Before Christmas rudely gatecrashes our every waking moment, I thought I’d give a final word to autumn. A part from some inevitable wash out days, autumn is ideal for getting out and about.
Manor Farm Country Park
It’s known to most people as the home of Wartime Farm – an estate in Eastleigh where BBC 2 turned back the clock to run the farm exactly as it would have been in the Second World War.
Our recent visit was on a beautiful sunny day just as the autumn colours had reached their brightest. There’s lots of little woodland clearings where you can park up for a walk to the River Hamble or a run around the fields.
The main playground has been updated since our last visit with lots of equipment for older kids as well as those a bit younger. The Tot enjoyed making loud noises on these huge pipes.
It’s free to use the country park, but if you want to make a day of it you can also visit the farm. Adult entry costs £7 and kids over the age of three are £4.50. If you are just coming for a walk parking costs £1.50 for up to an hour or £3.50 for the day.
Hill Head beach
We used to be able to walk to the beach from our old house (sob – I miss it!), but since moving at the start of the year it’s more like a 10 minute car journey. We still get there as much as we can and Tin Box Dog enjoys a couple of beach walks a week when I drop her off to look after the grandparents while I’m working.
Hill Head is in Fareham and its beach is made up of three sections stretching from Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve at its western end to Lee-on-the-Solent in the east.
Some parts are open to dogs all year round, while others have winter-only walkies times. Tin Box Dog loves a dip in the sea whatever the season so we always have a towel in the back of the car!
Parking is free and there are a couple of car parks to choose from along the front.
Tin Box Tot loves running around the ruins of this 13th century monastery.
Many of the walls of the old abbey are still standing and others have been marked out on the ground following archeological excavations. It makes a great maze for inquisitive little people and parents can let their kids roam without worrying that they are going to get lost – there’s only a single track roadway in an out of the abbey grounds.
In the summer it’s a fab location for a family picnic, but it was a bit drizzly during our recent visit so we stuck to throwing Tin Box Dog’s ball and running through puddles in the ruins.
Titchfield Abbey is looked after by English Heritage and is free to visit.
So, if you live in or are visiting the Hampshire area you might see us at one of our favourite hangouts. If you do, give us a wave!