May is here which is when tickets go on sale for the BBC History Magazine’s History Weekend at Winchester! 2020 sees the event running from the 6th to 8th November and is showcasing the ex-capital’s Anglo-Saxon and medieval history.
The venue this year will be Winchester Guildhall, a Grade II listed building, which is a great venue. I would recommend using the park and ride facilities which run like clockwork.
While you’re in Winchester, make time to visit Winchester Great Hall, the stunning 13th-century building, which houses a famous replica of King Arthur’s round table.
With over 30 talks, interactive Q&As and book signings it’s sure to be a fascinating few days, so don’t delay – book your tickets this week!
The Crest is located within the South Downs National Park (https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/) and so you will have a chance to see a variety of wildlife while out and about. For instance taking a walk up Winchester Hill there are ground nesting Pippits A evening stroll along the River Meon will reward you with many birds and bats. A morning run along the disused Meon Railway Line is also home to many badgers. If you however crave for a more formal day out, jam packed with stunning birds of prey, then look no further than The Hawk Conservancy in Andover.
About The Park
The Hawk Conservancy Trust is a full day out for all the family; Get the children outside and immersed in nature.
You will witness some of the most spectacular flying displays in the UK, as well as having the opportunity to meet a bird of prey!
Bring the family to the Hawk Conservancy Trust for a day in the country; to have fun, learn, be inspired and amazed.
The Hawk Conservancy was founded as a zoo by local farmers Reg and Hilary Smith; and is set inside 22 acres of striking countryside. It is now a registered charity and the site of the National Bird of Prey Hospital, taking in injured birds of prey.
It’s a full day out with plenty of areas to explore, a huge variety of hawks and other birds of prey from all over the world, and hands on activities to take part in.
The grounds are level and easy to walk and so accessible to all, the keepers are very knowledgeable about their subjects and provide interesting, informative talks about the birds and their habitats. Dolores is a star turn in the vulture feeding talk!
Events at The Hawk Conservancy Andover
Children can blow off some steam as they explore the park and bird of prey themed playground, and young adventurers can have ago at the children’s activity trail. These are just some of the activities that make up the Hawk Conservancy Trust’s full timetable of daily activities.
‘Meet the Burrowers’ in fascinating and immersive aviary where you can come face to face with the Trust’s team of cute and curious Burrowing Owls or even book on to a VIP Encounter to meet them yourself!
During school holidays they offer additional daily activities to keep you and the children entertained at the Trust, including pond dipping, tractor rides and Ferret races.For those who want to learn more and get closer to the birds, there are Children’s Owl Experiences, Young Falconer Experiences and Family Experiences, all of which are held on specific dates and offer an extraordinary memory to cherish forever
They also have a variety of other events, Mothers Day, Easter Holidays etc so be sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page.
The displays vary season to season; but there is always a great variety of birds to see; bald eagles, griffon vultures, owls, hooded vultures, black kites, and many more.
All the hard work at the Hawk Conservancy is to support their conservation efforts with birds of prey in UK and worldwide. As a result by visiting you are supporting this fantastic charity!
The Hawk Conservancy Trust offers an out-of-the-ordinary venue for a child’s birthday, with a range of enjoyable activities and entertainment for a minimum of five children. Each birthday child can help start the duck or ferret race, and will have an owl fly to them with a special birthday message! There is a great menu of party food and party bags and invitations can be supplied!
No need to pack a picnic! Onsite and reasonably priced I must mention the Feathers Restaurant; fabulous family friendly choice and reasonably priced.
Tickets and Prices
The Park is open every day (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day & a few weeks in January ) and offers a full day out for all ages. Open from 10am to 4pm in the winter and 5pm in Summer.
*Please let me know if you’re planning a visit and we will leave some discount coupons for you*
It’s a full day out so arrive early! Be sure to be entertained by their world-class flying displays throughout the day, and many other activities in between.
Ah friends, dear dear friends. Do you remember the times we use to be able to just pop over for a coffee? Take the dog for a walk all together and somehow find ourselves at a country pub eating a full roast at 1pm? Do you remember we always spoke about planning that weekend away all together, “lets get Mum & Dad to come too and then they can babysit!”
Well now’s the time to stop day dreaming, get something booked up, and have something to look forward to!
The Crest has proven to be a special place for many friends and families over the years . The way the property is laid out ensures the flow is perfectly suited for folks to spend lots of time together, but well you know, still have that all important space to get away from each other!
Do you have a special occasion to celebrate with your friends and family coming up? Are you spread all over the country and find it hard to come together? Or are you already booked to come to The Crest to celebrate? A 60th Birthday, a 40th Wedding anniversary, or simply bringing your family together, parents, grandparents and grandchildren, all under one roof for the first time in a while?
We have three, yes three living rooms! One in the annex (this is typically where the grandparents hide out), and two in the house. That arrangement makes for plenty of space for everyone to watch TV, read a book, and catch up with each other.
The large lounge with the log burner gets all dec’d out in December with a large Christmas tree, and in the summer the French doors open right out to the garden.
The annex is its own special little house, with a double bed, a walk in shower a kitchen and lounge, and even it’s own courtyard garden. I think many visitors “just nip over to the annex for something”, sneak a quiet cup of coffee and take a few moments (hours) by themselves!
This is my favourite part of the house, it was why we bought the house to raise our family in. I spent many hours in that garden, baby monitor on my hip, before we moved to the US and I miss it deeply. Please have as much fun as you can there – I would LOVE to see some pictures if you do. There are two areas to gather and share a meal at, when the weather permits. The large gas BBQ and the long English summer nights mean that this may be your most favourite area, just like me.
We are all set to make your stay away with your family & friends as special as we can. We love putting up our beautiful hand made Birthday Banner across the dining table ready for you to add the cake to the stand and friends around the table!
There are also some really great places to have a special meal booked during your stay. Three of our favourites at the moment are The Bakers Arms, a mere 3 minute stumble walk from The Crest, the newly opened The Bucks Head in Meonstoke, just along from Droxford, with the team producing some phenomenal Sunday roasts; and the The Shoe Exton which is a cosy modern country pub with its own pantry selling freshly baked bread, jams and pastries and has a garden (and ice cream shack) set right alongside the River Meon.
Don’t take our word for it. We have been doing this for over 6 years now, most of our reviews are tucked away in our lovely guest book, but lots of them are now online here and we are very proud of them 🙂
We realise it’s not all about the property, this is an indulgent post in that respect. There are so many memorable days out to be had in the area and we will continue to cover these, we love helping you plan your time should you want help. Why not start reading here to give you some ideas of what to do?
Contact me to plan your home from home weekend away with your friends and family!
Comic con returns for a 3rd year releasing details of a special focus on female comic characters including Wonder Woman, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Supergirl, Catwoman, Storm, Gamora and Scarlet Witch.
Last year it cemented itself as the biggest Comic Con on the South Coast and this year it’s going far beyond that –
The sitemaps for Portsmouth Comic Con 2020 have been revealed, take a look!
7500+ TURN OUT EXPECTED!
STAR WARS DAY/FREE COMIC BOOK DAY ALL IN ONE!
To purchase tickets visit
If you’re serious about comics, love Marvel films, Star Wars, cult series like Dr Who & Harry Potter or simply looking for a family fun day out – this is the event for you!
Come and discover what life was like in the Napoleonic period. Around the turn of the 19th century, the French emperor Napoleon’s ambitions threatened invasion and war in Europe.
A varied programme of mid-week family-centred Easter holiday activities, designed to entertain and enlighten all ages.
This Easter weekend, the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson invites visitors to come and discover what life was like at the turn of the 19th century. The French emperor Napoleon had his sights set on invasion!
Join them for an action-packed Easter weekend with themed activities for all the family, including infantry drill and sword displays by costumed re-enactors.
Live firings of the British 6 pounder Bronze Smooth Bore Muzzle Loader gun and a replica 1810 Bloomfield 3 pounder will sound at 11 am, 1 pm & 3.30 pm.
There will be tours, static displays of artillery including two artillery pocket launchers and a Napoleonic camp set up right here on our Parade ground..
Dates: 8 April – 12 April and 15 April – 19 April
Easter weekend: Saturday 20 April – Sunday 21 April
The Royal Armouries museum at Fort Nelson is home to one of the largest collections of artillery in the UK. The Fort is set within 19 acres, there is so much to see and explore including the ramparts, parade, tunnels, galleries and a really good Café!
The Fort is open daily 10 am – 5 pm (April – October), and admission is free.
Always keep Fort Nelson in your back pocket for a local, free day out. It really is quite special ♥
We’ve had a busy few weeks in the vegetable garden at The Crest! The sun shone bright and warm last weekend and we decided it was time to crack open the rotavator and get the veggie patches ready for planting up .
The raspberry canes were cut back and generally given a good tidy, weeds have been pulled and the soil is ready for the sun to return (it was frosty this morning!), hopefully next week if we are to rely on the weather forecast.
The Rhubarb required no encouragement, it’s coming up strong, bright and fast and will need making into a crumble sometime soon!
We love our garden at The Crest and hope you do too, it brings us an amazing amount of joy.
We plan on adding some wild flower seeds to the next few ‘Welcome Baskets’ and encourage our guests to sprinkle them around the flower beds and return for a future visit to witness their efforts 🙂
With the grass growing at a phenomenal speed, blossom popping out on the trees and hedges and the hint of sunshine here and there; Summer is finally coming into sight in the South Downs.
If you’re an avid cricket fan and want to get a fix while you’re down South visiting, and fancy a day out with a picnic and good company with something happening in the background, why not take a look at the fixture listing at our local big cricket stadium The Agnes Bowl. This year it is honoured to host part of the Cricket World Cup!
The Hampshire Bowl will host ICC Cricket World Cup fixtures for the first time in 2019, with five matches taking place at the venue.
In the past, the ground has held some fabulous international cricket matches, including one day internationals. In addition there have been Two Twenty20 Internationals, as well as matches from the 2011 and 2014 Test with England playing Sri Lanka and India respectively.
Take a look at what’s on this year, whoever is playing it’s bound to be an exciting day out:
Join The South Downs National Park Authority on Tuesday 11th February at Old Winchester Hill for an evening of stargazing (by kind permission of Natural England). Telescopes and expert astronomers from Hampshire Astronomical Group will be on hand to guide you round the night sky.
Please wear warm clothing suitable for the weather, and sturdy footwear. Bring a small hand torch, and binoculars if you have them. Booking essential.
Old Winchester Hill National Nature Reserve is two miles east of the A32 at the village of Warnford. The meeting point will be in the main car park. Detailed directions will be sent on booking.
Running Friday 7th to 23rd February. Over two weeks of cosmic fun with star parties, talks and family activities taking place across the South Downs National Park celebrating our wonderful dark night skies..
Did you go along to Carfest 2019, wasn’t it epic!? We went along for just the Saturday this year but are sorely tempted to make it a 2 day outing next year.
The annual motor and music festival, has announced their 2020 dates with tickets going on sale Wednesday 20th November at 8am, making this their 9th year. The tickets go on sale for just 24 hours, which adds to the excitement leading up to this “UK’s best family festival of the Summer”.
This popular festival will be running from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th August 2020 and is held in the vast and beautiful setting of Laverstoke Park Farm. The Farm is owned and run by ex-racing driver and Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter and the Festival is the brain child of Chris Evans to benefit Children In Need.
2019 saw the successful introduction of 4 new worlds;
Kids Kingdom – where the kids rule
Eden – where you can look after yourself, others & the planet
Vintage – nostalgia area
Food…..speaks for itself!
Tickets start at £16 child and £67 Adult (under 6 go free) for the 1 day entry and £38/140 for 3 day entry. Overnight camping options are also available – please note that dogs are not permitted unless a registered guide dog. All profits from CarFest, including a guaranteed 25% of the sale of each ticket, will be donated to UK Children’s Charities.
The 2017 music lineup included The Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers, Seasick Steve, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Tom Odell, Busted & Rick Astley. The 2018 dates included Texas, Alfie Bow & Michael Ball, The Feeling, Status Quo & Jools Holland amongst others.
2019 was an epic year; Beverly Knight, The Jacksons, Tony Christie, Judge Jules, Jules Holland, Texas, Tom Odell, The Human League & Kaiser Chiefs.
Here’s a brief video to give you an idea of what the event is all about:
Did I hear you say food? The food element is quite something in itself with high quality stands, cookery demonstrations from the likes of James Martin, Nadiya Hussain and Adul Kochlar, and workshops by Laverstoke Park Farm. Not to be forgotten is the booze, with expert sommelier Olly Smith making an appearance.
Not into great food and music? Well there maybe something for you…..the car element of CARfest weekend. The Hill Climb Track Show, Car Club displays, Vintage Village, and the Sporting Bears Dream Rides should provide you with enough to keep you busy.
But where do I sleep? Located just outside the village of Overton, the festival is roughly 45 minutes away from The Crest; so why not add a little luxury to the festival weekend and come back to a stunning comfortable home after your full day out?
Winchester Cathedral has had an ice skating rink for several years now in the middle of it’s Christmas market around the back of the stunning Winchester Cathedral. The queue to skate is always on the long side but it’s in such a magical setting with all the traditional wooden chalets circling, selling Christmas goodies and mulled wine, it’s well worth the wait. More about Christmas in Winchester can be found here: Winchester Christmas 2017
Now Portsmouth has announced that from Saturday November 18th through to January 2nd that they too will have a 646 sq m rink – large enough for 215 skaters at one time. This is great news for the city and will make visiting Pompey at this time of year even better. Let’s cross our fingers and toes that they also introduce a Christmas market to surround it in the coming years rather than just the Christmas trees mentioned in the below article 🙂
Winchester Christmas Market opens Monday 20 November (opening ceremony is Thurs 23rd at 6:30pm) – Friday 22 December 2017. Open from 10am – 6pm Sunday – Wednesday and 10am – 7.30pm Thursday – Saturday.