Family days out, UK

Highlights from our half term break

Highlights from our half term break including messy play, Staunton Country Park, Tudor House and Garden, and the Family Travel Show

Phew! How was your half term? Ours here in Hampshire (UK) was busy in so many ways.

It marked the start of Mr Tin Box working away for eight weeks, so I was keen to have a full diary to keep my mind off it. We had invites to go out with friends whose children were on holiday. Plus, we had a trip to London planned.

All in all we had a great week and I wanted to share some of the highlights:

Messy play at home

Tin Box Baby got to try out full bodypainting during the first weekend of the holiday. Mr Tin Box was packing his bags so I needed something to occupy the girls. Messy play is always a hit.

Tin Box Baby and Tin Box Tot covered in paint

Farm fun at Staunton Country Park

We last visited Staunton in the summer. There’s a farm, pony rides, walled garden, hot houses and maze. However, TBT was so excited by the adventure playground that we couldn’t get round it all during out first visit.

Last week we had the chance to return as its an ideal place to meet one of my lovely friends who lives close by. This time we got to see the hot houses and maze, as well as attempt a pony ride. TBT backed out at the last minute, bless her. Maybe next time!

The whole park was decked out for Halloween with hundreds of pumpkins, face painting and an arts and crafts area. Unfortunately we missed the Halloween activities as they were only on for part of the day. TBT was a bit sad she couldn’t have her face painted – there were tears – but we made up for it later in the week.

Tin Box Baby and friend
A goat looking through a gate
Foliage in the hot house
Tin Box Tot playing on the adventure playground

A wet beach walk

We managed to pick one of the wettest days of the week to meet up with a friend and her two boys for a walk along our local beach. It started off fine but by the time we got back to the car it was tipping it down. Even so, Tin Box Dog had a great time and had quite a few balls thrown for her.

A view along the shingle beach with a very dull sky
Rain on the car window

Halloween at Tudor House

Towards the end of the week we got together with another friend and her daughter for a girls day out. We were aiming to do something outdoors but the weather was rubbish again so we went to the Halloween event at the Tudor House and Gardens in Southampton.

The front exterior of Tudor House in Southampton

Entrance was free for the day and this 800-year-old property was heaving with families. There was face painting, crafts and ghost walks – although nothing too scary for the little kids. TBT was thrilled when one of the face painters offered to turn her into a tiger rather than doing one of the Halloween designs on offer. This really saved the day as TBT was still smarting after missing out on the face painting at Staunton.

Tin Box Tot having her face painted as a tiger by a witch

Once the girls were covered in paint we had a look around the house and gardens, and then made some spooky spiders in the education room.

Tin Box Baby playing with a spider made of craft materials

It was a really fun couple of hours in a place I wouldn’t ordinarily have taken my two pre-schoolers. It’s worth noting that, while the house has been made fully accessible, you’d be better putting babies in a sling for your visit because of the different levels and uneven floors.

Tin Box Tot, Baby and friend stood by a medieval cannon

The Family Travel Show

Mr Tin Box arrived home on Friday. Hurray! On Saturday morning we all set off for the Family Travel Show at London Olympia. This was our girls’ first trip to London. We also worked out it was TBT’s first trip on a real train. She loved it.

Tin Box Tot looking out the window of a train

The show gave us the opportunity to talk to a lot of family travel companies ranging from those offering adventure tours to luxury resorts and self catering holidays. With my blogging head on, it was great to meet up with the people behind some interesting brands like Carnival, Martinhal Resorts and OPUS Camper. There were also talks by experts in travelling with kids. We got a lot of inspiration from the day.

I was also pleasantly surprised about how family friendly the exhibition was. We booked the girls into the free creche run by Esprit Ski as it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. However, they could have easily stayed with us the whole time as there was so much for them to see and do.

TBT had her face painted as a tiger for the second day running and came away with a pile of goodies from the different companies. It all made the day a lot more relaxed for us.

Tin Box Tot painted top as a tiger

So that was half term for the Tin Box household. What did you get up to?

Disclosure: I was given free tickets to the Family Travel Show. We paid for all other entrance fees and activities where applicable. All opinions are my own.

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