We’re in Hampshire and we always manage to find something to do at the weekends that either doesn’t cost a great deal or is free, which is great.
If you read our blog you’ll know that we’re very fond of the great and small outdoors – and nearly every one of our favourite places are outside – and outside is nearly always free! Woo hoo! TKMaxx challenged us to dress Hero for a Spring adventure and sent us a lovely gift card for £30, to see what we’d pick! We headed out this morning to get him kitted out, and we may have caused a bit of chaos in the store…
Our TKMaxx Clothing Haul
We’re huge fans of TKMaxx as unlike other stores, we never know what we’re going to find! The boys love hiding in the clothing racks [sorry, TKMaxx store assistants] and popping out whilst I’m sorting through the hangers to see if we can find a bargain – and we did today! I also love buying from TKMaxx as I don’t have to cry about it when they’ve rolled down a hill and covered their clothes with stains that I can’t get out, because they never cost me a fortune thankfully.
So, we have our haul, as Yotie told me I need to call it. Hero LOVES his jeans. At RRP of £22.99, they were amazing value at only £11.99 and they’re super soft and stretchy which is perfect for climbing about and wrestling brothers. He chose the yellow t-shirt for £5.99 and the hat for the same price [all of my boys have a thing about hats] and I chose him a very Spring-feeling shirt so that after he’s finished rolling about outside, he can dress up smartly for dinner at his Grandparents afterwards and feel all smart [despite the muddy knees/bottom/elbows/face].
Our Top Ten Places to Play In Hampshire
Now we have our outfit ready, TKMaxx asked us to put it to the test, and give them our top ten places to play at the weekends. We had a family vote and the top ten best places we decided on are:
Hampshire Country Parks
Some of them that we love are Itchen Valley, Royal Victoria and Moors Valley. We love them because [besides the car parking ticket] we can spend as long as we like there, and run wild. Moors Valley is brilliant for events like the Gruffalo Trail where we hunted through their deep dark woods on the trail of the Big Bad Mouse. They also have seasonal activities like the Pumpkin and Scarecrow festival.
The Farmers’ Markets
Romsey and Winchester – Our local farmers market is held on the first Sunday of each month and we love getting out early to see who’s selling what. The boys have discovered a love of courgette cupcakes, buffalo burgers and chutney from their visits. They love running from stall to stall buying produce – and Jensen loves that he can buy his teeny sprat fish from the fishmonger there and pick them out himself, knowing they’re as fresh as can be.
This was historically also known as Chaderton Castle, South Castle and Portsea Castle, and was constructed under Henry VIII in 1544. It’s free of charge and opens this Tuesday for the year. I took my class there a few years ago when they had actors playing the roles of Tudors about the castle and it was amazing. There’s also a brilliant lawn for picnicking on at lunch.
It’s stony and usually very, very windy but we LOVE it there. It’s a country park too but with a beach where you can see across to the Isle of Wight. We walk a little way up the beach path to an area where a river breaks off from the sea – and that’s where we go crabbing every year. It’s the funniest family activity we do together – nearly every one of us has been nipped by one of the Lepe Beach crabs or fallen in the water whilst a crab makes off with their cocktail sausage. At the top of the cliffs sits a wooden playground and two BBQ areas which we use every summer to host Hero’s birthday party as it’s the loveliest place to spend an afternoon.
Farley Mount Monument and Forest
We’ve been here today! Part of the Woodland Trust, Farley Mount is a country park where the Farley Mount monument dedicated to the horse ” Beware Chalk Pit” sits – the horse was so named as it captured a victory for its owner racing in 1734, only a year after having fallen into a chalk pit whilst out fox-hunting. It’s one of the highest points in Hampshire, with the monument giving the park its name. At the foot of the very long hill down to the forest, there are also various wooden constructions for children to climb on [and grownups too], huge jumping stones and if you’re lucky, there are quite a few highland cows [or “coos” as I learned in Scotland] which graze there too. It’s one of our very favourite places to adventure.
Rufus Stone, New Forest
We used to bring the huskies to the Rufus Stone long before we had our boys and now they get to enjoy it too. It’s a completely beautiful and peaceful area of the New Forest featuring the Rufus Stone – a stone encased in iron which marks the spot where King William II was allegedly killed by an arrow whilst out hunting in 1100AD. We love it because there’s a huge pub called the Walter Tyrrell which has delicious cream teas and a massive wooden fort where the boys can climb about, and the New Forest ponies, cows, and now donkeys are inquisitive, following us about. Last time we were there, we had a donkey who liked us that much he tried to get into the car! we picnic, bug hunt, paddle and have the best summer afternoons there, safe from the roads – and parking is free!
This is our favourite summer beach. It’s in Bournemouth, and we pay for parking but it’s the cleanest sand and water, with lifeguards on duty, and ice cream. I’d live on this beach if I could. I feel as though I’m on holiday every time I visit.
Southampton Art Gallery
Somewhere that we don’t visit as often as we could – but it’s indoors and if the weather is awful, it’s great as they host some fantastic children’s events here.
Southampton Common Playground
Usually, we feed the ducks or ride our bike and scooters around the common, but this year we discovered that they’ve invested a great deal in a huge playing complex for children. It features climbing walls, forts, waterworks – everything for a fun afternoon and it’s generally packed but worth visiting.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Finally, at number ten we have somewhere that’s not free but amazing value and guaranteed to put a smile on your little ones’ faces – Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Home of HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860, it’s an amazing place to spend a day and then some.
So, now Spring is sprung and the clocks are going forward, there’s no excuse – get up, get dressed and get out and have some fun in the great outdoors! Oh, be sure to head to TK Maxx so you don’t miss the huge drop of kids’ clothing and toys across the UK – [especially in the Fareham store recently – get there quickly!] once it’s gone, it’s gone!
This is a collaborative post with TKMaxx