In nice weather, one of the best family activities is to go on a picnic. This is fun with families of all ages. Young children will just love being able to explore the outdoors, older children can bring toys and games, and even teenagers will love a good game of frisbee or other activity.
Here are some of the best places to go for a picnic in Hampshire, England.
English Heritage site Netley Abbey is truly beautiful. The Abbey is located in Netley (about a mile from the train station) and has free parking. It can also be reached by bus (Solent Blue Line 9A). Admission to Netley Abbey is free, and there are toilets (across the street).
Netley Abbey was a Cistercian monastary, but now there are just ruins surrounded by beautiful grassy fields and trees. It is a beautiful and peaceful site with plenty of ruins to explore (I love all of the arches) and grassy areas to play on. To see a picture of Netley Abbey, click here.
Itchen Valley Country Park
Itchen Valley Country Park is run by Eastleigh Borough Council and located on Allington Lane, SO30 3HQ (kind of between the Southampton Airport and West End). Admission to the park is free; however there is a small charge for the car park.
My family enjoys Itchen Valley Country Park because they have a good variety of facilities. There are nature trails and play areas (for both younger and older children), barbecues and picnic tables, public toilets (that are actually clean), a small gift shop and conservation centre, and more. This is a great place to have a picnic and explore in a woodland type setting.
The New Forest
The New Forest (not actually new) is a beautiful national park located partially in Hampshire. There are many fantastic picnic spots in the New Forest. You can simply explore the New Forest and stop at one of the many spots that are great for a picnic.
One of my favorite places for a picnic in the New Forest is at Furzey Gardens in Minstead. These beautiful gardens are run by a charity, and are absolutely charming. They have some fantastic places for a picnic (including both romantic spots for couples and playground areas for kids). There’s also a small cafe if you don’t want to pack a picnic. Furzey Gardens is best accessed by car (parking is free), and they do charge a small admission fee (all proceeds go to charity). To see some pictures of Furzey Gardens, click here.
Hampshire has plenty of coastline, including some beaches. One of the more inviting beaches for a picnic is Lepe Country Park in Southampton, SOP45 1AD. Admission is free, although standard car park charges do apply.
Lepe Country Park has sandy beaches and grassy areas, as well as play areas, public toilets, etc. As if the outdoor attractions weren’t enough, Lepe Country Park is also an historic site. Lepe was also an important location during WWII as troops departed from here for D-Day. You can learn more about the site’s history and significance there.