Family Days Out in the South East

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We have always lived in south east England so it’s not surprising that most of our days out are in this area. We’ll happily drive for an hour or two to have a lovely day out as a family and over the years we’ve explored so much of our little corner of the country. So I thought it would be nice to put together our favourite family days out.

As well as the places in this post there are also many fantastic National Trust properties – Polesden Lacey, Hatchlands Park, Petworth House, Sheffield Park Garden and The Vyne to name a few. See all our favourite National Trust sites here.

So without further ado, here are our favourite days out with the kids in the South East:


Marwell Zoo – Winchester, Hampshire

Marwell Zoo covers 140 acres and is home to an incredible range of exotic and endangered species. Giraffes, tigers, penguins, cheetahs, rhinos and so much more.

There are four adventure playgrounds, road and rail trains, a tropical house, lemur loop and cafes and picnic areas. They also have special events throughout the year like Brickosaurs and Boo at the Zoo.

You can read about our trips to Marwell Zoo here:

Marwell Zoo - Hampshire

Godstone Farm – Surrey

Godstone Farm is one of the best farms we have ever been to. With so many animals, a dino trail and incredible play areas, it’s a fantastic day out for the whole family.

You can read more about Godstone Farm here:

Drusillas Park – Alfriston, East Sussex

Drusillas Park is an award winning attractions and it has so many animals – camels, red pandas, meerkats and more. Plus, walkthrough exhibits and animal feeding demonstrations.

There are theme park rides, adventure play areas, a splashzone, indoor soft play and an adventure maze too. It’s an action packed, full day out for any family.

You can read about our trips to Drusillas Park here:

Drusillas Park - East Sussex

Longdown Activity Park – Southampton, Hampshire

At Longdown Activity Farm there are so many animals to meet including donkeys, alpacas, cute chicks, Pygmy goats and Kunekune pigs plus bottle-feeding kid goats and calves, the Animal Encounter Barn, and duck feeding .

There’s a soft play, a den full of straw to play in and a barn full of trampolines. There’s an outdoor play area, go karts and ride of tractors as well as a new indoor toddler area for younger visitors too.

You can read about our day at Longdown Activity Farm here:

Longdown Activity Park - Hampshire

Manor Park and Country Farm – Southampton

Manor Farm is such a great day out – and so much more than just a farm. It has a Victorian kitchen, schoolroom and traditional farm machinery. It lets visitors take a step back in time and watch the farmer’s wife go about her domestic chores whilst helping to milking the cows and feed the chickens. There are daily meet the animals sessions where you can to hold baby chicks, rabbits and ducklings or even collect eggs.

You can read about our trip to Manor Farm here:

Manor Farm and Country Park - Southampton, Hampshire

Blue Reef Aquarium – Portsmouth

Blue Reef Aquarium has so many local fish, sharks and rays on display as well as tropical species in a dedicated ocean display plus an underwater viewing tunnel.

Finkley Down Farm – Andover

Finkley Down Farm is such a nice day out. As well as all the typical farm animals you’d expect, there are also llamas, alpacas, meerkats and owls! There’s also indoor and outdoor play areas, crazy golf, trampolines and so much more. It’s a really full day out.

You can read about our day at Finkley Down Farm here:

Beale Wildlife Park – Reading, Berkshire

Beale Wildlife Park is a 350 acre site full of small animals and fun for all the family. So many birds, otters, alpacas, meerkats and lemurs. There’s also a miniature train to ride, a Little Tikes village, outdoor play areas, indoor play and even a splash pool and sandpit! That’s not to mention the gardens to explore.

You can read about our day at Beale Park here:

Beale Wildlife Park - Berkshire

Port Lympne – Hythe, Kent

Dave and I first visited Port Lympne over ten years ago, long before having children. Even back then it was a fantastic day out. The safari park takes you on a journey through South America, Asia, and Africa and you can meet life size prehistoric creatures in the Dinosaur Forest.

It’s a really full day out for all the family and you can read more about it here:

Port Lympne - Hythe

Howletts Wild Animal Park – Canterbury, Kent

Dave and I visited Howletts at the same time as Port Lympne, on consecutive days, and it was an adventure like nothing else we have experienced. It’s home to a vast variety of animals in over 90 acres of parkland. It’s a true animal park with conservation at the heart of everything it does. It’s such a nice family day out and you can read more about it here:

Howletts - Canterbury

Wingham Wildlife Park – Canterbury, Kent

Wingham Wildlife Park is fastest growing wildlife park in Kent. They house the largest number of animal species out of all wildlife parks and zoos in Kent as well as a dinosaur zoo too! They have indoor and outdoor play areas as well as a cafe and picnic areas making it a great day out for the whole family and you can read more about it here:

Wingham Wildlife Park - Canterbury

Cotswold Wildlife Park – Burford, Oxfordshire

The Cotswold Wildlife Park is home to over 260 different species of animals and is set in 160 acres of landscaped parkland and gardens. It’s a relatively new zoo, started in 1970, but is one of the largest zoological collections in the country.

You can read more about our trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park here:

A Day at Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Bocketts Farm Park – Leatherhead, Surrey

Farms are always such a lovely day out. I was lucky enough to go on a school trip with Little Man to Bocketts Farm Park last year and it was such a nice day. So many animals, animal demonstrations and gardens combined with play areas both indoor and out and even pig racing.

It’s such a nice day out and you can read about our trip to Bocketts Farm here:

Bocketts Farm Park - Leatherhead

Living Rainforest – Newbury, Berkshire

The Living Rainforest is an indoor greenhouse tropical rainforest. It’s an ecological centre and educational centre consisting of three glasshouses with so much in each one to see and learn. It’s such a different day out for families and your entrance ticket lets you return free for a year.

You can read more about our trip to The Living Rainforest here:

Living Rainforest - Newbury, Berkshire

The Great Outdoors

Wellington Country Park – Reading, Berkshire

We have loved Wellington Country Park since the children were tiny. It’s a guaranteed lovely day out for all the family if the weather’s nice. So many adventure playgrounds, huge model dinosaurs, sand and water areas, a lovely petting farm and so much space to explore. If you haven’t visited yet then it should be high on your list.

You can read about our trips to Wellington Country Park here:

Wellington Country Park - Reading

The Sculpture Park – Churt, near Farnham, Surrey

The Sculpture Park is an outdoors day out like no other. Acres of land that feels like a forest combined with an engaging fairytale, it’s full of sculptures that span all genres, giving something to look at with every turn.

You can read more about our trip to The Sculpture Park here:

The Sculpture Park - Churt, near Farnham, Surrey

Gatton Park – Reigate, Surrey

Gatton Park is a beautiful park and gardens overlooking the Surrey Hills. Designed by Capability Brown and steeped in history, it’s a great day out for the whole family.

You can read more about our trip to Gatton Park here:

Staunton Country Park – Havant, Hampshire

Another fantastic day out is Staunton Country Park. With a huge country park to explore as well as a farm, gardens, glasshouses and even a soft play centre – it really does have something for everyone.

You can read more about our time at Staunton Country Park here:

Review: Our First Visit to Staunton Country Park

California Country Park – Wokingham, Berkshire

California Country Park on Nine Mile Ride is another beautiful outside space that we love to visit. It has fantastic play areas and the added bonus of a good size paddling pool too. It’s our favourite place to picnic over the summer.

You can read about our time at California Country Park here:

California Country Park - Wokingham

The Look Out Discovery Centre – Bracknell, Berkshire

We love visiting The Look Out in Swinley Forest. You can just pay car parking and have free entry to the whole of the forest and the outdoor play areas. Or, for an educational and fun day out with young children you can pay to enter The Look Out and learn so much about science with over 90 hands on interactive exhibits. They do fantastic children’s parties too.

You can read more about our time at The Look Out here:

The Look Out Discovery Centre - Bracknell

Go Ape – Bracknell, Berkshire

The Look Out is also home to Go Ape, something we love to do as a treat for the kids or the whole family. It’s such a fun activity and I know we’ll do it for the children’s birthday treat at some point too! Make sure you check the Go Ape website and social media channels for special offers before you book!

You can read about our Go Ape experiences here:

Go Ape - Bracknell

Bucklebury Farm & Deer Safari Park – Reading, Berkshire

Bucklebury Farm and Deer Safari Park is a 77 acre site of fun for the whole family. It has all the farm animals you’d expect on a typical farm and a petting area too. But, it also has 150 deer occupying the deer park and indoor and outdoor play areas making it a great day out whatever the weather.

Bucklebury Farm & Deer Safari Park - Reading

Kew Gardens – Richmond, Surrey

I first went to Kew Gardens on a school trip in my teens and it’s somewhere I have loved ever since. With huge glass houses to explore, beautiful gardens and pushchair friendly paths it’s a great day out for the whole family and we went again after lockdown.

You can read about our Kew Gardens adventures here:

Kew Gardens - Richmond

Syon Park – Brentford, Middlesex

Not too far from Kew Gardens is Syon Park, a bit of a hidden gem as we’ve driven past so many times and never stopped for a visit. With a beautiful house, incredible glasshouse and amazing gardens, it’s a fantastic day out for the whole family. We visited in the rain and can’t wait to go back in brighter weather. There’s a cafe next door, kids go free during school holidays and it has a natural play trail too.

You can read about our trip to Syon Park here:

Syon Park - Brentford, Middlesex

RHS Garden Wisley – Woking, Surrey

I’ve only been to Wisley Gardens once that I can remember and I keep intending to go back. It’s such a beautiful place, like a smaller Kew Gardens, with so many things to look at and do – glass houses, vast gardens and play areas too. Make sure when organising tickets that you book online before you visit to save on the admission fee.

You can read more about Wisley Gardens here:

RHS Garden Wisley - Woking

Frimley Lodge Park – Frimley, Surrey

We don’t go to Frimley Lodge often enough considering it’s one of our closest country parks. It’s such a nice day out with so much land to explore, plenty of space to have a picnic, a fantastic new play area and even a miniature railway. It’s a great place to visit on a nice day.

You can read more about Frimley lodge Park here:

Frimley Lodge Park - Frimley

Alice Holt Forest – Farnham, Surrey

Alice Holt is somewhere we have spent so much time and we love it as it’s a very cheap day out. As it’s part of the Forestry Commision you only have to pay car parking, it’s free entry and it’s a great place to walk the dog. With a Gruffalo Trail and immense playgrounds the children will love it. There’s also Go Ape there if you fancy it!

You can read more about our Alice Holt adventures here:

Alice Holt Forest - Farnham

Virginia Water – Surrey

I think Virginia Water is the place in Surrey that I spend most of my time. I go there to walk or run and we’ll often take the children to scoot or cycle. With the main lake, well kept paths and a lovely play area it’s a great day out.

You can read about our time at Virginia Water here:

Virginia Water

Painshill Park – Chobham, Surrey

Painshill Park is an utterly beautiful park, steeped in history and easily a full day out for all the family. A wonderful lake to walk around, a gothic temple to admire the views from and even a play park and cafe. It’s well worth a visit.

You can read more about our time at Painshill Park here:

Visiting Painshill Park After Lockdown

Hogmoor Inclosure – Bordon

Hogmoor Inclosure is easily one of our new favourite places. With forest and the great outdoors to explore, trails to follow and accessible routes, it’s the perfect place to spend time outside. But the main attraction is the incredible play area, one of the best we have ever visited!

You can read more about Hogmoor Inclosure here:

A Morning at Hogmoor Inclosure - Bordon, Hampshire

Historic Buildings

Highclere Castle – Newbury, Berkshire

Highclere Castle has been home to the Carnarvon family since 1679 and the 5th Earl, with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. This makes Highclere Castle a fantastic place to learn about the Ancient Egyptians as well as so much about the castle itself.

You can read about our trips to Highclere Castle here:

Highclere Castle - Newbury, Berkshire

Hampton Court Palace – East Molesey, Surrey

Hampton Court Palace was Henry VIII’s home and teaches visitors all about Henry, his wives and life through the Tudor years. It’s a great place to visit for any child learning about the Tudors and Stewarts or anyone wanting to learn more about a really significant era in British history. The Magic Garden play area and maze are the cherry on the cake too!

You can read about our time at Hampton Court Palace here:

Hampton Court Palace - Molesey, Surrey

Windsor Castle – Windsor, Berkshire

I think Windsor Castle is pretty much the castle of the South East. I think it’s actually one of the most well known castles in the country – especially as it’s one of the Queen’s official residences and the venue for many royal weddings. You can make a visit to Windsor Castle into a really full day out by also exploring Windsor, the Long Walk and the many local green spaces.

You can read about our time at Windsor Castle here:

Windsor Castle - Windsor, Berkshire

Gilbert White’s House – The Wakes, High Street, Selborne, Alton GU34 3JH

Visit Gilbert White’s House & Gardens, home to the pioneering naturalist Gilbert White. The David Attenborough of his day! Explore beautiful gardens, landscapes and historic house where you can discover the Oates Collections: Captain Lawrence Oates’ tragic journey to the South Pole and Frank Oates’ journey to Victoria Falls. Plus, there’s a cafe, brewery and on site taproom!

You can read more about a trip to Gilbert White’s House here:

Bodiam Castle – Robertsbridge, East Sussex

When we first visited Bodiam Castle with our National Trust passes I was expecting it to be bigger. In photos it looks like a really vast castle but in reality it’s quite small and compact but a perfectly formed moated castle built in the 14th century. With a bridge leading to the main entrance and plenty of spiral staircases to venture up, Bodiam Castle is a real adventure of a day out and one the children love.

You can read about our trip to Bodiam Castle here:

Bodiam Castle - Robertsbridge, East Sussex

Hurst Castle – Lymington, Hampshire

Unlike other castles that you can drive up to, park and explore, Hurst Castle is a real adventure. The English Heritage property is set on a coastal spit with a 1.5 mile walk along shingle from the nearest car park – or you can get a ferry to the castle for a fee. We loved the walk and it really added to the day out with the castle being a fantastic find at the end too! Hurst Castle gives great views out to see and the coast and teachers so much about Henry VIII’s coastal defences.

You can read about our day at Hurst castle here:

Hurst Castle - Milford on Sea, Hampshire

Hever Castle – Edenbridge, Kent

Hever Castle is such a compact but romantic castle that stands proudly in the middle of impressive grounds. It started out as a country home and is most well known for being Anne Boleyn’s family home. As well as the castle there’s also a lake and gardens, playgrounds, mazes, miniature houses, the military museum and so much more. It’s such a great day out for all the family and there are often children’s trails to explore in the holidays too. The grounds are dog friendly too.

You can read about our trip to Hever Castle here:

Hever Castle - Edenbridge, Kent

Leeds Castle – Maidstone, Kent

Leeds Castle is, without a doubt, my favourite castle. It’s the most beautiful I have ever seen and it has such a timeless quality to it, making you feel like you’ve been transported back to the days when Kings and Queens would have walked along the corridors. It’s been standing 1119 and had many 19th century additions making it such a fantastic medieval castle.

Leeds Castle has so much to offer with a couple of playgrounds, a maze and a grotto to explore as well as falconry shows to watch too. If you’d like to extend your trip you can even stay in one of the castle’s glamping tents or in a room in the manor house.

You can read more about Leeds Castle here:

Leeds Castle - Maidstone, Kent

Rochester Castle – Rochester, Kent

I’ve put Rochester Castle here as it has castle in its name but it isn’t really on a par with the other castles I’ve mentioned. It’s still a beautiful castle and full of so much history, it’s just not as incredible as the likes of Leeds Castle. It’s an English Heritage site which can be looked at from the outside for fere. It sits proudly in the heart of Rochester and is a real focal point if you visit the city. Going up to the top of the castle gives incredible views of the local area too.

You can read about our trip to Rochester Castle here:

Rochester Castle - Rochester, Kent

Dover Castle – Dover, Kent

Dover Castle may be the most iconic of all English fortresses. It has been commanding the gateway to the England for 900 years and visitors can climb the Great Tower and meet characters whilst exploring deep within the White Cliffs of Dover. It’s an action-packed day out for the whole family even when visiting the castle with young children.

You can read more about Dover Castle here:

Dover Castle - Dover, Kent

Arundel Castle – Arundel, West Sussex

Set high on a hill in West Sussex, Arundel Castle gives amazing views across the South Downs and the River Arun. Dating back to 1067, visitors can explore the Norman Keep, medieval Gatehouse and Barbican whilst learning about the castle’s sieges with interactive exhibits, games and costumes. It’s a castle the whole family will love and there are special events like jousting shows throughout the year too.

You can read more about Arundel Castle here:

Arundel Castle - Arundel, West Sussex

Odiham Castle – Odiham, Hampshire

Unlike the other castles above, Odiham Castle is pretty much in ruins but this makes it a great place for children to explore and act out adventures amongst the remains. It’s known locally as King John’s Castle and sits happily beside the Basingstoke Canal.

You can read more about Odiham Castle here:

Odiham Castle - Odiham, Hampshire

Blenheim Palace – Woodstock, Oxfordshire

Blenheim Palace is a monumental country house and one of England’s largest houses. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it was the birthplace and ancestral home of Winston Churchill. As you can imagine, it’s a place steeped in history. It also has beautiful gardens, a maze, play areas, a butterfly house and so much more to do. It’s a really full day out and when you book tickets you can return free for a year.

You can read about our time at Blenheim Palace here:

Blenheim Palace - Woodstock, Oxfordshire

Stonor Park – Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire

Stonor Park is so much more than an historic building but I wasn’t sure what category to put it in! Stonor House is surrounded by beautiful grounds and acres of land in the Oxfordshire countryside. But, one of the main attractions is the Tumblestone Hollow play area which is one of the best we have ever been to!

You can read about our time at Stonor Park here:

Stonor Park - Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire

Play Centres

Active Tots – Reading, Berkshire

If you’re looking for a quiet indoor play centre for little ones then Active Tots is fantastic. We went a lot when Little Man was a toddler and loved it. Active Tots is a soft play in a converted barn with free parking and it’s aimed at children up to a metre tall – and up to their fourth birthday, meaning it’s a really safe space for little ones to play and there’s a lovely cafe too.

You can read about our trip to Active Tots here:

Active Tots - Reading

Coral Reef – Bracknell, Berkshire

Everyone locally knows Coral Reef leisure centre as the place to go swimming. It’s not quite on the same level as something like Splash Landings at Alton Towers but with so many slides and a big pirate ship in the centre it’s a great water park to visit with children and there’s nothing else quite like it in Berkshire.

You can read more about Coral Reef here:

Coral Reef - Bracknell

Imagination – Camberley, Surrey

You could combine a visit to Mrs Potts Place with a trip to Imagination, a play centre that lets the children be whatever they want to be. With rooms dedicated to different themes like an outdoor picnic room, a supermarket shopping room and an army cadet room there is something for everyone.

You can read about our trip to Imagination here:

Imagination - Camberley

Craggy Island – Guildford/Sutton, Surrey

I have heard great things about Craggy Island and it’s really the best place to go for indoor climbing adventures in the South East. With centres in Sutton and Guildford their both well located and have sessions available for every experience level.

Pirates Landing – Camberley, Surrey

You’ll often find us at Pirates Landing in the holidays – with the children playing whilst I get some work done. It’s great fun for all ages with a really lovely pirate theme and a nice cafe menu too.

You can read about our Pirates Landing experience here:

Pirates Landing - Camberley

Hen House – Haslemere, Surrey

A little further afield, the Hen House in Haslemere is compact but fun and has areas that are perfect for little children. With traditional soft play and a music disco room it’s somewhere children will love.

You can read more about The Hen House here:

Hen House - Haslemere

Little Street – Frimley/West Byfleet, Surrey

Another of our children’s favourite places is Little Street – although they’re a bit big to visit now. Little Street has different rooms set up as different shops or services – a cafe, a hairdresser, a building area, a supermarket etc. It’s great fun and something all children will enjoy.

You can read more about Little Street here:

Little Street - Frimley/West Byfleet

Rock Up Climbing Centre – Whiteley, Hampshire

Rock Up in Whiteley is a fantastic place to burn some energy and let off steam. With so many different climbing structures to tackle and family activities for all ages and abilities it’s a great day out.

You can read more about Rock Up here:

Rock Up Climbing Centre - Whiteley, Hampshire

Gymfinity Kids – Farnborough, Hampshire

The children have weekly gymnastics sessions at Gymfinity Kids in Farnborough. Their facilities are fantastic and the children learn so much and feel like they achieve so much during every session too. Gymfinity Kids also offer ad hoc gym sessions, Friday Night Club sessions, holiday camps and so much more!

You can read more about Gymfinity here:

Gymfinity Kids - Farnborough, Hampshire

Mini Port – Portsmouth, Hampshire

Mini Port was one of the best things we have ever done in Hampshire! It’s a port full of electric boats at Gunwharf Quays where you can hire boats for up to four people and enjoy being the commander of your own vessel. It was so much fun.

You can read more about Mini Port here:

Mini Port - Portsmouth, Hampshire

360 Play – Farnborough, Hampshire

360 Play is our favourite soft play centre in Hampshire. With a huge soft play structure, messy play activities, Lego sections, a carousel and bumper cars it’s a great day out especially when the weather isn’t at it’s best.

You can read more about 360 Play here:

360 Play - Farnborough, Hampshire

Theme Parks

Legoland Windsor – Windsor, Berkshire

Our favourite family fun day out in Berkshire is the Legoland theme park – and the children would go there every weekend if we’d let them. I’ve written tips on how to survive school holidays at Legoland and always make sure you buy your tickets online before you go or get buy one get one free vouchers – it’s such an expensive day out otherwise! There are rides, Lego models and so many shows too.

You can read more about our time at legoland Windsor here:

Legoland Windsor

Butlins – Bognor Regis, West Sussex

You may think of Butlins just as a holiday destination but they actually offer day passes so you can experience everything Butlins has to offer without staying on site. With the fun fair, shows, soft play and so many more activities it’s a fantastic day out for all the family.

You can read about our Butlins experiences here:

A Half Term Break at Butlins - Bognor Regis {Part 1 - Accomodation and Food}

Paultons Park – Romsey, Hampshire

Paultons Park is one of our favourite days out in Hampshire. The theme park is home to Peppa Pig World which the children have loved since they were toddlers but Paultons Park has so much more to offer too. Water play areas, adventure playgrounds and so many rides for all ages.

You can read about our Paultons Park adventures here:

Paultons Park - Romsey, Hampshire

Diggerland – Strood, Kent

One of the children’s favourite days out in Kent is Diggerland. They get to ride on or drive so many different kinds of diggers and it is so different to any other theme park we’ve experienced before. It is totally bonkers but great fun too – a must for any vehicle fan, or anyone who wants to try something different.

You can read our review of Diggerland here:

Diggerland - Strood

Dreamland – Margate, Kent

I remember visiting Dreamland as a child and visiting again as an adult, with my own little ones, was so nostalgic. Dreamland will always have a vintage charm about it and it’s such a family friendly place to visit. Rides, soft play, roller disco and even a petting zoo all located a stone’s throw from the seafront. It’s the perfect place for a day out or weekend away.

You can read about our Dreamland experience here:

Dreamland - Margate

Chessington World of Adventures – Chessington, Surrey

I spent so much of my teens at Chessington World of Adventures, going by bus with my friends. It’s changed so much over the years and is now very much a family theme park with rides to suit very young children as well as older ones. They always have special events and we love visiting to enjoy the zoo and sea life centre during the winter.

You can read about our Chessington adventures here:

Chessington World of Adventures - Chessington

Thorpe Park – Chertsey, Surrey

Thorpe Park is definitely aimed at slightly older children compared to Theme Park but the beach is something that the whole family will love when the weather’s nice. It’s a great day out – even as an adult.

You can read more about Thorpe Park here:

Thorpe Park - Chertsey


Winchester Science Centre – Winchester, Hampshire

Winchester Science Centre is a fantastic day out with so much to do. Most of the attraction is indoor with an amazing planetarium, live science theatre shows and so many interactive exhibits. It also has an outdoor area with climbing frame and a lovely cafe too.

You can read more about Winchester Science Centre here:

Museum of English Rural Life – Reading, Berkshire

The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) is a museum, library and archive dedicated to recording farming and the countryside in England as the years go by. Unlike most attractions, MERL is free to visit and has a beautiful garden with children’s activities and it’s a perfect activity for a rainy day too.

Museum of English Rural Life - Reading

Aldershot Military Museum – Hampshire

Aldershot Military Museum is a great place to learn all about the history of Aldershot military town, the part it played in the arm and i’s links to the history of British aviation and the local pottery industry.

You can read more about Aldershot Military Museum here:

Beaulieu Motor Museum – Hampshire

There is so much to see and learn at the National Motor Museum Beaulieu from the Beaulieu Abbey ruins to the motor museum which has vehicles all the way back from to the very first bicycles. It’s a must for any transport fan! Plus, it’s on the edge of the New Forest making a wander in the surrounding area wonderful too.

You can read more about our Beaulieu adventures here:

A lovely day at Beaulieu Motor Museum

Butser Ancient Farm – Petersfield, Hampshire

Butser Ancient Farm is an archaeological open air museum which features reconstructions of prehistoric, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon buildings. It’s a fantastic day out where the whole family will learn something – and get to participate in an archeological dig too.

You can read more about Butser Ancient Farm here:

Butser Ancient Farm - Petersfield, Hampshire

Milestones Museum – Basingstoke, Hampshire

Milestones Museum of Living History is a museum made up of a network of streets that have been recreated just like those found in Victorian and 1930s Hampshire. It’s a great place to learn about the years gone by and when you pay to visit you can return free for a year – and it’s open all year round too.

You can read more about Milestones Museum here:

Milestones Museum - Basingstoke, Hampshire

Historic Dockyard Chatham – Kent

The Historic Dockyard Chatham is home to historic Royal Navy warships and teaches so much about the UK’s shipbuilding heritage in the 18th-century dockyard museum.

You can read more about the Historic Dockyard Chatham here:

Historic Dockyard Chatham - Kent

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – Hampshire

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is part of HM Naval Base Portsmouth which contains several historic buildings and ships like the Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860. It’s a hub of Royal Navy history and a fantastic day out on the coast.

You can read more about the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard here:

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - Hampshire

Chiltern Open Air Museum – Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

Chiltern Open Air Museum is a rural museum featuring 37 rescued historic buildings that were the workplaces or homes of ordinary people. The museum is a real timeline that helps to tell the story of the Chilterns and it really is like taking a walk through history. It’s just a short way from Milton Keynes and worth making it into a lovely day trip for the family.

You can read more about Chiltern Open Air Museum here:

Chiltern Open Air Museum - Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

Brooklands Museum – Weybridge, Surrey

If your kids love to learn then they’ll love Brooklands Museum. The motoring and aviation museum where you can discover the pioneers of speed, flight and adventure at the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation. It’s also home of Concorde and always has special events held through the year.

You can read more Brooklands Museum here:

Brooklands Museum - Weybridge

Famous Landmarks

Spinnaker Tower – Portsmouth, Hampshire

The Emirates Spinnaker Tower is a 170-metre landmark observation tower giving incredibly views over the Solent. Visitors can discover the stories and characters that helped make Portsmouth the Great Waterfront City it is today whilst enjoying the view.

You can read more about the Spinnaker Tower here:

Spinnaker Tower - Portsmouth, Hampshire


The Watercress Line – Hampshire

Any train fan will love a visit to the Watercress Line. You can find out about the trainline’s heritage, see real steam trains in action and attend so many special events across the railway too.

You can read more about the Watercress Line here:

A Day Out with Thomas on the Mid Hants Railway - The Watercress Line

And there you have our favourite days out in the South East. We still have so many places to visit – and can’t believe we have never been to Royal Tunbridge Wells, despite it being such an easy day out from London. And the The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Buckinghamshire is high on our list too. Plus, Odds Farm Park and Bekonscot Model Village are always well recommended. Do you have any other places you’d recommend?

Family Days Out in the South East


  • Donna Wishart

    Donna Wishart is married to Dave and they have two children, Athena (12) and Troy (11). They live in Surrey with their two cats, Fred and George. Once a Bank Manager, Donna has been writing about everything from family finance to days out, travel and her favourite recipes since 2012. Donna is happiest either exploring somewhere new, with her camera in her hand and family by her side or snuggled up with a cat on her lap, reading a book and enjoying a nice cup of tea. She firmly believes that tea and cake can fix most things.

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One Comment

  1. You have so many castles near you, I’m jealous. I’m definitely going to have to do a weekend that way so we can get in a few visits in one go, as it’s a bit of a trek for one day. Our nearest one is Kenilworth and that’s a bit of a trek, but none in Oxfordshire or the rest of our surrounding 4 counties around us. I used to drive past the Chiltern Open Air museum for my short commute to work when I worked in Maple Cross, but I’ve never been. It’s on my to visit list, and must make the effort to go sometime. It’s my type of place and N has enjoyed similar places in the past.

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