100 years of glory at Exbury

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the spectacular 200-acre Exbury Gardens near Beaulieu in the New Forest. World famous for its Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs, Exbury is celebrating its big birthday with some impressive new projects and a series of special events. A new ‘secret centenary garden’ and ‘stream’ of spring bulbs opened to the public in … Continue reading 100 years of glory at Exbury

Family bike ride on the Hayling Billy Trail

Every family should cycle together. It’s a liberating and bonding experience to ditch all the distractions, pack a rucksack with drinks and snacks, stick the bikes on the back of the car and drive to a scenic spot for an afternoon trundle. As a self-confessed MAMIL (Middle Aged Man in Lycra), my solo two-wheeled expeditions take me 40, 50 miles and more on the road, … Continue reading Family bike ride on the Hayling Billy Trail

For those who love a good garden centre

We love a good garden centre – whether you’re a budding Capability Brown or just have one or two herb pots, there’s something very peaceful about drifting through the plants, sniffing roses, hunting out the healthiest specimens, and asking advice on whether or not that lovely hydrangea would be pink or blue in your soil. And if you can stop for a good cup of … Continue reading For those who love a good garden centre

Let’s go fly a kite – on the waves!

Whether you’re the world’s biggest fan of kitesurfing, or a total newbie to the sport, the Kitesurfing Armada Festival is fantastic to see. Hayling Island was the birthplace of windsurfing and, while still a mecca for windsurfers, it has now rapidly built up a reputation as one of the UK’s premier kitesurfing destinations. If you haven’t seen kitesurfing up close before, you need to! It’s  a … Continue reading Let’s go fly a kite – on the waves!

Father’s Day. What sort of Dad is yours?

What do you buy the dad who’s got everything?  Well, we live in a spectacular part of the British Isles, so why not treat him to some of its highlights. Give him the gift of a wonderful summer memory! Yee ha dad For the yee ha dad how about a cowboy stay in an iconic Airstream thanks to Vintage Vacations on the Isle of Wight? … Continue reading Father’s Day. What sort of Dad is yours?

Southsea – a feast of the world

Gunwharf Quays is Portsmouth’s big draw for eating out and the queues of cars into the city pay testament to this reputation – who can resist a spot of retail therapy followed by a meal out and a glass of wine, all while overlooking the sea? For a more bohemian, off-the-beaten-track experience, head to Southsea. It’s where you will find most of the locals eating … Continue reading Southsea – a feast of the world

Fort Nelson Poppies at Portsmouth

My 92-year-old mum is disabled so a visit to The Tower of London’s ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ wasn’t an option. Today we headed off with her to Portsmouth to the Royal Armouries’ Fort Nelson to see Poppies:Wave, the last stop on the #PoppiesTour. Wave is the sculpture which was the key dramatic element of the 2014 Tower installation. An arc of crimson flowers which, … Continue reading Fort Nelson Poppies at Portsmouth

Quaint harbour, nature reserve and pub with a view

On the South coast, between Southampton and Portsmouth, is a short stretch of beach which is perfect for walking, bird watching or just feeding the ducks. Hill Head is a harbour dotted with small yachts by the Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, a twitchers’ paradise covering more than 350 acres of the Meon Valley. Walks around the reserve are perfect for nature lovers and children who can be tempted to … Continue reading Quaint harbour, nature reserve and pub with a view

Penguins and tigers at Marwell

My other half knows I have a passion for both pandas and penguins, so this year’s Valentine’s treat was a trip to Marwell Zoo in Hampshire. Marwell Wildlife is an awesome charity, world renowned for its conservation programmes in the UK and Africa. The 140-acre Marwell Zoo is a showcase of that work with more than 1200 animals and 135 species. It’s also a genuinely … Continue reading Penguins and tigers at Marwell

Mother and son trip to Monkey World

There are few days outs that have mass appeal to all age groups, but Monkey World sits in that category. Where else can you get within feet of our closest living relatives? There’s no experience with primates in the south of England that has quite this kind of ambiance, where great apes almost feel within touching distance. My mum and I have been venturing to … Continue reading Mother and son trip to Monkey World