Back to school – time to make the most of it!

August 14, 2020

For many the months of juggling children at home full time, homeschooling, work and play, has been exhausting. Lockdown followed by the summer holidays has meant little rest-bite from parenting…and it’s OK to feel ready for a break!

As the kids finally begin to return to school, you can enjoy some very well-earned adult-only time, or if you have little ones, some precious time with them before they begin their school journey. Hampshire’s Top Attractions are ready to help you make the most of the back to school freedom…

Time for you…

High Tea at Spinnaker Tower (by Scott Kershaw Photography)

Treat yourself to a delicious High Tea, served 105m above the ground, in The Clouds at Spinnaker Tower.  Guests can relax in the peaceful surroundings, with unrivalled views out over Portsmouth harbour and beyond.  The High Tea package also includes admission to the main view deck and amazing Sky Walk.

Enjoy the September weather without the crowds! Gilbert White & The Oates Collections is open 7 days a week throughout September, that includes access to the house and gardens.

Children back at school? After months of homeschooling and summer holidays, enjoy some time catching up with friends with a coffee and snacks from the outdoor kiosk, in the picturesque surroundings of Fort Nelson. Open daily – free and just £3 per car for parking. Book in advance.

Discover the Pinetum Sculpture Trail at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. These botanical willow sculptures are modelled on the real cones created by internationally renowned artist Tom Hare. With interpretation boards near each sculpture. You can discover more as you explore the trail. Normal admission fees apply.

Exbury Garden’s is the perfect place to unwind and explore while enjoying some gentle peace and quiet when the kids go back to school. Also, continuing due to popular demand, Exbury’s craft events will be carrying on at the weekends in September!

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has now reopened to the public with a new joint ticket, giving access to Lord Nelson’s and Henry the Eighth’s Flagships in one price, for a whole year. Whilst visitor numbers are limited, it couldn’t be a better time to re-discover the national treasures at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Wightlink is your link to the perfect autumn break. Head across the water to the Isle of Wight (it’s just 22 minutes away) for miles of coastal walks, fantastic cycling routes, countryside retreats and delicious local produce.

The Army Flying Museum features something to engage all ages, and with kids going back to school the Museum will naturally offer a quieter environment for those wishing to take in the full history of Army Flying at their own pace. That’s not to say there is nothing for the younger kids not ready for school yet, with plenty for them to see and do. Book tickets online.

While the kids are at school, it’s the perfect time to head out as a couple or with friends on a Text Quest! There is a quest for everyone, those who relish a challenge and those who want to discover more about the cities that they love. All quests are outside, so they are safe.

The D-Day Story is taking part in Heritage Open Days that runs from 11 to 20 September. Join them for a free online tour of the Overlord Embroidery, created to commemorate D-Day and an astounding 83 metres long. Date is to be confirmed, visit their website for more details.

Enjoy a day out to Hurst Castle while the kids are back at school. Take a leisurely ferry ride from Keyhaven and discover this artillery fortress built by Henry VIII. With plenty of open spaces, it’s a great place to meet up with friends for a coffee with history!

Time with your little ones…

Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park is the perfect place for pre-schools
Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park is the perfect place for pre-schools

Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park is the perfect place for pre-schools this September! Whilst the big kids are back in school, little piggies can enjoy 9 enchanting themed rides, walk through attractions, playgrounds and splash parks as well as appearances from Peppa & George! Pre-booking essential – limited capacity.

Treat your little ones to a fun day out at the Watercress Line: ride on a steam train, visit the footbridge used in Harry Potter films, explore the locomotive yard and enjoy a delicious lunch in our south-facing picnic areas. Children under 5 years go FREE (standard travel only).

Little Beaulieu is open and a limited special offer ticket has been introduced on admissions at 3pm and 4pm. This discounted ticket provides entry to all aspects of the attraction until it closes at 6pm. Perfect for families wanting an afternoon playdate.

The kids may be returning to school and getting busy, but at the weekends there’s plenty of fun to be had at New Forest Activities. Get them paddling along the Beaulieu River or get them active learning archery. Take time out with your kids and spend a weekend creating memories to last a lifetime!

At Itchen Valley County Park the Walk and Talks for adults don’t stop and Park Explorers for the pre-schoolers starts. This activity takes place outside following a theme. And don’t forget that their café is open as a takeaway every day for that coffee and cake so needed at the end of outdoor activity!

Enjoy time outside and enjoying beautiful nature by booking a day at the Hawk Conservancy Trust. Marvel at incredible flying displays and enjoy the peaceful and spacious grounds, home to over 130 birds of prey and owls. Plus, the new Top Trumps activity trail for 2020! Pre-booking required.