jan 2014

Timetable for Breastfeeding Support in Basingstoke – April 2014

Mindy sent me a message letting me know the full listing of breastfeeding support in Basingstoke.

Apologies to the Mum who found the details on a historical NHM post that are now out of date. Hopefully this post will help!

Breastfeeding Support in Basingstoke

More help needed!! Some of our Basingstoke breastfeeding drop ins have changed in the last 6 months with at least one new addition so I thought it was time to give you the full listing – they are listed according to day of the week and I have also added Andover and Winchester for those of you who are in that direction.

Anyone, wherever they live is welcome to attend for support. Note that some locations have a reduced service in holiday periods so please check this facebook page (Hampshire Breastfeeding Counselling) or message us for full details if you are unsure.

Breastfeeding Drop-Ins: One-to-one support available from qualified and registered NCT trained Breastfeeding Counsellors. No appointment necessary, just turn up. Come and register with us antenatally and discuss any feeding questions. Contact numbers at the end or follow this facebook page for details.

Basingstoke, Chineham: Every Monday 9:30 to 11:30am at Christ Church, Reading Road, Chineham RG24 8LT alongside the health visitor clinic.

Overton: 2nd, 4th & 5th Mondays of month at Overton Children’s Centre (in the library, Community Centre, Overton RG25 3HB) 10 –11:30am. Alongside the parent and baby / toddler group

Whitchurch: 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of month at the Gill Nethercote Centre in Whitchurch RG28 7HP 10 – 11.30 am, alongside the health visitor clinic

Tadley: Every Tuesday 9:30am – 11am at the Home Tree Children’s Centre, Newchurch Road, Tadley RG26 4HN. Tel: 0118 982 1571. Alongside the health visitor clinic

Winchester BABIES: Every Wednesday 9:30am to 12:00pm at Lanterns Children’s Centre, Bereweeke Road, Winchester SO22 6AJ.

Kingsclere: Every Thursday 2pm – 3pm at Kingsclere Medical Practice, North St, Kingsclere, RG20 5QX. Alongside the health visitor clinic once a month and alongside “Kingsclere Moms” on the other weeks

Andover: Every Friday 1pm – 2:30pm at Spring Meadow Children’s Centre, Smannell Road, Andover SP11 6JP. Tel: 01264 336718

Basingstoke, Brookvale: Every Friday 10am to 11:30am at Brookvale Village Hall, Basingstoke RG21 7RU.

For further information, you can contact:

Fiona 01256 334343 (Tadley, Basingstoke)

Mindy 07769 040509 (Overton, Whitchurch, Kingsclere)

Sarah 01256 321890 (Basingstoke Brookvale and Chineham), Jane 07824 375871 (Winchester), Jennie 07502 213811 (Winchester), Paula 01256 892938 (Andover)

You can also contact the team via their Facebook page HERE.

Related Posts

“Breastfeeding Welcome” places in North Hampshire – Feb 2015

Breastfeeding Support in Basingstoke – Feb 2012

New Breastfeeding Drop In’s – July 2013

Baby Weighing Clinic’s in Basingstoke

Basingstoke Babies

Review 2013: Farleigh Mount

Farleigh Mount Country Park, Winchester

Farley Mt Rd  Hursley SO21 2

IMG_1748

I love Farleigh Mount. It’s another place that I’ve been going too, on and off, for the past 30 years. (EEK! lol).

It’s about 30 minutes drive from Basingstoke, and not so easy to find, so you need directions or a sat nav.

I still haven’t managed to find the monument though. After 30 years of visiting the country park, it’s a must do and looks great for a picnic. Definiately on my list of things to do later this year!

Play

I took Miss NHM this weekend, because the weather was lovely and I knew she needed to run around a bit. We used to park in Crabtree car park, but now I always park at the car park at the end of that road.

Crabtree car park has two fixed BBQ’s which are available for the public to use. There are also picnic benches, so it’s a great place to organise a meet-up as the area is big enough to keep an eye on little ones, but flat enough for them to run around easily.

We park in the car park at the end of the main road. Miss NHM thoroughly enjoyed running down the big hill (but boy did she whine on the way back! lol). If you get to the bottom of the hill and then turn left, you can find the children’s playground. It’s very similar to the Basing Wood playground, but we spent much longer here than at the Basing Wood one, possibly because it’s far more shaded at Farleigh Mount. Miss NHM loved jumping across the stones (with a little assistance) and we spent a long time walking up and down the tree branches.

IMG_1736

Miss NHM has never been that big a fan of swings, but she spent ages playing on and around the swings. It helped that we had the play park to ourselves.

IMG_1731

We then ventured across to the big triangular structure, which I’d seen before but never explored. We spent about 40 minutes playing in and on the triangular structure. Miss NHM loved climbing on it, even though I was a little bit worried about this!

IMG_1717

She also really liked the huge wooden Spider that we spent a lot of time playing on and around.

IMG_1718

Farleigh Mount is great for little one’s who have bikes and there are loads of walking routes. We didn’t do any this time as I didn’t have the pushchair with me and I knew Miss NHM wouldn’t be able to walk too far after an hour of being in the play area. When she’s a bit bigger, we will do a lot more exploring!

We then walked back through the “cow pat field”. Part of the hill next to the play park has cows roaming in it. We tried to find them, but no luck, although Miss NHM now knows how to say “cow pat!”

IMG_1738

It took ages to motivate Miss NHM to walk up the hill but I then decided we would park up in a car park further along the way and have our picnic there. We ended up having the field to ourselves for over 40 minutes and had an awesome picnic. There were lots of flowers to look at and the field was full of bumblebees and butterflies. One butterfly even landed on Miss NHM’s face, which she wasn’t to happy about!

It really was a lovely day out. I always have a fab time at Farleigh Mount.

IMG_1730

Tips

If you don’t like dogs, avoid Farleigh Mount. It’s a dog walkers paradise and there are lots of dogs.

Kelly also mentioned in the comments, to be aware of Ticks.

Food

N/A but there is a Farm Shop very nearby which is open on weekdays and Saturdays and Winchester Waitrose isn’t too far away.

Facilities

N/A apart from the outdoor BBQ facilities

Baby Facilities

None, but in a place like this, you can change them anywhere really.

Parking

Lots of it and all free.

Prices

FREE!

Rating 5 out of 5

IMG_1752

Outdoor BBQ facilities in North Hampshire

I’m not sure if this is useful, but I’ve been trying to find places where you can “officially” have a BBQ in the area. A great idea for getting all your friends together for an outdoor party.

Do you know of anywhere else that has BBQ facilities that the public can use?

  • Basing Lime Pits: Have two BBQ’s. They aren’t in particularly good condition, but I’m sure they would be fine once you started to use them. They have been there forever though, so be warned!
  • Wellington Country Park, BBQ and Marquee area
  • Crab Wood which is in Farleigh Mount Country Park, near Winchester
  • Locks Ride Recreation Ground Bookable BBQ’s, beach style park and splash pad too. Winkfield Row, near Ascot
  • Alice Holt Three pre-bookable barbecues available for hire

Places to BBQ In Hampshire’s Country Parks

Manor Farm and Country Park
Queen Elizabeth Country Park, We’ve used these before and they are excellent but you have to book to use them in advance and I think it costs £10 for a couple of hours hire.
Royal Victoria Country Park,
Lepe Country Park
Staunton Country Park

Related Posts

Does anyone know what the rules are for using your own BBQ in public areas?

Review: Wellington Country Park

Lido’s in Hampshire

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Playmobil.123 and Childhood Dreams

I’ve found somewhere that sells Playmobil.123 locally! Yay!!!

We were pretending we were posh and went shopping in Winchester the other week. I wanted to check out Childhood Dreams, a toy shop that I’d heard about. I have a bit of an addiction to wooden fruit and veg. Don’t ask me why and I know it’s a bit tragic but I just think they are SOOO cool!

I’d heard that Childhood Dreams sells them so I saved up especially for them. My Beloved Husband gave me a limit of £10 to spend (he’s so generous! lol) and I managed to get a lot for my money. We came home with a wooden lolly, a wooden fried egg, a wooden bratwurst among others. I ended up with about 7 different items. I loved a lot of the other items in the shop but wasn’t allowed to buy any (boo hiss!).

They stock Usborne Books (another one of my addictions!), the cutest wooden Tool set (Saving up for this already!), lots of wooden cooking implements, some VERY cute little baby shoes and THE most expensive rocking horse I have ever seen!

Annnyway, after I’d spent my budget in Childhood Dreams we popped round to see The Toy Cupboard. I love it in here too, but they don’t stock as many “old skool” toys. However, their display of playmobil was AMAZING! I was so impressed to see that they also have the Plamobil Advent Calendars.

I was even more impressed when I saw that they also sell Playmobil.123. Yay! At last! I’ve found somewhere that stocks it! I wasn’t allowed to purchase any as I’d already blown my budget and I would still probably buy through the site we’ve used before as it’s so much cheaper, but they did have some items that I’ve not seen before.

I think one of the reasons why I love wooden toys and Playmobil.123 is that they are built to last. No matter how much your children munch and throw about these toys, they still seem to look like they did when you bought them. This also helps if you are a tight wad like me and plan to try to sell on as many toys as possible!I also like to think I’m doing my bit for the environment too, by not buying plastic tat that’s built to end up in the dustbin.

Playmobil Posts you might enjoy reading

http://stickyfingers1.blogspot.com/2011/12/what-playmobil-to-buy-for-christmas.html

http://www.whosthemummy.co.uk/2011/11/seven-of-the-best-playmobil-toys-for-christmas-.html

http://babybudgeting.co.uk/review-playmobil-school/

Chatterbox Shows – Planetarium shows for chatty people!

This looks SO brilliant! I can’t wait till my little one is a little bit bigger so I can take her to one of these.

Winchester Intech Science Centre Chatterbox Shows

Mondays , 5 March, 14 May, 11 June 2pm & Monday 2 April (during Easter holidays), time tbc.
They say:

“It’s natural for younger children or those with special needs to want to call out when they come into the planetarium. They like to share the experience, ask questions or just call out with surprise and amazement.

We normally ask visitors to watch quietly so that everyone can enjoy the show without distraction. But here is a show with a difference:

All the stars with no shushhing!

Come along to a Chatterbox Monday show and we promise not to shhhh you up*! It could get a little noisy but it should be great fun for the chatty ones. Shows are charged at our normal rate.

We’re currently running “Secret of the Cardboard Rocket” (30min) in this slot as it is the most child-friendly of our shows and the least likely to scare or overwhelm younger children. However, please do be aware that some children under 5yrs don’t enjoy planetarium shows, especially those scared by the dark.

If you’d be interesting in seeing other shows in this slot, please let us know!”