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.


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!


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.


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.


Are always excellent.

Baby Facilities

There are baby facilities throughout the park.

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


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


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 2013: Farleigh Mount

Farleigh Mount Country Park, Winchester

Farley Mt Rd  Hursley SO21 2


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!


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.


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.


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!


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


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!”


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.



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.


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.


N/A apart from the outdoor BBQ facilities

Baby Facilities

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


Lots of it and all free.



Rating 5 out of 5


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

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!