Milk the cows and feed the chicks at Manor Farm Country Park. See bigger animals at Marwell Zoo, home to meerkats, penguins, amur tigers, and snow leopards. Explore deep space in the planetarium at the Winchester Science Centre. Or make like Harry Potter and ride the Mid-Hants Watercress steam railway.
Younger kids can say hi to Peppa Pig at Paulton’s Theme Park. Drive down to the coast to explore what lies beneath, at the Blue Reef Aquarium. See ancient ships at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Drive a motorised ship at Gunwharf Quays. Or brave the glass Sky Walk at Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower.
Head out to Golden Gecko Climbing for the climbing tower, challenge wall, and 150m2 of bouldering. Take a two-hour walk with the alpacas of Hensting. Enjoy STEM-based fun and learning at Winchester Science Centre. Or go all Babe Ruth and shoot for a home run at 1st Base, the UK’s first baseball simulator.
Ride the placid and friendly horses at the South Downs Trekking and Riding School. Got a head for heights? Go Ape Southampton awaits, with its lovely backdrop of water meadows and woodland. Beat dad around the indoor-karting track at Teamsport in Gosport, or thrash him at singles at Portsmouth Tennis Centre.
If you love a tipple, you’ll be well up for a wander around the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery, which offers tours and masterclasses. Blow away the hangover on the Test Valley golf course, a 6666-yard affair that’s dry and playable all year round. Or challenge yourself to the max on the tricky course at Alresford.
Stay on site to fish the River Test with the licence that you remembered to bring. Didn’t you? Potter around Alresford’s quaint Georgian colour-washed houses and tearooms. Get down to Grange Park for one of the major European opera festivals. Or pedal over 750 miles of off-road trails, including the beautiful Ox Drove.
History buff? Or just a Downton fan? Get over to Highclere to see where all the action gets filmed. Delve deep into 900 years of history at awe-inspiring Winchester Cathedral. Need more of a history fix? How about Stansted Park, Gilbert White’s house in Selborne, or Jane Austen’s house at Chawton?
Catch top DJs, major artists, comedians and, of course, classic cars at CarFest. Reduce the population of pesky clay pigeons at Chalky Hill. And keep the car theme going at the National Motoring Museum at Beaulieu, with displays of classic cars, sports cars, rally cars, and F1 racers.
On-site fun comes in the shape of get-togethers in front of the 55-inch telly. Bring your passwords for streaming over the superfast EE broadband. Try out your croquet skills on the lovely lawn, stay out for supper on the coal barbecue, and watch the stars from around the crackling firepit.
Switch off with some me-time on a spa day at Norton Park, with its sauna, steam room, dedicated relaxation room, heated loungers and heated indoor pool. Mix things up with a cocktail masterclass and tour at Bombay Sapphire Distillery down the road. Or try a cheeky life-drawing class at the Royal Maritime Club Hotel.
Brave the high ropes at Go Ape Southampton. Build a raft at Marwell Activity Resort, or try archery or adventure golf. Head down to the coast to blow away the cobwebs high above Portsmouth on the Spinnaker Tower’s Sky Deck. Or wander the historic dockyard, home of the HMS Warrior and HMS Victory.
For a big night out, Southampton’s the place. Mix your own cocktails at 1932 or Bring and Mix. Throw shapes at Popworld. Sip beautifully kept real ales at Olaf’s Tun Craft Ale Pub. Squeeze into the Butcher’s Hook micropub. Or enjoy live music and a modern café culture at The Grapes, with its historical Titanic connections.