There’s nothing better than getting outdoors and having a few hours, or even a full day out in the fresh air! It’s good for us, we feel great at the end of it, and we usually sleep pretty well that night! There are loads of days out in Hampshire and on The Isle of Wight that are perfect for combining family fun with wholesome fresh air!
Gardens and Animals
Exbury Gardens & Steam railway and Sir Harold Hillier Gardens are great ways to spend the day out in the open. The picturesque gardens and their hidden treasures will keep you entertained for hours! Sheltered in the valley of the River Test you’ll discover Mottisfont or take a trip to the picturesque village of Selborne where you can discover three fascinating stories about explorers of the Natural World at Gilbert White’s and The Oates Collection.
For animal lovers there are a few great day’s out that will get you up-close to your favourite animals. Marwell Zoo is ideal for seeing those breathtaking beasts such as tigers and giraffes. The New Forest Wildlife Park has loads to see but you can’t miss those cheeky otters, and Longdown Activity Farm is perfect for the little ones to be well in amongst the cutest of our furry friends. You can witness world-class flying displays at the Hawk Conservancy Trust; they’re like no others you’ll see in the UK and promise a true nature adrenaline rush! Birdworld is a haven for seeing the most amazing and majestic birds you’ve ever seen. Visit Birdworld which covering 26 acres making it one of England’s largest bird parks.
Fun and Adventure
If you you’re a bit of a monkey yourself then Go Ape Southampton promise you fun and adventure in the trees. And if you like being active then New Forest Activities promise a fantastic time on one of their many activities such as Canoeing on the Beaulieu River. If you want to take yourself off exploring then head to Forest Leisure Cycling and hire some bikes for the day.
Discover the artistry behind Bombay Sapphire gin at the beautiful and iconic Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Whitchurch or why not enjoy a game of Cricket or see some live music at the Ageas Bowl. It’s not all heritage steam trains at the Watercress Line! There’s plenty to see and do outdoors at each station, including a visit to the footbridge used in Harry Potter films, two picnic sites, an outdoor play area, and exploring the locomotive yard. Great day out come rain or shine!
If it’s adventure you’re after then visit one of Hampshire’s most exciting attractions; Paultons Park. The Park has over 70 rides and attractions including Peppa Pig World and Dinosaur themed land, Lost Kingdom! Blackgang Chine is an Isle of Wight institution with rides and curious attractions. Thruxton Motorsport Centre includes such thrills as circuit driving, go-karting and off roading. And, Robin Hill Adventure Park offers unique experiences with their ¼ mile Toboggan Run and Canopy Skywalk!
Discovery and Exploration
Many like to learn a little whilst they are having a great day out and there are plenty of attractions steeped in history to do just that. Butser Ancient Farm is a unique experimental archaeological site and a fascinating day out. Hollycombe Working Steam Museum includes an Edwardian Fairground, railways, and traction engines. Manor Farm is a working historic farm with lots to see. Marvel at “The Big-Guns” at Fort Nelson. Unearth amazing historical stories at Basing House. And, discover maritime history at Bucklers Hard. Visit Lepe Country Park, with over a mile of beach is a great day out for all.
You could visit Chawton House Library, a romantic 400-year-old manor house once owned by Jane Austen’s brother and known to her as the ‘Great House’. It’s full of historical treasures and fascinating stories, and boasts beautiful gardens and grounds. With plenty of open spaces for children to explore, Hurst Castle offers a great day out for the family and there’s even a short ferry ride to get there to add to the adventure.
Sometimes there’s nothing better than packing up at picnic and heading to a picturesque country park, luckily Hampshire has some great ones to choose from; Staunton Country Park has 1,000 acres for you to explore. Queen Elizabeth Country Park provides you with dramatic download and beautiful woodland. And, Royal Victoria Country Park is where woodland meets the beach! Peek into the private world of Queen Victoria and Albert and their nine children at Osborne House.
Wander in the footsteps of Tudor monarchs at The Vyne country estate nestled just outside of Basingstoke. Indoor and outdoor family trails and activities run throughout the year. Look out for evening open-air events in July and August. The gardens, woodland and parkland are great for country walks. Families can access a downloadable woodland walk from The Vyne’s website. Nothing beats a picnic on The Vyne’s north lawn with views of mansion’s grand portico on one side and a lake and rolling parkland landscape on the other. If the rain is pouring down, retreat inside the cosy Brewhouse tea-room where kids’ lunch boxes are available.
A lot of these outdoor attractions also provide shelter and indoor areas to explore if the weather takes a turn for the worse, so don’t be put off if there’s a few dark clouds in the sky! If you are looking for things to do indoors then check out our indoor itineraries.