OK, so I realise i’m posting this the wrong side of half term – although to be fair I was in Dubai so I didn’t actually spend the week frantically finding things to entertain my hyperactive four-year-old (sorry not sorry). However, it dawned on me that Easter is only just around the corner and that’s a whole TWO WEEKS that the kids are off school so I figured I should start planning what I’m going to do with Flynn during that time. That then got me thinking about this blog post……so here it is, my favourite things to do with the boys around Hampshire and Surrey!

1) Wellington Country Park – Reading

We absolutely LOVE it here! I’ve had an annual pass for the last few years and it has been a God send! It’s fab for all ages! When Kit was a baby I used to go there for walks around the lake or for a coffee with friends, and ever since Flynn has been walking, I’ve been taking him to see the animals at the farm, to play in the splash park (when it’s warm enough), to hunt for balls in the mini golf or to burn off some energy in the various parks! They even do themed events in the holidays e.g. Hallo’welly’ween in October and a Mega Egg Hunt at Easter. It’s only about a 20-25 minute drive from my home in Fleet and with the annual pass, it doesn’t matter if you only go for a few hours as you’ve already prepaid! However…..they have put their annual pass prices up rather drastically this year, to the point where I’m really torn whether to renew ours or not! Now that Flynn is in school I would only be able to take him during the holidays and it can get very busy during this time. My current thinking is that I will renew mine (Kit is free until he’s 3) and then just pay for Flynn when I want to take him on the odd occasion. But we will see. Regardless, it’s been fun while it lasted!

2) Soft Play

We LIVE in soft plays – especially during the winter! Flynn can run around like a lunatic, Kit can crawl safely in the baby sections and mummy can sit and have a drink and some cake whilst keeping an eye on them both – and occasionally getting stuck in myself! Some also do a post-school meal deal where the older kids can play and eat for about £7 (bonus – saves me cooking when I get home!). I’m thinking I will do a whole separate blog post on the various soft plays around here as I have tried them all and each has their pros and cons but for now, here are a few of my faves for you to check out:

– Run-About (Farnborough)

– Active Monkeys (Fleet)

– Active Tots (Reading)

– Farnborough Leisure Centre (Farnborough)

– 360 Play (Farnborough)

3) The Lookout Discovery Centre – Bracknell

We’ve only been here once but Flynn loved it and I’ve been meaning to take him back but just haven’t had the time – it’s probably easier to do so without Kit now though as he won’t stay in the pram for long and it isn’t really the best place for him to be crawling around! It’s basically a big indoor science exhibition with over 90 activities which kids can enjoy and learn from. Flynn was only just four when I took him and he had lots of fun but I think as he gets older he will start to enjoy – and understand – it even more! There’s also a big outdoor play area and it’s right next door to Go Ape and Coral Reef – neither of which I’ve been to but have heard good things about!

4) Hart Leisure Centre – Fleet

Flynn loves swimming. He’s forever asking daddy to take him – how much actual swimming he does I don’t know – but even if he just runs through the water, he has a ball! We’ve taken Kit a few times too. He doesn’t seem to be quite as much of a water baby as his big brother but time will tell. Hart Leisure Centre is the closest pool to us so we tend to use this the most – Jonny has a swimming membership too as he goes himself in the evening! However, I personally find the pools quite cold (especially the big one) so I tend to sit on the side and just help with the drying/dressing part at the end. When Flynn was younger we also used to use the swimming pool in Aldershot a fair bit.

5) Rosie & Bean

This is a little play cafe in Fleet that is super cute. They have a bouncy castle which is ideal for the slightly older kids and then lots of different toys – wooden shops and kitchens, train tracks, fancy dress station etc – which the younger kids enjoy. It’s quite small, so when it’s busy it can feel rather chaotic (also when it’s busy parking is a nightmare), but catch it when it’s quiet and it’s a lovely little place to hang out. They also do the best jacket potatoes – I pretty much ate my body weight in them when I was expecting Kit!

6) Redfields

This is a lovely big garden centre in Church Crookham that sells everything from plants and home essentials to clothes, kids toys and independent food/drink labels. Upstairs they have a little play area which is perfect for younger babies – you can sit right next to it and eat cake while they play! For crawling babies it’s not as perfect as there’s no barrier to the play area so they can get out and crawl around (and the stairs downstairs are only a little crawl away) but that just means you have to ditch the cake and sit in there with them (not the end of the world, I know!). There’s also a TV in there and a little computer screen for the older kids – and they sell gingerbread men which always seem to be a firm favourite with the toddlers! Food is pretty pricey, so it’s not somewhere you’d want to eat out at every day, but for a treat now and then, it’s fine! Oh, and at Christmas they have these fabulous singing reindeer which are definitely worth visiting for!

7) Bowling

This is a fairly new one for us but ever since we introduced Flynn to it a few months’ back he’s been asking to go every weekend since. The first time we went Kit was young enough to sit and watch from the pram so I got to play…..and Flynn beat me!! No joke! IN BOTH GAMES! However, fortunately (for me) Kit now won’t stay for longer than two minutes in his pram so I have to sit with him while Flynn and daddy play. Saves me the embarrassment of losing to a four-year-old I guess. We generally go to Farnborough Bowl as it’s the closest but the other day we tried out Hollywood Bowl in Basingstoke and that was pretty cool too – they have arcade games too which Flynn also loves!

8) The park – Fleet

Now that the weather has picked up a bit I just love popping to the park after school to catch the last of the sun (if we’re lucky) and to burn off that last remaining bit of Flynn’s energy before dinner and bedtime. Our go-to is Oakley Park on Albany Road as that’s on our way home. It’s a cute little park with a heater skelter slide, multiple swings and some floor games and it’s next to a big piece of greenland where you can play football/chase etc. We also like Azalea Park in Church Crookham as that’s a bit bigger and has all the usuals as well as an assault course and a scooter track and there are several parks around Elvetham Heath that we like to visit – the main one at The Key is good as it has a separate baby section as well as a skate ramp and zip wire for the older kids.

9) Farnham Park

As parks go, this is the creme de la creme. As well as 320 acres of rolling grassland, nestled in the middle of this deer park is a huge wooden play area for kids of all ages. There is a big slide, a zip wire, a castle, an assault course….honestly, there’s something for everyone. It’s lovely and clean and once you’re done playing you can either pop into Farnham for a wander round the shops and a bite to eat (it’s my favourite local town – it’s so pretty) or go for a walk around the rest of the park. There’s even Farnham Castle which you can look around – and a little cafe that sells ice creams (essential come the summer months)! One word of warning though….if you park in the main car park by the cricket pitch/ranger’s office (which is absolutely chocka at weekends when the weather is nice by the way) the park is fine to get to as it’s at the bottom of a massive hill but oh my gosh it’s a KILLER to get back up to your car – especially when you’re either pushing a buggy or trying to drag a tired, hangry child along with you. Saying that, the promise of an ice cream from the cafe at the top usually works wonders as bribery 😉

10) McDonalds – Fleet

Yep, there you go, I said it. WE LOVE MCDONALDS! haha Now, I promise you we don’t go there THAT often, but as a nice little Friday treat every so often it’s not the biggest crime, right?! Let’s be honest, it’s dirt cheap (£2.99 for a Happy Meal), I can guarantee it’s the one meal that Flynn will most definitely eat all of and he even gets a toy to play with #winning

Better still, the one in Fleet has a little soft play area in it so we can stay long after he’s finished eating and he’s fairly content! Oh, and I can walk there from my house. And the other day I gave some guy a nappy because his little girl had done a poo and he’d been caught short and he bought me a McFlurry to say thank you #doublewinning