Our Staycation in Hampshire: Five Fabulous Days!

For the May half term we packed up the car and headed down the M3 to Hampshire…well Milford on Sea to be more precise.

We checked the weather every day on the lead up and all looked good…until the day before we went!

But, hey ho! It’s England, we’re used to it. We packed raincoats and wellies and had a plan of action.

Days One to Two

We arrvied at Shorefield Country Park where we would be staying in one of their ‘Superior Lodges’.

Shorefield

With three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a fully fitted kitchen, it had everything we needed.

The lodge was warm and spacious and was a perfect lookout for rabbit and woodpecker spotting!

The only slight snag we ran in to was the lack of towels. I didn’t check – just assumed there would be towels, so we did have a slight panic.

But it was fine – we were able to hire some from the reception. Crisis averted!

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Shorefield Country Park. It was a great base for exploring the area and the place itself had a lot of offer.

The pool was very child friendly and for the adults who could enjoy them, there was a spa bath, jaccuzzi, steam room and sauna. There is also a heated outfoor pool for the summer months.

Around the site, we found lots of different play areas and a lovely footpath that led to the local beach.

Milford

The site also boasts a mini supermarket and restaurant with evening entertainment for the whole family.

We spent a whole day exploring the site and enjoying the facilities. But there was lots to see in the local area so we had to venture out too…

Day Three

After much deliberation we decided to spend the day at Beaulieu Motor Museum – we had high expectations and weren’t disappointed!

 My son loved getting close to so many cars – old and new! A particular favourite was the car that looked like an orange (or pumpkin if you ask him). We also got to pose in one of the cars and dress up in appropriate attire!

motor museum

They really do have an amazing collection of cars and the exhibition space has been set up perfectly.

You can wander around garages, past old shop fronts…

motor museum 1

…and then turn a corner and you’re in touching distance of an F1 car!

motor museum 2

The history of motoring ‘ride’ was very informative and fun – it was a great way to learn about how cars had evolved whilst traveling around in our little pod!

In particular, the TopGear section was a hit! Looking at the different iconic cars you’re taken immediately to the episode you remember watching!

The only thing that would have made it even better would have been if you were able to sit in any of them!

There is much more to the Motor Museum though. The grounds around the abbey are beautiful and the children’s play area was a big hit.

We also enjoyed spotting the different pieces of modern sculpture as we walked around the grounds.

Day Four

For this day of our holiday, we hopped on to a ferry from Lymington and went to the Isle of Wight.

After a quick stop at The Gossips Cafe for milkshakes (which were fab!) we headed to Newport to spend the day at Robin Hill.

What a lovely place!

P1020837The park is packed with different things for the whole family to enjoy! We watched the Owl show and got to see the beautiful birds swooping above our heads. We then followed the path through the woods and discovered hidden play parks, sculptures and oriental gardens.

P1020838Coming out onto the fields at the bottom we were greeted by more play areas and lazer clay pigeon shooting, archery and huge slides! The rickety wobbly bridges over the lakes were a source of much nervous laughter!

The smell of BBQ led us to the African play area which was filled with life size animal figures (and a couple of eating stations!).

We caught the green tractor back up to the stop and enjoyed more of the views.

To finish our trip, my son enjoyed the cow train ride – as did my husband!

Day Five

Our short break was coming to an end, but we had another lovely place to visit before we made the long drive home.

Wandering around the grounds of Exbury Gardens you are immediately hit by their beauty. We were constantly stopping to investigate different plants or to follow a different path to find out where it would lead.

P1020870The history of the park is difficult to miss – which is what makes it so lovely. You can imagine aristocratic families taking a walk through the grounds or picnicking near one of the many flowering trees.

P1020862
The steam train was fantastic and should definitely not be missed!

P1020890

The whole family enjoyed getting in to the quaint carriages and setting off with a toot! From the vantage point of the carriages you were able to really see the beauty of the gardens and the hidden gems you might miss just on foot. Dotted along the track and lots of sculptures to catch your eye.

P1020898 P1020895New for 2014 is the children’s play area. My son could easily have spent a great deal of time here!

P1020878 P1020876

Exbury kindly invited us to visit the gardens and railway and we’d like to thank them for a wonderful day.

All too soon our trip was over, and although we had a lovely week, there was still so much that we didn’t get to see.

We’re already planning a return visit!

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