Epic family attractions and charming Southern gems are easy to find in the South, as there’s so many remarkably great ones, especially in Hampshire! With beautiful country parks, divine coastal escapes and an abundance of unique heritage sites, the South is an absolute playground for family adventures. So, let’s explore some of the many delightful family attractions Hampshire has to offer!
Prepare to be mesmerised by the exquisite gardens of the South! Exbury Gardens, with its stunning display of rhododendrons and azaleas, is like stepping into a floral wonderland. Its unique riverside location also offers a steam railway that travels through the gardens. There is also a play area and restaurant. Mottisfont, on the other hand, offers serene riverside walks and historic rose gardens, perfect for a tranquil family outing. Whatever the season, you’re really in for a treat with its various gardens, flowers, ancient trees, fruits and herbs. Look out for the infamous, graceful swans gliding along The River Test!
For those seeking a grander adventure, Hillier Gardens promises a vast collection of plant species from around the world. Spread across 180 acres, this horticultural gem is renowned for its exquisite collection of rare and exotic plants. Expect various themed gardens, each showcasing a unique array of flora, vibrant flower borders, serene water gardens, aromatic herb gardens and enchanting woodland trails! Sounds dreamy, right? As one of Hampshire’s extraordinary family attractions, Hilliers Gardens fosters a love for nature and botany in children. The whole family can indulge in leisurely strolls or even explore the gardens on bike, creating cherished memories amidst the enchanting greenery.
And of course, no garden tour would be complete without a visit to Osborne, the former residence of Queen Victoria. As you wander through the stunning grounds, you’ll be transported back in time, experiencing the splendour of Queen Victoria’s beloved estate. The grand architecture, meticulously manicured gardens and divine sea views create a truly regal atmosphere, allowing both adults and children to immerse themselves in the captivating history and ambiance of this iconic royal residence. Let the kids feel like royalty as they roam the grounds and imagine life in a bygone era!
Sensational Visitor Attractions
The South is home to some iconic visitor attractions that will captivate the entire family. At Beaulieu, you can get up close and personal with vintage cars at the National Motor Museum or hop on the monorail for a thrilling ride through the picturesque grounds. You can also explore the stunning Beaulieu Palace House and gardens. Don’t miss the Beaulieu Abbey ruins!
Marwell Wildlife has an array of incredible animals from all corners of the globe. Additionally, visiting Marwell Wildlife offers a unique chance to witness majestic creatures up close and support their conservation. The zoo’s commitment to animal welfare and education makes it a meaningful and unforgettable experience for the whole family. Moreover, the vast acres of the park (approximately 140) provide ample space to explore and enjoy leisurely walks amidst beautiful surroundings, adding to the charm of the visit.
And Paultons Park, with its whimsical Peppa Pig World, guarantees ear-to-ear smiles on the faces of the little ones. Families will delight in the diverse range of thrilling rides and attractions for all ages, making it a perfect day out for everyone. The park’s immaculate gardens and friendly atmosphere create lasting memories!
For a more historical twist, the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth offers a glimpse into Britain’s maritime heritage, and Winchester Science Centre is packed with interactive exhibits that make learning a blast!
Family Attractions for Younger Children
Toddlers and young children are in for a treat with these family-friendly gems! Longdown is a delightful farm where kids can get hands-on with adorable farm animals, and Staunton Farm offers the perfect blend of play areas and animal encounters. Plus, Furzey Gardens is a sensory paradise with fairy doors hidden among the trees, sparking the imagination of little ones.
For an authentic farm experience, Manor Farm lets the youngsters immerse themselves in the daily routines of a working farm. These attractions are perfect for the under-3s as well. So, every member of the family has a day filled with joy and laughter. If you’re looking specifically for things to do in the summer holidays, so you can take your bigger kids too, have a look at our blog about things to do in the holidays!
Charming Country Parks for Chilled Afternoons
Hampshire is home to some of the most picturesque country parks with the perfect setting for family adventures. One dazzling gem you’ll find in Hampshire is Staunton Country Park, where you can wander through stunning ornamental gardens, meet friendly farm animals and enjoy picnics in the great outdoors. The miniature railway is a hit with kids and parents alike, taking you on a scenic journey through the park’s highlights.
Another not-to-be-missed attraction is Queen Elizabeth Country Park, boasting miles of walking and cycling trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints. Let the kids run wild in the adventure playground, while you savour the panoramic vistas of the South Downs National Park.
Coastal Family Attractions for Sunny Seaside Bliss
The allure of the Hampshire Coast is undeniable with its fun family attractions. Sandham Gardens in Sandown Bay is a family favourite. You’ll find Sandham Skynets: The Big Bounce, Sandham Karts and Dino Islands: A Golf Adventure, as well as free entry to the rainbow playground and skate park. Plus, make time for the Ice Cream Shack and enjoy the beautiful beach nearby when you need a moment of peace! Sandham Gardens has everything you need for a day of sun, sea and smiles.
For an unforgettable adventure, also in the Isle of Wight head to The Needles Landmark. High up from the cliff-top down to the beach below, you can take in views from the Isle of Wight’s iconic chairlift. If you fancy a dramatic trip around the Needles rocks
and famous Needles Rocks & Trinity Lighthouse, take a pleasure boat from the jetty with panoramic views of the Alum Bay sand cliffs and iconic chairlift. As the Isle of Wight’s most iconic landmark, it’s easy to see why thousands of people visit each year! Fascinating history. Captivating geology. Incredible views. All in all, what’s not to love, right?
Unique Heritage Learning
Hampshire is steeped in history! For families with curious minds, it offers an incredible opportunity to step back in time. Begin your journey at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard! Here, you can explore the fascinating remains of Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose. Witness history brought to life as you discover the stories of the crew and their belongings rescued from the depths of the Solent.
Another gem is the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. This living history museum allows you to stroll through the streets of the past. Experience what life was like in Hampshire during the Victorian era and both World Wars. The interactive exhibits and costumed characters make history engaging and enjoyable for young and old alike.
So, gather the clan, set your compass for the South, and embark on an unforgettable family journey. Laughter, learning and cherished memories; create your own tale of adventure in this mesmerising corner of England! Also, Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok! There’s always so many exciting things happening so don’t miss anything you’d love!