4 kingdoms adventure park

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4 kingdoms adventure park is a childrens play farm and park between Newbury and Basingstoke. We visited with friends during the Easter holidays and had a good day out but we won’t be rushing back.

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The cost to get in was relatively expensive £30 for a family of 4 but once inside everything was free, this included the type of rides usually seen outside a supermarket and 3 different types of go karts.

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I get the feeling 4 kingdoms aren’t quite sure what they want to be and haven’t put the finishing touches to anything. There were opportunities to handle and feed animals but nowhere displaying times or even a map showing where the animals were. When we did find the animals (who appeared very well looked after) there was nothing telling us what the animals were. Some of the staff weren’t in uniform which made if difficult to know who to direct questions to.
The children loved the gigantic bumpy slide, the indoor soft play and the swing boats.

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The mums loved that there was only one way in or out of the soft play so we couldn’t lose the crazy 2 year old. Unfortunately the go karts weren’t so securely fenced in and we had to rescue him from the track when he decided the he wanted to get to the go karts.
We really wanted to go on the tractor and trailer rides but these and the bouncy castles weren’t operating the day we went. Again it would have been nice to see signs indicating this.
Overall though we had a good day we won’t be back. At nearly 7 my eldest is probably right at the top of the age range to enjoy 4 kingdoms and for our money I would prefer to go to Finkley down near Andover. 4 kingdoms has the potential to be really good but they bed to start paying attention to the little details.

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Have you visited 4 kingdoms? Do you share my opinion ? Let me know on the comments below .

Narrowboating with children = madness?

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I spent most of my teenage holidays on canal boats. Every Easter and October my parents would hire a boat and we would travel the length of the country at 3 miles an hour. I have many memories of working locks in the rain, sunbathing on the roof of the boat, falling in to very cold water and lazing on my bunk with a good book. We didn’t have typical beach holidays and I loved it. Recently my parents achieved a life time’s dream by buying their own 62ft 8 berth narrow boat, one of the reasons for having such a big boat was so that my sister and I could introduce our own children to boating. After 3 weekends I’m starting to feel more confident and less convinced that one of my children will disappear in to a lock never to be seen again. My girls love the time spent with their grandparents on a boat and can’t wait for their next trip.

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If you’re thinking about taking your children on a canal holiday here are my top tips.
1) Have a good adult to child ratio, holidaying with grandparents means we have 2 adults per child. 1 to steer the boat, 1 to work the locks and 2 to supervise the children.

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2) Plan your route carefully, are their museums, playgrounds, swimming pools or geo caches close to the canal or river? Being on a boat all day doesn’t give a small child much exercise so plan some stops where they can let of some steam. One of my parent’s favourite moorings is next to a lake that is perfect for scooting round.
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3) Be prepared for wet weather. Take small toys, games, colouring books, maybe even a portable dvd etc as well as waterproof clothing so if the weather turns British you can still keep the children happy.
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4) Make children part of the crew not just passengers. My 6 year old was very happy helping to open lock gates and steer the boat (with very close supervision) and loved that she was helping. The three year old helped with some locks and carried biscuits to those steering the boat. They both collected fire wood from along the tow path. As they get bigger there will be more and more that they can do.
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5) Think safety, canals and rivers are dangerous places. Teach your child to stay away from the edge, to only get on or off a boat with an adult to supervise, never to put any limb down the side of the boat. If it’s slippy or icey keep your children on board. Think about the boat you are using, a semi traditional narrowboat with an enclosed rear deck is much safer for children than a traditional boat with a tiny rear deck.
Insist that your children wear life jackets and that they fit properly. By children know that they must never leave the cabin without wearing a life jacket. Any hire company should provide you with life jackets with leg straps. If the worst happens and your child falls in you need to know that they will float. A properly fitted life jacket won’t come off if you use the shoulder straps to lift the child. Ignore everything else that I’ve written but not this!!!!!!
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We love boating, there are so many things you can see when you travel at only 3mph. So many memories to be made when you take away technology and slow down. >

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P.s neither of my children have fallen in, yet…>

A playground a day. Hotham park Bognor Regis

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Name of park: Hotham park
Location: London road Bognor Regis
Parking: yes, ranging from free to £6 for 4 hours or more
Toilets: yes
Dogs allowed; yes
Coffee shop: no, but I bet there is an ice cream van in summer
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A few weeks away we (the girls, auntie F and I) had a girls weekend in Bognor. We stayed in a dated caravan, played on the beach, drank milk shakes and got to play at Hotham Park. The park is right in the middle of Bognor Regis and is fabulous. In summer there is a boating lake, which was empty when we visited.

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There are ample places for picnicking, crazy golf, a train, a tower to climb and some great play areas.
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We had great fun. I really liked that the zip wire and several of the ‘bigger kid apparatus” were situated just away from but in sight of the main play area.
The children also really enjoyed balancing along a fallen tree, proving that the best play equipment is provided by nature. >

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Bognor is too far to go purely for a playground but…. If we are ever in Bognor again we will stop and play.>