We have been on holiday this week around the Portsmouth area. I has been lovely although the weather has been slightly Arctic in temperature. Never the less there was no rain so we kept optimistic. We packed our week pretty full of different things. None of us had been in the area so there were a lot of musts on the list. We had a lovely drive down through the South Downs National Park and had a picnic at Bishop Waltham Palace a lovely ruin looked after by English Heritage. it is a free site to get into and there were plenty of benches to eat at. There are no toilets on site though so nappy changes are alfresco.
We stayed at Windrush Holiday Park which was great, really close to the beach, there is a swimming pool for warmer days, a lovely play park which M loved, a crazy golf course and a nice pub which had free wifi. We would definitely stay there again.
The first day we drove into Portsmouth and went to the Historic dockyard. It was really amazing, I have always wanted to see the Mary Rose and it didn’t disappoint. You can buy a pass for everything on the site which includes the Victory, the Warrior, Mary Rose and all the exhibitions, it costs £28 but does last for 12 months and individual attraction cost about £15 each. M loved the boats and at the Mary Rose there were interactive stations which kept him busy including colour rubbings which we spent about an hour at. We took a picnic to keep costs down as it was a pretty pricey day. There are great cafes and lots of baby change facilities available in different location around the site. Most is pram friendly except the Warrior and Victory as these are old boats and there are a lot of steep steps and low ceilings. We took reins to limit the risk of M falling down steps or running off the edge of a boat (you never know he is 2 and fearless!).
Another great thing we did was to get the ferry over to the Isle of White. It was really easy, we booked on line at White Link Ferries, drove to the ferry port in Portsmouth and were over to Fishbourne in 45 minutes. The ferry was great, it was really quiet and had a soft play area which M had to himself (make the most of not being at school) also meant we could enjoy a hot cup of coffee with 5 minutes peace, they also play a film for the little ones. On the other side we went to Osborne House. We have got an English Heritage card so we can get into all the sites so it made the day cheaper for us. Osborne House was great, it has so much space for little ones to run around in. A great play area near to the swiss cottage about a 1km walk from the main house accessible by pram. There is a place to leave your pram if you go around the house. M enjoyed spotting dogs and other animals in the paintings as we went around. We also found a little bluebell walk which was beautiful.
We also went to Carisbrooke Castle which was a 30 minute drive from Osborne. It was a lovely castle including meeting the donkeys that turn the well wheel to bring up water. You can walk all around the walls as well and there are beautiful views from the top. We didn’t take the pram as there are a lot of steps but you could leave the pram at the bottom. There are tea rooms and changing facilities available.
As soon as I found out that there was a place called Peppa Pig World I knew I had to take M who is obsessed with it. Finding out it was only a 45 minute drive from where we were staying was like it was meant to be. My other half did not join us for this trip as it is £27 if you book online for anoyone over 1m tall. Luckily M is below this so I only had to pay for myself. We took another pack lunch to save on costs. As soon as he saw the sign for Peppa he was like a man possessed. We went on every ride about 5 times, out of holiday there were no queues which was amazing. He even got to meet George and Peppa (who stole his hat). There is plenty to do for the whole day and you can go into the whole of Poultans Park and M could go on a lot of rides at 87cm tall. If I lived closer I would definitely get a season pass, it is pricey at £102 but I think it would be worth it. There is a fantastic indoor soft play area so if the weather wasn’t so great there would be plenty to do. There are picnic areas everywhere including a covered area. Without question I would go back and M asks to go back all the time.
One off the tick list for me was a trip to Brighton. It is somewhere I have always wanted to go. My mum used to go when she was a little girl living in Surrey so it was really nice to imagine her there with my grandparents running along the pebbly beach. The place has a lovely relaxed vibe but due to parking in a pretty pricey car park (our mistake for not checking first) we only had 4 hours for £13 and a minute more it would of been £20 at The Lanes Car Park! We were so central though, right by the pier and the Pavilion so it worked for us. We didn’t go in the Pavilion but as it was a sunny day we had lots of fun running around the grounds. It is a fabulous building and the gardens are beautiful. We also of course took M to Brighton Pier. A lot of the rides you have to be over 90cm which M was just short of and he wasn’t even allowed on the trampoline which was a bit disappointing. We did go on the tea cups though and played on the 2p machines.
Other things we did this week as a visit to Chichester a beautiful place, Earnley Butterflies and Gardens where we had a close and personal meeting with a bird which loved my shoe. There are so many family friendly things to do in this area of the country. We will be back.