A Toddler’s Day Trip to Basingstoke

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:

One Man and His Sprog


35 responses to “A Toddler’s Day Trip to Basingstoke

  1. Brilliant! It’s really odd to read someone’s review of a place you live quite close to and have visited loads of times. It’s really interesting to see someone’s point of view – really loved watching your vlog too! I just got my first vlogging camera, so I’m excited to start stuff but I just have no idea where to even begin. Love the post, I have never been to the “discovery centre” sounds interesting, i’ll have to try it out soon. Ray xx lukeosaurusandme.co.uk #binkylinky


    • Thank you, this means so much coming from a local! And thank you for watching my vlog – I have no idea if that is how a vlog is supposed to be, but actually I liked seeing my boy on film, it’s so much more real than photos. So yeah go for it, just start filming! Defo recommend the ‘discovery centre’ (ie library!), your boy will love the children’s area xx


  2. Yeah me too! I love finding random things, although it does depend on what area you are in, sometimes there is nothing. I love getting to shop while he naps, my me-time! xx


    • Haha, yes there’s a few random Wimpys left! I only really started taking him on the trains since last year, and he loves it. I always check online if the stations have lifts, so you don’t have to worry with the pushchair – but yeah, totally recommend it! xx


  3. What is it about little boys and trains!! My son is 2 and a half and loves them too, my dad has a miniature train in his shed and Elliot always makes a beeline for it when we go round there! #mummymondays


  4. Looks like it was a fun day out. I love the shopping centre at Basingstoke although have never really explored the rest of the town. The circus street performers look very entertaining and I love the look of the 50s retro stuff in the YMCA shop too #twinklytuesday


    • I hadn’t been there in years, but yeah I really liked the shopping centre, it’s got a bit of everything. The Old Town bit is really pretty, definitely worth a look xx


  5. Thank you for mentioning my shop- vintage treasures! Great picture too! We are a vintage shop on Church St in Basingstoke


    • Hello Vintage Treasures, you’re welcome 🙂 I loved your window display, so quirky, and the dresses looked so cool from the outside. Unfortunately I couldn’t come in because of the moany toddler, but next time! xx


  6. Its actally not a YMCA charity shop I think its our brand new vintage shop… which im quite looking forward to visiting
    quite nice to have a favourable review of Basingstoke, glad you had a nice day!


    • Hello, it was definitely a YMCA shop, loads of YMCA posters and labels 🙂 Really cool furniture in there, I love looking at vintage things! Thanks for reading my post xx


  7. What a fun day you had! My boy is also train obsessed and also asks every day to go on one! We live very close to the train tracks and you can even hear them if the wind isn’t there to cover the noise! To get across to the country park we live by, we have to cross the tracks so he always sees loads of trains! We couldn’t have picked a better location for him hehe! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday and well done on your first vlog!


    • Haha, sounds like a great location for him. We have done the same thing, our apartment is directly outside the rail station, so my boy is sitting at the window like ALL the time. I don’t know, did we make them train-obsesssed by our choice of location, or would they have been obsessed anyway? Like the chicken or the egg! xx


  8. Looked like a great day out 🙂 some fab photos! LOVE the yellow coat, I want one in my size!

    thankyou for joining in with #mummymonday – love Gemma – host xo


  9. Woww what a brilliant day. Basingstoke isn’t actually that far from us, we must make the trip and have an explore! Thanks very much for linking up to hope to see you again tomorrow, Alice – host x


  10. Thans for linking up to #styleinyourcity I love the discovery centre upstairs and also that big red door is ace! Hope to see you joining in over the next two weeks! x


    • Oh yes it’s lovely space upstairs, I wish we had one in our local town. And I do like a red door! I may have another #styleinyourcity post lined up. Thanks for hosting xx


    • Ahh thank you, I love taking pictures of my boy, even though he’s sick of me sticking a camera in his face! And I do like a red door 🙂 Thanks for hosting xx


  11. Pingback: Me and Mine – April 2015 |·

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