Side Street Style: Exploring Basingstoke with Made in Basingstoke Festival

Side Street Style

A family travel and lifestyle blog

27/07/2017

Exploring Basingstoke with Made in Basingstoke Festival


Exploring Basingstoke



We love nothing more than exploring somewhere new, close or far we always have a blast so when Made in Basingstoke got in touch to ask if we would like to come and see all that Basingstoke has to offer during their month long cultural festival we couldn't wait. We didn't know much about Basingstoke, a large market town in Hampshire, so we did a little bit of pre-trip research and were excited to here that Jane Austen was born only 7 miles away and of course is iconic to the area as well as their industrial Victorian past. The Made in Basingstoke festival has a different theme each week - Create, Taste, Discover and Make and each offering an array of activities for both adults and children.


Basingstoke

Basingstoke town


We arrived into Basingstoke around lunchtime and luckily the carpark was 30 second walk from the peaceful Glebe Gardens which is a lovely green oasis right in the heart of the town and it meant the boys could stretch their legs and run around for half after our car trip. Right next to the gardens is the impressive St Michaels Church which makes up some of the older and original buildings in Basingstoke.


Basingstoke town

craft table
Craft table in the Willis Museum 


Basingstoke town is not too big so we decided to walk around for a while to get our bearings. You quickly realise it's split into two, the historical centre and the more modern part meaning you get the best of both worlds. The Top of the Town is the historical heart and is where you will find The Willis Museum, market and the Haymarket Theatre.

This is where we spent most of the afternoon, exploring the Willis Museum which is small but perfectly formed and offers a real insight into the history of Basingstoke as well as some fun exhibits and craft room for kids which my eldest loved. There is also a traditional tea room on the ground floor which I have heard serves up a wonderful afternoon tea. This is also where we found the first of the Sitting With Jane Artist benches, part of the 24 individual designed artist bench trail in honour of Jane Austen.



Sitting with Jane

Jan Austen


After we explored the museum and went hunting for more benches we made our way over to the Premier Inn, located just above the Top of the Town and the perfect location for exploring Basingstoke as everything was an easy walk away. This Premier Inn is one of the newer ones and I have to say it's a great choice especially for those with children as the rooms are spotless and spacious, the staff very friendly and welcoming and you have all the modern conveniences you need with quick check in, temperature control and fast wifi. 


Premier Inn

Pizza Express


Once we checked in and had half an hour to relax we headed out again down to Festival Place for supper at Pizza Express. There is a really nice atmosphere at Festival Place with children running in and out of the fountains, colourful flowers in bloom, playing in mini sand beach, plenty of places to eat, indoors and out and the perfect family friendly spot for an evening out. 


Festival Place Basingstoke

Festival Place Basingstoke


After our busy day we were all pretty hungry and even though I am not a huge pizza lover my kids are and that's the great thing about Pizza Express is they have something for everyone, my mother went for a delicious vegan pizza while I opted for the superfood salad and the kids wolfed down their fresh veg starter and margaritas and we topped it off with some ice-cream before walking but up through the town to the hotel.


Pizza Express

Basingstoke

Pizza Express


After breakfast we made our way to The Malls to check out the Create stands and Art and Craft market as part of the Made in Basingstoke festival and it was really interesting seeing all the different local artists, designers and crafters showcasing their work. They also had a couple of workshops going on as well as opportunities to make and create your own pieces of art. My eldest had a go at the   Mitoso Make and Take Card craft with stamping up products showing him how to punch, die cut and stamp his own homemade card. I also made sure to stop by the Eco Workshop and see part of their Decoupage demonstration. 


Make and Create

Basingstoke


Both of my kids love vintage transport vehicles such as Fire Engines, steam rollers, trains, cars etc so we knew we had to spend a few hours at Milestone Museum of living history which was also having a special Time Travellers exhibition with dinosaurs so we knew straight away this would be a hit. The admission is quite pricey but worth it as we were immediately impressed with the scale of the place. I am going to do a separate post about this attraction as is such a fantastic place for families to spend a couple of hours and is also the perfect all weather options that allows exploration and children to run a little bit of steam off. 


Basingstoke

Basingstoke


Inside the Milestone museum is also the Museum of Penny Arcades which we loved, you get 10 original pennies per pound and can put them into vintage puppet shows, fortune tellers and strange games such as test your strength and grand national. There is also a 1940's sweetshop, a post office and the chance to dress up like a Victoria as well as an outdoor dinosaur maze. Before leaving we made sure to stop into the Memory Lane Cafe with it's original 1950's juke box for a scone and coffee before hitting the road back to Cardiff after a fun and exciting weekend exploring Basingstoke. The Made in Basingstoke festival runs until the 13th of August so if you looking to do something a little different this summer holidays why not check it out.


Memory lane cafe

Milestone Museum







Thanks so much for Made in Basingstoke for inviting us



16 comments:

  1. It looks like you had such an incredible time. I really love the idea of those book benches!

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  2. Awww, they must of been in their element with the vintage transport. Looks like such a great time.

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  3. love those book benches- there's loads in Manchester at the moment as part of a big campaign x

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  4. Looks like u had an incredible time. I've never been to Basingstoke before the museum's look fun.

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  5. Oh I always love your photos so much! I remember going to Basingstoke as a small child but I don't remember too much about it at all. Looks as though you had great fun. Love the pic of the two on that amazing bench! x

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  6. What a lot there is to do in Basingstoke. I love the idea of the benches to celebrate Jane Austin - how pretty they are! We'll have to make an effort to stop in Basingstoke on one of our trips to Hampshire!

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  7. Basingstoke is far more beautiful than I realized and I love that it has colourful benches. Glad you had fun x

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  8. I think I went to Basingstoke as a kid, but I'm not sure... Festival Place sounds like a great area to hangout though! Especially with kids.

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  9. Great pictures! I would like to visit Basingstoke one day. The book benches are awesome!

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  10. Ahh, I used to live in Southampton for five years which is pretty close to Basingstoke but I never spent much time there! It looks like you all had a lovely day! x

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  11. What a brilliant day out! I love your photographs, such a gorgeous family xx

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  12. This looks exactly like one of our little jaunts - Premier Inn and Pizza Express!

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  13. I always think of Basingstoke as commuterville - who knew it was actually this lovely?!

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  14. I can't say I ever thought to check out Basingstoke but it looks worth a look in!

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  15. I used to live fairly close to Basingstoke and wasn't aware of all this! The penny arcades and retro sweet shop sound great fun! Lovely outfits too! #familytraveltips

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  16. Oh, what a wonderful experience. The Made in Basingstoke Festival sounds like great fun. I love the look of the Jane Austen benches and the vintage vehicles. And the food of course! I'll be looking out for the vegan pizza next time we go to pizza express! Thanks for linking up to #familytraveltips.
    Nat.x

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Lovely comments

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