We love an opportunity for a family picnic. And what better place to set out our sandwiches than the beautiful gardens of Hinton Ampner in Hampshire?
Here’s our experience of this National Trust property near Winchester along with handy information about visiting with kids.
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Why visit Hinton Ampner
This 20th Century garden and estate surrounding a 18th Century manor house overlooks the rolling South Downs. When it comes to things to do in Winchester with children on a sunny day this one does not disappoint.
The manicured lawns and informal paths with wild flowers and topiary make for a wonderful natural playground that our girls and cousins loved exploring.
Things to do in the Hinton Ampner gardens
The house was closed the we visited so we spent our day exploring the gardens.
Here are five activities that entertained our kids during an afternoon at Hinton Ampner:
1. Spotting veg growing in the walled garden
We spotted potatoes, beetroot, rhubarb and broad beans flourishing in the vegetable patches of the walled garden.
There were also flowers in every direction watched over by a cheery scarecrow and his hound.
2. Search for sculptures in the woods
From the English Civil War battlefield that butts up against the gardens you can step through the wibbly wobbly topiary hedge onto a woodland trail that leads you to more formal boxed hedges and flower beds.
On the way keep your eyes peeled for a lady hiding in the trees.
3. Pick a spot for a picnic
Find a picnic spot in the sun overlooking the Hampshire countryside or a shady spot in the formal gardens.
Fill up and then lay back and relax…well, as much as you can while the kids squabble over the last of the hummus.
We settled down for our sandwiches, fruit and vegetable sticks in the shadow of a blossoming chestnut tree.
4. Hunt for trees
One of the family activities at Hinton Ampner is to search for the different varieties of tree growing around the estate. This ancient conker tree that we settled under for our picnic was on the trail.
5. Play on the lawns
The lawns in front of the house are a perfect place to allow the kids to let off steam while you admire the flower beds and views. Make a daisy chain, search for mini-beasts or play chase.
Hinton Ampner prices
In 2022, a family ticket cost £30. We used our National Trust membership cards to get in for free. If you’re not a member check the National Trust website for the latest prices.
Hinton Ampner opening times
The garden, estate, cafe and shop are open all year around. For house opening times check the National Trust website before you visit as there have been restoration works going on.
There’s usually no need to book.
Where is Hinton Ampner?
Hinton Ampner is nine miles from Winchester, near Alresford. Put this postcode in your Satnav: SO24 0LA
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