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Make a date

PUBLISHED: 12:08 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:33 20 February 2013

Make a date

Make a date

Charlotte Tomlinson-White discovers all the exciting things Hampshire has to offer throughout 2010

January
Spud you like


Whitchurchs Potato Day weekend is the biggest event of its kind in Britain, and indeed the rest of the world (nowhere else holds such gatherings). Attracting crowds from all over the county and kicking off the start of the growing year, the aim of the Potato Day weekend is to raise awareness of grow your own. Expect cooking demos and childrens activities, as well as the chance to buy organic produce. People are also encouraged to bring along their seeds to swap for other varieties. Potato Day starts on Saturday 30 to Sunday 31 January, from 10am-3pm at Testbourne Community Centre.



February
Sweet tooth?


This month find out all about Hampshires local chocolatiers.
Andovers My Chocolate Bar, makes delicious handmade chocolates and prides itself in using ingredients sourced within a 20 miles radius of Hampshire. Tel. 01264 323973
Le Salon du Chocolat in Emsworth is devoted to the art of chocolate moulding with specialist machines that can hold kilograms of liquid chocolate. Tel. 02392 413350
The Alresford Chocolate Companys handcrafted chocolates are made with fresh Hampshire cream and local ingredients wherever possible. Tel. 01962 732731.



March
Motherly love


Treat your mother to something different this Mothers Day?
Pop along to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens for a Falconry Experience Day. Tel. 01794 369318. Or for a true sense of luxury dining, jump aboard the Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line. Tel. 01962 733810. You could even head to the top floor of the Mayflower to Ovation to experience a pre / post theatre dinner. Tel. 02380 711833.



April
Egg-citing times


Egg rolling is a folk custom dating back hundreds of years and takes place all over the county. Also known as pace-egging, it derives from the Old English word Pasch meaning Easter, and traditionally takes place on Easter Monday. There are many versions of this game but it usually involves rolling hard-boiled eggs down grassy hills; the winner being the egg that travels the furthest without breaking. The eggs are decorated to mark ownership; designs range from simple labels to complex artwork. The event can be a relaxed social affair or highly competitive attracting both adults and children. Alice Holt Forest (01420 23666) and Sandy Balls (01425 653042) will be running Easter specials, including egg rolling, call for more information.



May
Food glorious food!


Waitrose holds its Spring Food Festival (formerly The Leckford Festival) for three days in May. Visitors can enjoy a host of exciting events including cooking demonstrations and small producers stalls with samples to taste. Why not take a tour of Leckford Farm or listen to some expert advice from the staff at Longstock Park Nursery? Tel. 01264 810894
May also brings the Alresford Watercress Festival. Now in its seventh year, the Festival celebrates the towns famous crop watercress visitors can look forward to cookery demonstrations from award-winning Hampshire chefs, a huge Hampshire Farmers Market and arts and crafts fair, as well as the World Watercress Eating Championships. Sunday May 16, from 10am-4pm.




June
Sail away with me


June sees the start of the sailing events across the Solent and is kicked off with the Round the Island Race (June 19) in which over 1,800 yachts and 12,000 sailors (both amateurs and professionals) compete against each other.
Why not learn to sail with Sunsail Limited (0844 463 6817), Hamble School of Yachting (02380 452 668) or Sailing Women (02392 553303)?. All are RYA approved. Dont forget Cowes Week in July/August and The Southampton Boat Show in September.



July
Rural tradition


July sees The New Forest and Hampshire County Show come to the New Forest. This three-day event attracts approximately 500 trade exhibitors ranging from agricultural and equine to motor and boat companies. With shopping arcades, craft exhibitions and a food hall bursting with Hampshire produce, there is something for everyones tastes. This years show is set to be extra special as it celebrates its 90th anniversary.
From Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 July, ticket prices are 15 adult, 13 senior citizen, 7 child and 37 for a family. Tel. 01590 622400.



August


Ice-lollys on the beach!
Its summer, so pack a towel and stretch out on one of Hampshire and the Isle of Wights beaches


Calshot Calshot beach is part of a shingle spit and is adorned with pretty beach huts and offers long walks.
Hayling Lying at the west end of the seafront, West Beach is Haylings most popular beach. Its one of the most sandy beaches on the Island and is popular with kite surfers.
Colwell Bay (IOW) With its sandy beaches and fine views, Lee-On-Solent and Lymington, Colwell Bay nestles between The Needles and the Port of Yarmouth. Although popular it never gets overcrowded in the summer months.
Compton Bay (IOW) Compton Bay is situated alongside the coastal road between Freshwater Bay and Brook. Its picturesque setting means it is very popular in high season.



September
Waterbabies


This September why not take to the water? There are loads of ways to do this, from sporting activities and shows to tours and transport.
Learn to canoe at Calshot Activity Centre. Widely regarded as one of the countrys premier sea kayaking centres , they offer a range of courses for all ability levels. Tel. 023 8089 2077.
Visit the Southampton Boat Show to explore over 1,000 boats and savour everything about boating. Running from 10-19 September, tel. 01784 473377.
Or perhaps take a Harbour Tour at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth and learn all about the home of the modern Royal Navy. Tel. 023 92839766.



October
Trick or treat?


Discover Hampshires ghosts and ghouls this Halloween. Historic Beaulieu Abbey, which dates back to the 13th century, is deeply rooted in paranormal legend. Stories of ghosts and spooky goings on have been recorded for over 100 years, mostly centred around the monastic period. Paranormal investigations still take place at Beaulieu Abbey, with organised visits held around Halloween and run by experts from the Hampshire Ghost Club. Tel. 01590 612345.
Explosion! the award winning museum of naval warfare holds a series of ghosts walks. Join Victorian coroner Edgar Goble for a twilight-guided walk through the historic buildings of the Royal Navys munitions stores at Priddys Hard. Tel. 023 9250 5600.



November
Winter wonders


As the autumn ends, discover the prettiest places to see the first frosts appear.
Head up to the monument at Farley Mount Country Park, near Winchester, to see the finest views in central Hampshire.
Visit Butser Hill National Nature Reserve on the borders of Queen Elizabeth Country Park,near Petersfield; as the highest point on the South Downs, the views stretch for miles.
For spectacular views of the sea and east coast of the Isle of Wight, climb up Brading Down. Found to the west of Brading town, the Down lies at the eastern end of the central part of the Chalk downs.
Log on to www3.hants.gov.uk/walking.htm to find a walk to help you explore these beauty spots.



December


Festive stays


Escape this December to an unusual B&B or self catering property in Hampshire and the surrounding counties.
The Lighthouse, Ventnor, Isle of Wight Situated on the headland of Steephill Cove, The Lighthouse boasts sea views from every room. Tel. 01983 852373 www.theboathouse-steephillcove.co.uk
The Laid-Back Lodge, Fordingbridge, New Forest Set in the heart of the New Forest and bordering the River Avon, the Laid Back Lodges provide a real home from home.Tel. 01425 653042, www.sandy-balls.co.uk
The Old Railway Station, Petworth, West Sussex
This Victorian railway station B&B is a Grade II listed building, romantically set beside a disused railway line. Tel. 01798 342346 for more information, www.old-station.co.uk

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