Space, steam and perfect pastels

Stay home for six acres of secluded shenanigans, including swimming and tennis. Or head out to meet Marwell Zoo’s meerkats and tigers, explore deep space at Winchester Science Centre or ride the steam railway. Grown-ups can explore the perfect pastels of Alresford, taste gin at Winchester Distillery and walk the Wayfarers’ Way.

Tennis player serving. Tennis player serving. Tennis player serving. Tennis player serving.

Country kids

Run wild across the 140 acres of Marwell Zoo, with its meerkats, penguins, snow leopards and amur tigers. Meet animals of the cuddlier variety at Manor Farm and Country Park. Milk the cows, feed the chickens, and hold baby chicks, rabbits and ducklings. Be sure to let the kids have a go, too.

At the Winchester Science Centre, kids can explore deep space in the Planetarium, watch science shows, move a ball with their minds and dive into the human digestive system at the Colon Café. Stay in town for the castle and Great Hall, with a replica of King Arthur’s Round Table, and the cathedral with its bones of Anglo-Saxon kings.

Ride the Mid-Hants Watercress steam railway – follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter and see where he received his ticket for the Hogwarts Express. Meet Peppa Pig at Paulton’s Theme Park. Or super-sleuth your way around town on the Alresford Spy Mission Treasure Trail.

Head down to the south coast to meet creatures of the deep at the Blue Reef Aquarium. Captain a motorised ship at Gunwharf Quays. See some of the greatest ships from modern history at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Or float across the glass Sky Walk at Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower. Don’t look down…

family friendly farm with kids feeding goats.

For the grown ups

Welcome to the UK’s watercress capital. There’s even a local ramble named in tribute. But there’s much more to Alresford than a mustardy salad leaf. The Georgian town is perfection in pastels with its colour-washed houses, riverside walks and host of independent shops.

Outside the town, you can bring your dog for walks right on the doorstep. St Swithun’s Way is a 34-mile walk from Winchester to Farnham, or Wayfarers’ Way takes in the chalk downs at Inkpen to finish at Emsworth Harbour. It’s long, but pick one of six sections for a muddy, marvellous day out.

Like G&T? You’ll love Winchester Distillery. Find out how gin evolved, how it’s distilled and the difference between London Dry Gin and Distilled Gin. Then test your taste buds on a range of the distillery’s gin. Keep the theme going at Itchen Valley Brewery with its range of multi-award-winning real ales made with pure Hampshire water.

Make and decorate your own chocolates at Chocolate Craft. Swing your clubs at picturesque Alresford Golf Club. Pick from pick-me-ups that include Swedish massage, myofascial release, Jikiden Reiki and hot stone at Greenwood Therapies. Then slip out at night to sip cocktails at Winchester’s Incognito.