UK Staycation with Kids

A cost effective itinerary for a UK Staycation with young children

2021 is going to be the year of the big summer staycation. With international travel looking extremely unpredictable, Brits are looking to create memorable experiences with their loved ones a little closer to home this year.

If you are travelling with a young family then you know a holiday can often feel more exhausting than relaxing - but advanced planning can really help ensure your staycation goes smoothly for everyone.

To get you started, we’ve put together a recommended itinerary. Don’t feel you have to stick to it, it’s designed just to give you ideas - adapt it to your own needs and interests.

If you are heading on holiday with a young family then the apartments at Old Thorns are the obvious choice. The children have plenty of space to play in the open plan living/dining area and awkward meal times aren’t a problem as you have your own fully equipped kitchen. Having separate bedrooms means that once the kids have gone to bed, you have your own space to chill - and watching the sun go down over the golf course with a glass of wine in hand is not a bad way at all to end the day! 

Top Tip!
In the days leading up to your staycation, you want to check that all your activities are booked. In the post covid world we now find ourselves in, most attractions require pre-purchased tickets for entry. If you plan on using the pool during your stay at Old Thorns, you can pre-book sessions 48 hours in advance. 

Day 1 - Arrival

Enjoy a leisurely arrival to Old Thorns from 4pm and check into your new home for the coming days. If you’d like to stretch your legs after travelling, there is a nice 2.5k round route across Weavers Down, accessible from the main drive.

Even if you plan to eat out most days, you’ll want to get in a few supplies. If you don’t bring them with you, then the local Sainsburys supermarket is located a 5 minute drive away in Liphook village, and is open until 10pm (except Sundays when it closes at 4pm).

It’s holiday time - you may not fancy cooking. Use our online ordering on your mobile to get a family meal deal from our takeaway menu.

Day 2 - Alice Holt

You could spend a few hours, or the entire day at Alice Holt but on peak dates, you are definitely best to get there before 10am. To keep the costs low, pack a picnic. The car park is close by so you won’t need to carry it round with you. However, there is a cafe on site if you’d prefer. Car parking for the day costs up to £12. 

Younger children will love the Gruffalo trail. A pushchair friendly route takes you round the forest, searching for the different characters from the favourite book.You’ll also find den building, play areas and plenty of trails to explore. If you are interested in cycle hire or Go Ape, remember to book this in advance.

After exploring the forest and a picnic lunch, you’ll have time to head back to Old Thorns and enjoy a swim session. Children’s afternoon swim times are at 3pm and 4pm daily, with an additional 5pm session on weekdays. Remember to advance book up to 48 hours in advance.

After a swim, head to the Sports Bar (no need to book) for popular bar classics, burgers and freshly cooked pizzas. You’ll also find a children’s menu.

Day 3 - Bird World

Just 20 minutes from Old Thorns, Bird World is a favourite with young families. There are a huge variety of birds from flamingos to owls, plus a farm area, play parks and plenty of food kiosks and an onsite restaurant. The park is open from 10am and to make the most of your day, plan it around the events and talks that are happening - penguin feeding time is a highlight.

With social distancing in place, you will need to pre-book tickets in advance as they are operating at a reduced capacity.

You could spend the whole day at Bird World but typically 4 hours or so would probably be adequate. 

If you find yourself finishing up a bit early you could look to explore a bit of the Shipwright’s Way. The route is actually 50 miles long and connects many of the towns and villages in East Hampshire. It’s been conveniently split up into sections so you can easily pick up a mile or so for an afternoon stroll. Part of the route is fairly close to Bird World with another section crossing the back of Old Thorns. You can explore the route on the East Hampshire website here

Day 4 - Beach Day

Your choice of beach may depend on where you’ve travelled from. If you’ve travelled to us from London or further north, it’s well worth heading south on the A3 to Southsea or Hayling Island for a day at the beach. If you are willing to travel a little further and are looking for a sandy beach, then little beats the West Witterings (note that you do need to pre-book parking for the Witterings and it does sell out in advance during hot weather).

If you live on the coast and fancy a beach with a difference then head inland to Frensham Ponds. There is a modest car parking charge and a lovely sandy beach, with a picnic area and walking route. 

If it’s warm and sunny then all beaches will be popular so ensure you head early to avoid long queues and difficulty parking.

Day 5 - Chessington

Keep your eyes peeled on cereal packets (and similar) over the next few months for the special offer deals and enjoy a trip to Chessington World of Adventures. While there are a few different theme parks within an hour’s drive of Old Thorns, Chessington is popular with families with a number of family friendly rides, a zoo and a Sealife centre, all included in the admission price. It’s just under 45 minutes away from Old Thorns, making it a fab day out.

Other alternatives to Chessington include Paulton’s Park (the home of Peppa Pig World) - approx 1 hour, Legoland - approx 55 mins and Thorpe Park - approx 45 minutes. All these attractions are likely to be enforcing social distancing throughout 2021, so check on their websites well in advance for information on how to purchase tickets in advance.

Day 6 - QE Park

After an action packed day at the theme park, Day 6 is a short hop down the A3 to Queen Elizabeth Country Park. The visitor centre is located near the entrance, but if you’re travelling with children it’s worth driving up to the top Juniper car park as that is located by the play areas for the younger children and an awesome assault course for the teens and adults!

If you plan in advance, you can contact the park to organise a BBQ hire or even one of their new pizza ovens. Alternatively, you’ll find a kiosk and a cafe, along with plenty of picnic spots.

Head back to Old Thorns in time for a late afternoon swim and enjoy an evening meal in the Sports Bar or Kings Restaurant.

Day 7 - Departure

And just like that, your UK staycation has come to a close. Why not treat yourself to a cooked breakfast in our Kings Restaurant (booking advised), before your journey home?

Ready to Book?
Check availability for our apartments on our website, or give our reservations team a call for more information.