Hampshire houses the former capital of England and was home to many famous faces, including author Jane Austen. Winchester is especially popular with coach parties, as are shopping destinations such as Southampton and Portsmouth. Amy Moore details attractions for groups within the scenic side of the South of England
New Attraction Opening at Paultons Park
Paultons Park is a family-friendly theme park located in the New Forest and consists of a roller coaster; log flume, waterpark, adventure golf, 4D cinema, interactive wildlife and much more.
Paultons Park has plans to expand in spring 2016 to include Lost Kingdom, which will transport visitors back 65 million years to prehistoric times.
Lost Kingdom will envisage a Jurassic themed world consisting of two rollercoasters, animatronic dinosaurs, themed family rides and a prehistoric play park (www.paultonspark.co.uk/lost-kingdom).
Paultons Park is also home to Peppa Pig World, with seven fun rides to enjoy, plus an indoor playzone, adventure playgrounds and Muddy Puddles Water Park.
Pre-booked groups of 15 or more receive discounted rates, including entrance to Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World.
For more information visit www.paultonspark.co.uk
Enjoy The Show At Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium
Winchester Science Centre houses the largest stand-alone planetarium cinema in the UK, which is exhibited alongside over 100 hands-on exhibits.
In addition to the vast exhibition space, groups might also like to explore the butterfly conservation area situated behind Winchester Science Centre.
A 20% discount is available for pre-booked parties of 15 or more. Larger groups of 35-plus visiting on weekdays can request a live, presenter-led, planetarium show. Flight Through The Universe is highly recommended. Once they have entered the Planetarium, groups are seated amidst a 360-degree cinema screen – located above the visitors’ head – whereby the enormous domed screen completely surrounds the audience.
Entry to the Planetarium is not included in the standard admission price. For more information visit www.winchestersciencecentre.org. Why not combine a trip to Winchester with a visit to Winchester Cathedral, which is located in the city centre. For more itinerary ideas in the former capital visit www.visitwinchester.co.uk
WestQuay is located in Southampton city centre and boasts over 90 stores spread across three separate shopping levels.
The prominent exterior of WestQuay compliments the surrounding seascape through a combination of Portland Stone, buffed brickwork, metal cladding and flint stonewalls.
Coach drop-off is available at Portland Terrace. The Mayflower Theatre is located nearby. For more information visit www.west-quay.co.uk
Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth
Gunwharf Quays is a vibrant shopping, dining and leisure destination located on the picturesque harbour at Portsmouth.
The entire outlet spans 425,000 square feet, housing 95 stores and 30 bars and restaurants with plenty to keep visiting groups entertained.
Gunwharf Quays is conveniently located a short five minute walk from the Gosport Ferry and Wightlink foot-passenger terminal. A short drive will take you to the Isle of Wight Car Ferry terminal.
There is a coach drop-off and pickup point on-site. For more information visit www.gunwharf-quays.com
Attractions nearby: Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Mary Rose Museum and the Royal Submarine Museum
Festival Place, Basingstoke
Festival Place combines over 160 shops with over 20 restaurants, cafes and bars, a multi-screen cinema, sports centre and Discovery Centre.
Pop into Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which can take bookings online for up to six people for lunch or dinner. Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Festival Place remains open until late throughout the week.
To enquire about groups of more than six, call 01256 354864.
A limited number of coaches can be accommodated at Basingstoke Bus Station –located adjacent to Festival Place – when organised in advance. The Anvil Arts Theatre is located nearby. For more information visit www.festivalplace.co.uk