10 Fun Activities To Do in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight
Life can get stale when you have lived in a place for so long, and the old ‘What To Do’ list is exhausted. Here are 10 fun activities to try if you live around or you are visiting Hampshire. This list appeals to kids of all ages, including that little kid surviving in us all.
If you need to get away for a mini-break or extended holiday, or if you are looking to hold corporate activities and events, this list will provide entertainment options for all.
For simply centuries, ships were the only way to travel around the world to discover or visit remote lands. Conquering kings braved the fraught seas to lay siege and claim kingdoms. And if they were busy, they sent explorers out instead to do their bidding. Pirates also love the high seas just as much, because what are pirates if not opportunistic explorers of a sort? Of course, sea life also uses the wavy seas and have for centuries before humans. You could say they own it.
Even now the sea lanes are busy with pleasure cruise ships, coast guard and navy vessels, merchant marines, cargo ships, tankers, superyachts, and not so superyachts. Ships are cool. Do you wonder how something so big and heavy can float? Science, my friend, science.
Portsmouth has a historic dockyard worth going to see. You can explore the ship and the shore for some one-of-a-kind entertainment in one place. It is home to such main attractions as the HMS Victory of Admiral Nelson fame and Queen Victoria’s HMS Warrior. As if these two ships weren’t enough, the dockyard is also home to HMS M.33. which is the one surviving vessel from WWI Gallipoli campaign.
But that isn’t all. The remains of The Mary Rose, King Henry VIII’s ship, was painstakingly preserved and is on display at the yard. It is a highlight attraction that if you let your imagination run wild, you might see some ghost of sailors past or maybe even horrible Henry himself.
Speaking of horribleness and history, Horrible Histories Pirates is a fun family attraction to experience. Speak like a pirate your entire visit if ye be keen. Aaarrrrrrrrr! Matey. There also be fun action stations scattered about the place too. Aaarrrrrrrrr! Okay, enough. If you take a ride on the waterbus to Gosport you can also experience the HMS Alliance, a submarine. So, what are you waiting for?
Stargazing – Isle of Wight
Stargazing. A word that inspires magic, because it brings untold wonderment and beauty to the beholder. With light pollution keeping a lot of the world from enjoying quality stargazing these days, this has to be a top activity to do while on the Isle of Wight.
Why on the Isle of Wight? The island boasts some of the darkest night skies around the UK as the English Channel is on one side of the island and the Solent separates it from the mainland. There are no big cities on the island either, which means light pollution is not as prevalent, keeping the skies more visible as a result.
Visit the Island Planetarium at Fort Victoria for information on stargazing shows and weekends. If you have little kids and viewing the stars at night only happens in their dreams, you can enjoy the stars with them during the day at the Astrodome 360 Star Theatre.
And you can go stargazing at night for a time of spiritual solace. However, the sun does go down pretty quickly on the island during the winter, so it is possible to take the kids out early enough before their bedtime.
Vectis Astronomical Society has an observatory in Newchurch and it is open to the public on Thursday evenings throughout the year. You can download stargazing maps to assist your night viewing. The best spots for viewing are the lower half of the island. If you happen to be a photographer, the island is a great place for shooting the stars.
Another magical activity you can do with the whole family or by yourself is flying. It might sound expensive, but you don’t need a plane for this type of flying or pixie dust (although you can pretend you have fairy dust in your pocket if you’d like to). You don’t need a parachute or a sail either, just a wind tunnel.
Correction, you don’t need to have a wind tunnel, just get to the one at iFly in Basingstoke. Anyone from the age of three years can have a go. You will fly with an instructor, one on one. Beginners will only fly up to 6 feet high to start with so it won’t be scary.
If you have always wanted to skydive but you can’t bring yourself to jump out of a plane or strap yourself to some idiot who will jump, iFly is your answer. Or, if flying is your favourite superpower, give it a try. It is sure to be epic.
Also, at the Basingstoke Leisure Park, there are other fun activities to pursue, such as indoor skiing, Freedom Climber—a never-ending climbing wall, and Paraflight Virtual Reality.
Milestones is a museum located at the Leisure Park in Basingstoke, as well. You can do some more exploring, but this time through the streets of Victorian England through to the 1930s also.
You can go through shops and buildings replicating life back in the day and see the torturous but funny fashions of the time. What women won’t wear to look pretty! Their shoes must have been excruciating.
There are three Exciting Escape venues in Hampshire making it so easy to enjoy an escape room challenge. If you have never had the opportunity to try an escape challenge but you have always like playing Clue or Cluedo and you found watching the Crystal Maze entertaining then you will like Exciting Escapes.
You get to pretend you’re a detective, spy, or hero, etc. and save the world from disaster. (Something you do in your day job too, eh? Uh huh.) You get to discover hidden clues, of which some might not be visible or tangible.
You will solve riddles and other puzzles with a team of family, friends, or colleagues. Some of the escape games have more than one room, so you can have two teams and play against each other for bragging rights.
The experience can be completely immersive if you allow yourself to escape fully into the room challenge. The cherry on top is you get to dress up in costume if you dare. Choose between the awesome storylines available and travel in time. Book your next adventure now.
A Robin Hill visit has just become even more fun with the addition of Jungle Heights, with suspended net mazes, tunnels and a massive net trampoline. And that is just part of the excitement to experience there. There are rides and slides, adventure play, extensive gardens, and for something a bit different—falconry!
Fancy going to the races? Not the ones with horses but with horsepower? If you’re an avid petrolhead or just feel like a new thrill, you can zoom down toward Andover to Thruxton Motorsport Centre.
Book a hot lap in a supercar, learn how to drift, or go off-roading in a 4×4. Drive on the same track that Formula 1 drivers have, or take a spin in a 60mph race kart.
If you’re not quite sure and you feel like racing is more of a spectator sport for you, keep an eye on the schedule for upcoming race events. Be awed by the pros as they hit the track in grand style. It might just be the inspiration you need to give racing a try yourself.
Who isn’t fascinated by the prehistoric, monstrous giants of mystery, the dinosaurs? The terrible T-Rex with its tiny, comical arms. It is probably just misunderstood and frustrated with its own shrivelled shortcomings. Imagine being tall enough but still unable to reach the cookie jar. That would make anyone mad.
But more seriously, these extinct creatures have a lot to teach us about the past and the earth, extinct periods of time that without the dinosaur remains we might know very little. Awesome beings. The Isle of Wight is known as the Dinosaur Isle because it is home to more than 20 species of dinosaur.
Imagine the huge beasties roaming the Wight. Can you feel their footsteps tremble the earth? Can you hear their breath leave their gigantic nostrils, like a horse breathes but with a more powerful expulsion? Visit Dinosaur Isle and experience these brilliant creatures. It will be worth the effort.
Theme Parks! Rollercoasters! And the home of Peppa Pig for the littles. The UK has proclaimed Paulton’s Park their own favourite theme park for four consecutive years because it boasts over 70 rides and attractions to enjoy and something for everyone.
You can come for a day, or book a room and stay for longer. The theme park sits on 140 acres edging the New Forest National Park that contains other awesome activities for the family.
New Forest National Park is a fantastic place of cool resources, such as theme parks nearby and Liberty’s Owl, Raptor & Reptile Centre. You can also explore the various species that call New Forest their home with nature-based activities.
Other New Forest activities include horse riding, archery and combat tag, kayaking, cycling through the park and seeing a herd of deer and other woodland creatures frolicking about. You can bring your own cycles or hire some in the heart of the forest park.
It is a great place to go camping, or glamping if the rugged roughage is not quite to your taste.
Have a round of golf or rejuvenate at the spa. There are so many walks available to choose from, water sports in the summertime, castles and heritage, guided tours, food and beverage amenities, accommodation, shopping. New Forest is a complete adventure for all seasons and all rolled into one.
Go Ape offers different adventures throughout their UK sites with treetop challenges and adventures, zip trekking adventures, nets adventures, forest Segway, and play areas.
Go Ape Southampton is located in Itchen Valley. It has two orienteering courses in a breath-taking country park setting with several trails to experience. There is a cafe and a picnic area to refuel then resume your exploration.
Check the website to stay attune to the planned activities throughout the year. Let your inner ape escape and go for a swing in the trees.
The bottom line
These suggested activities have so much to offer anyone and everyone looking for just the right excursion to suit their purpose. You don’t have to go far to have an awesome and varied experience in the UK. Sometimes you just have to open the door to your own backyard to find the best adventures.