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Half Term Survival Guide

Hands up who’s tired of grey, February skies? My children would agree. All this SATs pressure and limited daylight means only one thing, endless sofa bouncing. So before the little dears trash every inch of the house, get them outside quick. Need pointers? Read on.


Tree Climbing, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, Mon 20 Feb

Get those classroom-bound kids outside, after a day climbing trees they’ll be fit as fiddles and bouncing with confidence.


The Dry Ski Slope, Basingstoke Leisure Park 

If you’ve booked your Easter Alpine escape (jealous moi?) then give the brood a head-start at the Basingstoke Dry Ski Slope — there’s a special bar to support absolute beginners and however kamikaze your kids, they could always do with some extra practice.  Blighty-bound for the rest of the year? Pack some SPF, a thermos of Glühwein, and that fetching eighties ski-suit…  see you could be in Zermatt. Almost.


Geocaching, worldwide

Your tech-savvy kids will love this treasure hunt for Millenials: trust me, it’s the perfect way to entice Minecraft devotees into the countryside. Simply download the app and follow the GPS signal to find tiny packages deposited in the undergrowth. It’s harder than you think and there are GPS points across Hampshire’s footpaths. Pack cracker-sized toys to swap, if 4G lets you down you can always hide these to avoid total tween meltdown!


Scribbles and Sketches Creative Trail, Mottisfont Abbey, Romsey

Not every child wants to dangle from trees or race down a black run; for the creative ones, here’s a crafty, make-and-do trail inspired by the artist Rex Whistler (read my review of The Abbey’s Whistler exhibition here).  Mottisfont never lets me down with its wonderful trails: designed for all ages, toddler to tween, they use every inch of the grounds adding a rich sense of history and storytelling.  Bring wellies, there’s a very muddy, wooden play area which my kids adore.


Feathered Friends, Manor Farm Country Park, Bursledon, Southampton

A more gentle outdoorsy activity this one: crafty fun at Manor Farm making pinecone bird-feeders and a giant nest before following the wild bird-themed trail (tantrum free we can but hope, if all else fails refer back to geocaching!).

10am-4pm, 18-26 Feb, Manor Farm Country Park

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hampshire