We are heading to Chessington World of Adventures next week and I looked online to see if I could make any savings.
Sadly I missed the Sun who had offered codes that when collected gave you free tickets.
I did find quite a few tickets for sale on ebay for people that had prebooked but could no longer go so if you want to head to Chessington look up ebay first of all to see if you can purchase some cheap tickets that are for adults/children etc. Check the sellers feedback to make sure they are genuine etc.
So the only savings we found were online, by booking 7 days ahead we have saved 25%…but still 2 adults and 3 children has cost well over £100. Plus parking which is £2.00.
I’ll be packing a picnic bag and drinks…..
With Chessington and Thorpe park if it rains for more than an hour you get free tickets to come back another day. It rarely ( she says hopefully) rains for more than an hour so booking ahead does save quite a bit of money for a family heading to these parks.
We had a lovely break away on the Isle of Wight last week and I really enjoyed the whole experience of just getting into the car and getting there from A to B by just closing the front door and driving.
We caught the Red Funnel ferry from Southampton. The cost for the five of us and a car was around £75 return, a lot cheaper than taking 5 of us on a plane.
TOP TIP…when you park your car on the ferry run to the decks to get a seat. We travelled on a Friday and it was a full ferry by delaying getting out of the car we ended up having no seats between us. Take a bag with drinks and treats for the children rather than buying them on the ferry. The trip is just under an hour so a few treats keeps everyone happy. Also grab the free glossy magazine on the ferry on the Isle of Wight. It gave us some great ideas on where to go and we enjoyed every single one of them. Arrive 30 mins to an hour before your crossing. It was super organised and very easy.
We travelled to Cowes and drove quite a bit to get there from East Cowes.
TOP TIP…if driving to Cowes from East Cowes take the chain ferry if the queues aren’t too long. It takes just a couple of minutes to get across and only costs £2.00 per car. Free if you are a pedestrian or cyclist.
Things we enjoyed doing as a family.
The Isle of Wight is one of the richest places in Europe for dinosaur fossils so we enjoyed a good hunt on the beach. It became clear within a nanosecond that we wouldn’t recognize a fossil if it hit us between the eyes BUT you can hire a man that takes out groups that is known as the King Of Fossils on the Isle. Details are on the web and in the glossy ferry magazine. Next time I would hire him!
Seaview Wildlife Encounter.
Brilliant day out. You can feed the ducks ( of which there are hundreds…) with food that just costs 75p a bag and every 30-60 minutes the keepers give a talk to the children and then let them feed the animals. We fed penguins, pelicans, parrots, had an opportunity to hold a cockroach/lizard ( we passed….saw enough cockroaches in Spain to last me a lifetime!) touched wallabys that were just jumping around our ankles and there were more experiences but we left before they started. We took a picnic and there were lots of areas to sit under shade to eat with picnic tables provided but the cafe also served snacks and ice creams which were reasonable. We spent quite a few hours here and everyone from our youngest who is 12 years to the eldest who is 17 really enjoyed it.
Queen Victoria’s holiday home and it was really interesting. Even our two youngest who only went to keep me happy enjoyed it. The highlight was probably seeing the bed that Queen Victoria died in and eating an ice cream by the beach that Queen Victoria used to privately bathe in but the whole house with its history and photographs was pretty eye popping even for those that think they don’t like history.
Breakfast at the Artisan Bakery in Cowes
Only my youngest and I went as everyone else was still in bed at 10am but we enjoyed freshly baked croissants on communal tables with mounds of butter to tuck into and jam. The baker had to explain how to use the toaster and coffee machines so the first time was a bit of a muddle but I was soon explaining things to other customers. I am open to employment…and more hot croissants. Go at tea time for their chocolate brownies to eat in or take away. HEAVEN.
Lunch at the Garlic Cafe
This was brilliant too! We bought some garlic to plant in the garden and had lunch which consisted of a platter to be shared between two with lots of tapas….all garlicy! It was beautifully presented and absolutely DELICIOUS. Best of all we all ate something with garlic so nobody could accuse me of having bad breath.They had some birds of prey there too and for £2.00 you could hold one, so that was a nice extra touch of something special for the holiday which we enjoyed. We would have loved to have had a walk around the garlic farm too which you can but it was a tad too cold on that day. If you want to try different types of garlic head to the taste room where you can try all sorts of garlic kitchen delights with the aid of crackers.
Things I would have liked to have done but didn’t have time was to take the cable car over the cliffs to see the needles and to try Alpaca walking. I would have liked to have had a walk around the castle and visited some more towns in the Isle of Wight but in the four days we did enough not to exhaust ourselves and still left time for sleep ins and time to watch Toy Story 3 on DVD!
Would I go back to the Isle of Wight.
Absolutely and the townhouse we stayed in Cowes was a delight. A 3 bedroom fisherman’s cottage that was completely renovated and just a 2 minute walk from Sainsburys. If you want the owner’s contact details just let me know.
Just thought I’d share these with you, as they look so sweet.
My daughter made butter icing and mashed up a banana to give it extra flavour and then put these over some cupcakes. She then stuck the marshmallows on top, bought from Waitrose for just over £1.00.
She made the sheep faces from pre coloured icing that she rolled out, again bought from Waitrose.
It did take her a long time as she made the first batch with too small heads but the second bath came out much better and they look great don’t they?
If you are looking for a place to go kart near Winchester then head to Eastleigh Team-Sport who have a large indoor go karting track suitable for juniors and adults. As well as hosting parties or individuals turning up they have race days during the school holidays where youngsters can go from 8.30am-2.15pm for just over £30 per person. This includes drinks and a hot lunch and certificates for the winners.
You can find out further information on www.team-sport.co.uk/southampton
We have been looking at something to do for my daughter’s 12th birthday party that is based in Hampshire and will keep a handful of girls busy for an hour.
To begin with we looked at Theme Parks but Chessington and Thorpe Park are just too far away.
Last night I came across Go Ape, which offers Tree Top Climbing ( think Tarzan…) in Hampshire. The more local one to us is the one in the Itchen Valley but although the girls are old enough for the course, it lasts 2-3 hours and we’d have to do it too. So we have ruled that one out as personally I think 2-3 hours is too long for a 12 year old in March/April and despite the companies supportive comments that they can help conquer a fear of heights, just the video they showed on their website gave me a bad dose of vertigo.
However if you head to the Moors Valley, about 35 minutes from Otterbourne in Winchester they have a Junior course. Anyone from age 6 years up can go on it but this course has the benefit of being completed in an hour and the children/adults are clipped on the whole time, there is no need to take the harness off and reclip at any point AND adults can watch from below but we don’t have to join in. Thank the Lord.
The idea of me being stuck in a tree sobbing wouldn’t be the birthday party treat that my daughter had in mind…..
The cost of the Junior tree top climbing course is £16.00 per person. You can find out about all the venues and offers Go Ape have by going onto their website, www.goape.co.uk
I was looking at train fares for a half term trip with my girls and I didn’t realise there were so many railcard offers that you could buy.
I’ve just bought a family and friends railcard for £28 and it will save me a third on my train fares and the girls will get 60% off their trainfares over the next 12 months. If we do visit the grandparents we will make a massive saving just on the one journey.
The railcard can be used so long as one adult travels with children, even if they aren’t your own….and the saving counts up to travelling with as many as four children.
We will certainly be making use of this card and now travelling from Winchester to London with the family doesn’t seem quite as expensive as it was without this railcard.
You can buy it online and they post it to you first class and that’s when you can start to get the savings on your train tickets.
The RSPB are holding a garden birdwatch this week-end and they need your help.
A great activity for children to be involved in too.
Just head to your local park or use your garden and over the period of one hour, count the highest number of bird species that you see.
They don’t want you to count every single bird just the highest number of bird species that you see at any ONE time.
This is to avoid you counting the same bird over and over again.
You can use food on the bird table if you wish or not.
The results over previous years shows that sparrows and starlings have seriously declined and I have to say since I’ve moved to Winchester I have never seen a single starling or sparrow visit the garden.
I would say that the magpies, jays and wood pigeons are thriving!
You can then go onto the RSPB website and give them your results online.
Sharing the sledging slope by the train station in Shawford today was a small herd of these cows. They didn’t seem to mind the children and adults whizzing down the slope on their sledges at all and their long shaggy fur was doing a grand job of keeping them warm.
I wouldn’t want to lock horns with him though. Would you?!
Nice afternoon spent with the sledge and then followed up with a warming coffee at the Bridge Pub opposite Shawford train station.
Everyone seems so much friendlier when there is snow about…..lovely.
There is something about the snow which gave us all a chance to be children again.
By 9.30am on Friday we had thrown snowballs at the windows, walked the dog, had a snowball fight and made snow angels. I then left the children to build their snowmen…see below.
It has just been a really lovely week-end and with more snow forecast the fun may not be over yet.
I haven’t yet had to venture out in the car…thus the joy!!
There is a craft fair being held in Otterbourne at the village hall on Saturday November 10th 2012. My birthday hurrah!!
Admission for adults is £1.00, free for children and there will be lots of stalls to buy your Christmas gifts, refreshments and there will be a raffle at the end. The fair opens at 11.00am and ends at 3.00pm.
All funds raised go towards St. Matthew’s Church.