This weekend we were invited to stay in Basingstoke and experience some of the activities they have on offer this Christmas. As my parents don't live too far I've been to Basingstoke a few times. We also enjoyed many a show at the Anvil and Haymarket as well as buying the children's first ever build a bear back in 2008. Wearing our Christmas jumpers we set off, there are plenty of pay and display places to park in Basingstoke as well as multi story at Festival Place.
We started our weekend off with a show “The Night Before Christmas” at The Haymarket. This show was aimed at 2-7 year olds and tells the story of a little mouse who is trying to find Father Christmas to ask if he can celebrate Christmas. It's a lovely tale, full of songs, adventure and laughs, most of those coming from the colourful characters of Dymotron and the Tree Fairy.
The Haymarket is designed for younger audience it's not too large, the children have perfect viewing of the stage and ushers are on hand delivering the teeny tots booster seats. The Night Before Christmas is 50 minutes long making it perfect for the younger audience although Olive wasn't impressed to miss half time ice-cream!
Outside The Haymarket you are greeted by the hustle and bustle of market stalls and shops. We made our way to the top of town where the large Christmas tree is located and treated ourselves to bacon and sausage rolls from a street vender. There's a lovely atmosphere and the tree is located outside The Willis Museum. A beautiful white building housing some of the history of Basingstoke including the oldest wedding cake believed to have been made in 1898was once displayed in the window of a family bakery C H Philpott in Potters Lane Basingstoke. Until 14th January they have an Alice in Wonderland exhibition on too.
We spent the afternoon over at Milestones Living History Museum which is so good I think it deserves its own post. The lovely guys at Premier Inn but us up for the evening. The Basingstoke Town Centre hotel is brand new and within walking distance of the whole town. There's on site parking (which isn't free) but there are plenty of pay and display in that area. Since becoming a family of 5 we have soon realised that many places don't cater for larger families especially budget hotels. Although we had 2 rooms we did have interconnecting, but the children decided to have a boys and a girls room and somehow I ended up sleeping with Olive and Charlie had a double bed to himself whilst Daddy Moo had the pull out!! Cheeky monkeys!
Premier Inn has it's own on site restaurant which doubled in the evenings as a bar. Breakfast is served between 7am-11am an adults breakfast is £8.99 and the children ate free. These guys put on an awesome spread, cooked breakfast, pastries, various juices (the girls particularly enjoyed the mango, pineapple and apple), coffees, cereal and they even made Charlie a bowl of porridge. Perfect fuel to keep us going for the Sunday Parade. Festival Place houses a plethora of stores aswell as Santa's Grotto, including a train ride. Both Saturday and Sunday were really busy so you might want to consider booking your tickets online instead of queueing. We also found this Bauble!
We were lucky enough to watch the Christmas Parade full of insane characters, Father Christmas and my favourite a walking present! After our weekend in Basingstoke we are really feeling the Christmas spirit. For more information about Christmas in Basingstoke check out the website : Christmas in Basingstoke there's a great list of activities and key dates. (I'd love to try the willow weaving!)