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Fab things to do with the kids this Summer

Don't let boredom set in! Book now for brilliant workshops, theatre, summer schools, staycations and more around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

VISIT: Pier and Penny Arcades at the Milestone’s Museum, Basingstoke

Roll-up for a spot of good old-fashioned fun. Milestone’s Museum has just opened a brand new pier and penny arcade. Expect retro postcard-style photo ops to re-snap on Insta, classic games and wacky mirrors. While you’re there, don’t miss the recently-opened Mr. Simpson’s Teddy Museum exhibit, too (above). Awww.

STAYCATION: Family Fun at the Four Seasons Hampshire, Dogmersfield

Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire family friendly

Stay-cay stylishly close to home at the Four Seasons Hampshire this summer. There’s plenty to do for all the family like a splash-about in Sharkie’s Reef (above) and coaching for all ages on two outdoor all-weather tennis courts. Look out too for productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Jungle Book, both on in the gorgeous grounds of the estate this August.

HOLIDAY CLUB: Embley’s Summer Holiday Club, Romsey, 12 July – 13 Aug

Send them off to someone else’s school for a multi-activity summer holiday club at Embley Prep. They’ll get the chance to try out loads of brilliant activities like archery, arts and crafts, bushcraft, cooking, gymnastics, treasure hunts and sports in Embley’s gorgeous 130-acre campus, plus there’s a weekly trip to a local attraction. The summer school runs from 12 July – 13 August, with weekly slots bookable to kids aged from Reception to Year 6.

VISIT: The Lavender Fields, Hartley Park Farm, near Alton

Lavender field Hampshire what's on kids Summer

Bursting into colour a little later this year, July is a great month to visit the gorgeous Lavender Fields. Bring a picnic and snap a few shots of the kiddos in the beautiful setting. There’s also a free bug hunting kit with every child entry ticket (£2).

THEATRE: Pinocchio, Sat 31 July, Festival Place, Basingstoke

Pinocchio Festival Place Basingstoke Pumpkin Theatre

Fancy a little live family theatre in Basingstoke? It’s the classic tale of the wooden boy-puppet and his extending nose performed by the brilliant Pumpkin Theatre group. Afterwards, stage your own escape for a no-strings-attached pizza/burgers/sushi/noodles meal at one of the huge choice of Festival Place eateries.

COURSE: Touch-type with QWERTYkids, from 12 July, online & Hants

QWERTYkids touch-typing

Get them touch-typing like ninjas with a fun, engaging course from online and Hampshire-based QWERTYkids. Run by a friendly duo of former teachers, the remote and face-to-face lessons are suitable for 7 – 17 year-olds. From improving communication to helping with homework and DofE points, kids will take away a lot more than a certificate with this much-needed life skill.

VISIT: Paddle at Victoria’s private beach, Osbourne House, Cowes

Loads to do for families at Victoria’s fave Royal Residence on the Island this summer. Play on Victoria’s private beach, head out on free trails around the glorious grounds, watch 1850s Punch and Judy shows and beat dad at games of quoits, skittles and other traditional Victorian games.

COURSE: Ash & Co. Mini Maker workshops, various dates, Crondall

Reserve your place at the bench for these brilliant get-stuck-in workshops. Muddy’s Robyn did – and the kids loved it. Look at the concentration on eight year-old Alfie and cousin Freddy’s faces! Cordless glue guns, small cordless drills and finger protectors for hot glue plus careful supervision and encouragement from owner Jonty mean kids can work independently, with all the components ready and waiting for you on arrival plus plenty of extras for creative decoration.

VISIT: Sound, Science and Stars at Winchester Science Centre

Leave the lab coats at school – this is science holiday-style. Journey to the deepest ocean depths then look to the skies at the brilliant Winchester Science Centre. On weekends and school holidays from 17 July a new free live science show, Underwater Agents, reveals the sounds from the deep. In the Planetarium, there’s more live shows and full dome film shows. And if you’re not zonked from all that deep space and ocean exploration, there’s nature activities in Bio:Space and huge demos in Science Live, too.

THEATRE: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1 Aug, Basing House

Disappearing down a rabbit hole and discovering the world’s gone pretty strange? Yep, that’ll be all of us. If you can handle more peculiarity, join Alice in Wonderland in the walled garden at Basing House, Basingstoke. Grab a Mad Hatter’s Tea from the Tea Room and picnic on the lawn before curious events start to unfold, curtesy of the Chapterhouse Theatre group.

VISIT: Summer on the lawn at Uppark, near Petersfield

From its lofty elevation on the South Downs Uppark takes in views as far south as the English Channel. It’s a great spot for kite flying, picnics and family games on the lawn. There’s giant chess, Jenga and Connect 4 to try – or how about a spot of croquet? Try telling the time by a sundial, or counting the yummy smells in the scented garden on the ‘Uncover Uppark’ activity trail. On 4 August there’ll be a day of free activity sessions to try, from fitness classes to kite-making – keep an eye on the site for more info.

CLUB: Summer School, My Own Tutor North Hampshire, Basingstoke

Cheaper than childcare and a whole lot more educational than YouTube, My Own Tutor (aka Phil) and his friendly team will be happy to look after your North Hampshire kids this summer. As well as help with learning, they’ll meet new friends, play sports and games and try out some arts and crafts too.

VISIT: The Playroom at The Spring, Sat 24 July – Sat 28 Aug, Havant

Sneak out for some good old-fashioned play at the Spring Arts & Heritage Centre in Havant. Through the school holidays, it’ll have a free interactive play space. Add to the wall of hands, make a monster to join the friendly community of creatures or add to someone else’s creation on the Duplo and Lego walls. If tummies start to grumble, the friendly café will be open for drinks and snacks. 

SHOW: Braniac Live at Robin Hill Country Park, 29 July-28 Aug, Newport

Get ready ’cause this ones sure to go with a bang. Braniac Live is a crash, bang, wallop live science show with exploding dustbins, combusting microwaves, live daredevil stunts and questionable experiments. Don’t try this at home, kids!

FOOD: Pizza & Milkshake Workshop, Lodge at Solent, Whiteley, Fareham

One for the budding chefs! Get stuck in with these fun Saturday workshops at the Parson’s Collar Pub, part of the Lodge at Solent Hotel. They’ll have a go at pizza box decorating, making a pizza base with real dough, adding toppings of their choice and assisting Chef with cooking them in the pizza ovens. Then finish up with ice cream from the pub’s Jude’s Ice Cream parlour. Yum.

ART: Ladybird Book Collection, 24 July – 5 Sept, Mottisfont, Romsey

Mottisfont always does exhibitions well. This exhibition of original, nostalgic watercolours from Ladybird’s 1950s and 1960s book series ‘What To Look For In Summer’ will be a goodie. It’s complemented by digital illustrations by local artist Natasha Durley, sure to appeal to a new generation of Ladybird fans. Look out for upside down bats, strawberry-picking rabbits and this sweet swimming water vole (above). Running alongside, the Sights & Sounds of Summer adventure trail has wildlife-themed challenges, like ‘Roe Deer Races’ and ‘Beat the Osprey’ obstacle course. There’ll be wildflower seed bombs to make, plus tips to design a wildlife garden.

SHOW: Kids Clubs at Port Solent, 27 July – 26 August, Portsmouth

Set sail for Port Solent! There’s FREE Kids Club entertainment every Tuesday and Thursday during the school holidays, plus a brilliant little on-site park to play in too. Best suited to 3 – 12 year-olds, there’ll be magic shows, craft activities birds of prey, pirates and a disco event to bust their best moves in. Make the most of the free parking and head to one of the marina-view eateries afterwards for coffee and cake, pizza, drinks and more.

PARTY: Summer Fest at Blackgang Chine, 28 July – 28 Aug, Ventnor

Blackgang Chine DJ Summer Fest
Pic: David Rutherford

Party past bedtime and soak up the sunset as the DJ spins some tunes over on the Island. No, we’re not talking Ibiza: every Wednesday & Saturday from 28th July – 28th August the party is ON at Blackgang Chine. Things will get lively with foam cannons, lasers, and a few piratey-looking characters strutting their stuff before the evening ends with the famous Blackgang Chine firework finale.

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