Every morning my boy says ‘Let’s go train!’ – he is crazily obsessed with trains, he watches them out of the window, on YouTube, and has so many train track toys – so I decided to take him on a real train adventure and chose the destination Basingstoke.
Why Basingstoke? I know it’s not the more glam of locations, but the journey’s about 1 hour and has a change at Reading, so we can do more train-spotting from there. They have a shopping centre – that’s all I need – and I like saying we’ve been to Hampshire for the day!
First thing you see as you come out of the station is ‘The Malls‘ – great! My first stop was the giant Primark, on 2 floors, with everything displayed very nicely and a large Home department. I like this Primark! Outside there were these ‘circus’ men spinning plates which the boy enjoyed watching.
We stopped off for lunch at the Wimpy which was tucked in a quiet corner, so not too busy. I always like going into Wimpy’s, you feel like you’ve gone back in time with their real retro chairs and all the old folk. We shared a Junior Cheeseburger meal, as the boy only really wants chips.
After that we visited ‘The Discovery Centre‘ – sounds fancy doesn’t it? It’s actually Basingstoke Library which is upstairs on top of the shopping centre, so it’s a huge space, with a little shop selling quirky things and the world’s quiet-est cafe – shhhhh. It is a really lovely library – floor to ceiling windows, loads of light – still I wouldn’t have called it the discovery centre. Here’s us in the Children’s section, I liked the ladder print on the wall.
Next we wandered around Old Town, which the boy thoroughly enjoyed. It’s pedestrianised, so he was running up and down while I was admiring the character buildings, it’s all very quaint and pretty. The old Woolworths used to be on London Street, which I wrote about here. This red door on a church caught my eye, the plaque above it says it’s from the 1830s.
There’s plenty of good charity shops with lots of vintage goods, the large YMCA shop selling actual 1950s furniture – very kitsch. This window display of teacups at Vintage Treasures is cute (spot my reflection merged with the mannequin in the window!)
There’s a museum that you can’t miss right in the middle so we had a quick peek inside.
It turns out they were displaying a vintage coat exhibition. My boy found it terribly boring so this was a very quick peek!
The boy fell asleep after this (he must have really been bored!), so I took the chance to go shopping, and then we got on the train home when he woke. This is my bargain of the day from the RSPCA shop – an unused M&S photoframe for £1! Going to upcycle it to a more modern design methinks.
I took this day trip as an opportunity to make my first vlog (seems to be the thing to do right?!) – so here it is: