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Things to do with your family

Looking for a family friendly day out? We’ve personally tried and tested our favourite things to do with our families and wanted to share these with you.

Basing Wood

Located to the north of Basingstoke near Popley and Chineham is Basing Wood where you can enjoy the vast expanse of woodland all year round. Visit for a crisp wintery walk, den building in autumn, a picnic in spring or butterfly watching in summer. You’ll find three main walking trails, large open spaces and picnic benches. The kids will enjoy a nature play area including swings, rocks to climb, tree stumps to navigate and a large concrete tunnel to scramble through.

Full of interesting wildlife and insects, you may be lucky enough to spot deer, fallow, rabbits or even froglets and the protected great crested newts in the natural pond by the play area.

Enjoy the woodland to get away from it all, rain or shine. Any four-legged friends will have lots of fun too.

Crabtree Plantation

Another firm favourite with our families is Crabtree Plantation.

Just minutes from Basingstoke town centre, Crabtree Plantation can be entered via the arch off the A30 between Old Basing and Basingstoke or from Black Dam Ponds car park area. Park in the free car park and you are met with beautiful woods, open fields with fantastic views across the borough. Great for walking, cycling, flying a kite or just take a picnic, stop, relax and enjoy the surroundings and wildlife.

Follow one of the main woodland paths, which is suitable for prams and the land will drop to reveal a children’s play area. From here venture through the nature reserve and the underpass to Black Dam Ponds. Children will enjoy the secure play park, watching the swans and mallards and spotting the abundance of wildlife on the ponds.

If all the fresh air has made you peckish then Black Dam Ponds are within easy reach of Festival Place with all its eateries and amenities. Crabtree is located within easy driving distance to Olivers Fish and Chips, The Street Bakeshop, The Crown and The Bolton Arms.

Town centre

There is always plenty to do in Basingstoke town centre. Enjoy a day out at Festival Place, shop at The Malls or the Top of the Town. Break up your day with a visit to the Basingstoke Discovery Centre or watch a film at Vue Cinema. If the children (or you) have some more energy to burn then book into Flip Out for a jump around.

If you are looking to escape the shops for some fresh air, then just a short walk from the town centre will take you to the amphitheatre seating area or continue past the water fountains onto Eastrop Park. This popular park will give the children a chance to run around, enjoy the play area, tree trail and watch the ducks on the boating lake.

After all this excitement, there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. Our favourite family friendly eateries are Wagamamas, Festival Street Kitchen and The Tea Bar.

Festival Place

Milestones Museum

We are lucky enough to have our own living history museum in Basingstoke. This ticket gives you access to the museum for free for a whole year from the date of purchase. So it doesn’t matter if you spend an hour or a whole day there, you have a year to make the most of your tickets.

The main museum is based on the ground level which is accessible via a central staircase or lift. Change up your coins for some old school pennies and enjoy the traditional working penny arcade. Children are fascinated with how the games work.

Walk the cobbled streets and head into ye olde sweetshop, pub or take a walk around the vintage vehicles. When it is time for a break there is a café and an outdoor picnic area.

Keep your eyes peeled on their website as they run events throughout the year including Halloween, Easter and Christmas.

Milestones Museum, courtesy of Hamphire Cultural Trust

Beggarwood Park

Our local families have recommended Beggarwood Park as a great place to spend a few hours on a weekend. Recent improvements include an extended children’s play area which is suitable for toddlers and those up to the age of 12. There is a pump track for BMX and mountain bikers, skateboarders, roller bladers and scooter riders.

Outside of the park and pump track there is plenty of open space to enjoy.  If, after all the fresh air, you are in need of some refreshments then the Café in the Park and Beggarwood Community Centre is open on weekends from 10am to 3pm. Here you can grab a hot drink, breakfast bap or a delicious homemade cake. If you are after something more substantial, then the Holly Blue pub (named after the Holly Blue butterfly which can be found at Beggarwood Park) adjoins the park and has a menu packed with traditional favourites and modern dishes.  The Holly Blue is dog-friendly and has a large garden to enjoy the view of the park.