Basingstoke is a remarkable place. While there, you can explore its ancient Roman walls, follow in the steps of Jane Austen and enjoy a shopping experience like no other at the famed Festival Palace. Then, you can catch a breather at one of its many acclaimed pavement cafés before you embark on the next stretch of your journey.
Basingstoke – Perfect for the whole family, there really is something for everyone. Whether you take a trip to Highclere Castle, take on an escape room or lose yourself in the music at The Anvil, you can create lasting memories together.
To make it easier for you, we’ve put together our top 10 places for the whole family to enjoy below:
If you want a unique way to reconnect your loved ones post-lockdown, then Milestones Museum of living history might be just what the doctor ordered. While there, you can immerse yourself in the Victorian age, take up your chalkboards in the era-authentic school, watch a working printing press in action and buy a ration of sweets from their 1940s sweet shop.
What’s more, the museum has an excellent play space for under 5s, a working pub, authentically costumed characters and a wide range of interactive displays.
Alongside the permanent attractions, the museum holds various family-friendly events and exhibitions throughout the year. Check out their events page for more details.
Have you got what it takes to unlock the secrets of the cold war or to solve the case of the missing duchess? If a completely immersive and unique experience is what you are after, then Basingstoke’s premier escape room, Exciting Escapes, will challenge the whole family.
With seven different stories to choose from and a range of puzzles and clues to solve, you can expect an experience like no other that will stay with you for a lifetime. So whether you try and unlock the mysteries from the roaring twenties or rip open an unsolved British Intelligence case, the race against the clock will test all of your mettle! So are you up for the challenge?
Bursting with enough artefacts to make Indiana Jones swoon, The Vyne is an unmissable 16th Century mansion that transports you straight back to the Tudor age.
Marvel at the illuminated stained glass and 5th-century majolica tile in the Tudor chapel, and get lost in the illustrious stories of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Jane Austen. Amongst its incredible trinkets, tapestries, paintings and fine period furniture, you can see the Ring of Silvanus. This 4th-century Roman ring is said to have inspired part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
When you are ready for a breath of fresh air, take a stroll through the ancient woodland and discover some of the rare wildlife amongst the grounds expansive wetlands.
Nestled in the heart of the town, you can enjoy some retail therapy at the vibrant Festival Palace. With over 160 big brands and enough variety to tickle any foodies palate and more, the Palace offers everything from technology, entertainment, fashion and food, all under one roof.
If you have time, you should check out the Flip Out trampoline park, the excellent leisure and sports complex or catch the hottest new releases at the 10-screen Vue multiplex cinema.
With an events calendar bursting with stylish fashion showcases, art installations, workshops and student takeovers throughout the year, there is a host of brilliant family activities for everyone to enjoy.
Whitchurch Silk Mill
Next on our whistlestop tour of Basingstoke comes the oldest silk mill in the country. A fine example of 19th Century industry, Whitchurch Silk Mill was established in 1800 on Frog Island and still uses much of its original 19th-century looms and its 220-year-old waterwheel to operate to this day.
While there, the whole family can get a glimpse into what life was like, how silk was made, and you can even pick up some of the mill’s fabrics from the gift shop. Pop into the tea room for a wide variety of indulgent bakes and refreshing drinks.
Praised for its unique design and for housing some of the best acoustics in Europe, The Anvil has showcased from of the world’s most prominent touring bands, dance, musicals, classical music, opera and famous stand-up comedians since it opened its doors in 1994.
Whether you want to see the classic pantomime such as Beauty & the Beast, laugh with Jimmy Carr, get inspired by adventurer Ray Mears or catch one of the local dance school showcases, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.
Perfect for everyone from the adrenaline junkie to the sports enthusiast, Skizone offers all the fun of the slopes but for a fraction of the price! Sporting a revolving, fully adjustable ski slope, you’ll feel like you are on a real piste.
Skizone offers a broad range of instructor-led courses for all ages and abilities, whether you’re new to the slopes or are a seasoned pro.
If you’re planning a trip to Basingstoke this summer, you won’t want to miss the award-winning Eastrop Park. While there, you can catch a glimpse of the areas beautiful wildlife, have a splash in the kid-friendly paddling pool, and relax as the Basingstoke Concert Band play.
Pedal boat hire is available for those that want to explore the water, and you may even catch sight of a rare kingfisher if you are lucky. Then, pop into the Boathouse Cafe and treat yourself to a well-deserved pot of tea and cake before you go.
Situated just outside of the town, you can take a wander through the battle-scarred walls of Basing House. In its heyday, it was one of Tudor England’s largest and wealthiest palaces that accommodated the likes of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I during their rule.
John Paulet – a direct descendant of the house’s original owner William Paulet, treasurer to Edward VI, Queen Mary I and Elizabeth I – was a supporter of Charles I during the English Civil War. The house was famously seiged in 1645 and succumbed to fire and flame. Today you can walk around the surviving ruins and take a stroll through the restored Great Barn, which still shows damage from the battle.
Willis Museum and Salisbury Gallery
You cannot go to Basingstoke and miss the wondrous and slightly peculiar Willis Museum. Before entering, you will spot the 200th-anniversary commemorative statue of Jane Austen as you step into the extensive collection of odd items first put together by the local clockmaker, George Willis.
Don’t miss the perfectly preserved Victorian cake or the hair from the mane of Copenhagen, the 1st Duke of Wellington’s horse at Waterloo!
For all the art lovers, the Sainsbury Gallery is well worth a look if you are interested in pop culture, fashion, photography, painting or simply like to feel inspired.
Basingstoke is a town bursting with charm, culture and history. So which of our top 10 will you treat the family to first?