English Tourism Week 2016 - Hampshire attractions to visit
PUBLISHED: 15:55 07 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:55 07 March 2016
Blow off those winter cobwebs and put a spring in your step. With English Toursim Week from March 5 – 12 and the Easter holidays approaching, now is a great time to explore the county’s award-winning attractions says Claire Pitcher
Explore the 140 acres of park, home to 100s of animals, at the award winning Marwell Zoo, on the outskirts of Winchester. Pop along to see the Giraffes, Penguins, Tigers, Meerkats, Snow Leopards, Hippos…the list goes on and on. There’s also five adventure playgrounds to tire the kids out, road and rail trains and the recent Wild Explorers exhibit and trail to try.
Don’t forget to go along to the Wild Egg Hunt and Big Bird Bonanza from March 25 to April 10.
How much does it cost? Until March 24, it’s still winter prices. Tickets for adults cost £15, children £11.50, under 2s free and concessions £12.50. A family ticket is £49. Book online at www.marwell.org.uk to avoid the queues at the ticket office.
Skip the crowds: If you’re hoping to avoid standing on your tip toes to see above everyone else, why not try an experience day instead? There are a few face-to-faces on offer, from giraffes, to penguins.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
The Mary Rose Museum at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard won Silver in the ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year’ category at last year’s Beautiful South Awards for Excellence. If you’re yet to visit, put it down as your first must-see museum for 2016. With interactive exhibits, real life finds from the bottom of the Solent and the story behind how they raised her from the seabed, there’s plenty to immerse yourself. Head there in the summer once work on the attraction has been finished. In the meantime there’s still the rest of the brilliant Historic Dockyard to explore, including HMS Victory, the Royal Marines Museum and the harbor by boat.
How much does it cost? Tickets for all the attractions at the dockyard cost £25.60 for adults, £18.40 for children, £23 for seniors and £68 for a family. Those are online prices however; you will pay 20 per cent more at the entrance. If you don’t manage to see all the attractions in one day, or want to return to visit the Mary Rose, then you can use the same ticket again as it is valid for the whole year. It’s a great way to see all the attractions and you can go at a time that suits you.
Book online and find out more at www.historicdockyard.co.uk.
Hawk Conservancy Trust
Vultures, American Bald Eagles, Harris Hawks, Secretary Birds… and that’s just the beginning of the long list of wonderful raptors to see at the Hawk Conservancy near Thruxton. Make sure you spend the whole day on site, as there are flying displays featuring a Black Kite, Peregrine Falcon and a Snowy Owl. They are also running a brand new display entitled ‘Wings of Africa’, which showcases the skills of an Eagle Owl and African Fish Eagle. Don’t miss the Meerkats and Sacred Ibis too. You can easily fill a whole day, with breakfast, lunch and dinner at the lovely Feathers Restaurant.
How much does it cost? Adult tickets are £14.50, children £10.20, seniors £12.85 and a family ticket is £44.95.
Skip the crowds: Why not treat yourself to an experience day where you can get up close and personal with the birds in a small group. Take a look at the website to see which to choose – there are even experiences for children.
Book online and find more details at www.hawk-conservancy.org.
It still might seem like a fairly recent addition to Hampshire’s attractions, but Bombay Sapphire near Laverstoke has already won the Gold award for Small Visitor Attraction of the Year at the Beautiful South Awards, as well as Silver for Sustainable Tourism. Based at Laverstoke Mill, it’s in a glorious setting. Visitors can uncover the secrets of the famous gin at the distillery. You have a choice of ‘experiences’, lasting up to around two hours. There’s also a cocktail masterclass to try, with plenty of sampling, of course.
How much does it cost? Choose from a self-guided tour for £15 or a hosted experience for £22. The masterclass costs £30 and lasts around three hours.
You have to book online at www.distillery.bombaysapphire.com.
Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum
The brickworks picked up a Bronze award for Best Community Tourism Business at the Beautiful South Tourism Awards. It has recently had a significant revamp and the brilliant museum is now open more frequently for the public to visit. Among the items on show are steam engines, the old kiln, play areas, over 100 chimney pots and, in the museum’s own words: ‘bricks, bricks and more bricks’. After the hard work involved in making your very own brick, there’s a café for refreshments and shop to peruse too.
How much does it cost? Adult tickets are £5, concessions £4, children £3 and families £15.
Check www.bursledonbrickworks.org.uk for up to date opening times and special events information.
The Mid Hants Railway
Spend the day lazily exploring the lovely villages and towns of New Alresford, Ropley, Medstead, Four Marks and Alton while hopping on and off the wonderful steam trains on the Watercress Line. Between all of those stations you can experience the fully restored locomotives cared for by the brilliant volunteer engineers at Ropley. They regularly have special events, including A Day Out With Thomas, the Real Ale Train and dining on The Watercress Belle. They have lots of memorabilia and exhibits on show too, plus a shop full of steam train goodies and the West Country Buffet at New Alresford can refuel you when required.
How much does it cost? Standard travel fares cost £16 for adults, £8 for children and £40 for a family. The ticket allows you to travel all day.
Book online and for extra information see www.watercressline.co.uk.
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