Parents Portal

Child in sun protection outfit and hat on beach - copyright TM Baddeley

Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide - Stay safe in the sun!

Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide - Stay safe in the sun this summer!

Remember skin can burn on overcast days and watch out for those cooling breezes!

We're hoping to bask in a gloriously sunny summer! Whether you are out enjoying Lymington's fabulous Seawater Baths, walking along the coastal path along the Solent, exploring the New Forest, or simply relaxing in the garden, it is worth reminding ourselves to be sensible with the sun. Adults and children alike enjoy spending time outdoors in the sunshine. However, it's a well-known fact that over-exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause sunburn, speed up the ageing process of your skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.

The delicate skin of babies and children is particularly sensitive to UV rays. In fact, research indicates that sunburn in childhood may increase the risk of skin cancer in later life. So take special care to ensure that children are given the protection they deserve when out in the sun.

Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide

Slip - Slop - Slap - Seek - Slide

A good way to get children (and adults!) to remember what to do in the sun is SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SEEK, SLIDE:

SLIP on a t-shirt   

SLOP on some sunscreen

SLAP on a hat

SEEK out some shade

SLIDE on some sunglasses

Top tips for sun safe kids

Slip Slop Slap copyright B on a t-shirt and SLAP on a hat

Covering the skin with cool, loose clothing is one of the safest and least expensive ways of protecting children from the sun. Long sleeve t-shirts and hats which shade the face, neck and ears are best. Clothing made from tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, offers good protection from the sun's rays.

Look out for sunsuits with a high SPF in the fabric - most high street stores now stock these at reasonable prices. Locally, JoJo Maman Bébé in Lymington High Street is a great place to find swimwear for children with sun protection.

SEEK out some shade

Encourage children to play in the shade, particularly between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm when the sun's rays are most intense. Babies should be kept out of the sun: use sunshades on prams and never leave babies unattended outside as they are unable to move with the shade.

Plan walks or other activities to avoid the midday sun. Don't be fooled by cool breezes or cloud cover, as up to 80% of the sun's rays can penetrate through light clouds and mist. Sand, water, concrete and other light surfaces also reflect UV light on the skin, increasing the risk of sunburn.

Beach tents with a high SPF (40 or more) are also a good idea for keeping babies (and sleepy children) out of the sun.

SLOP on sufficient sunscreen...regularly

Applying sun protection creamWhen neither shade nor protective clothing is practical, use a high-factor sunscreen on all exposed skin. However, due to the sensitive nature of their skin, children should ideally use a sunblock with a much higher sun protection factor (SPF) which blocks out as much of the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays as possible. Apply sunscreen frequently and generously (following instructions), particularly after being in the water or after towelling skin dry.

Department of Health advice is for children to always use a sunscreen of SPF40 or above, and adults (unless very fair skinned) at least SPF30. Bear in mind that most damage to your skin is done by the time you are 18. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears, and head if you have thinning or no hair, but a wide-brimmed hat is better.

Most people do not apply enough sunscreen - if sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection it gives is reduced. As a guide, adults should aim to apply around:

  • 2 teaspoons of sunscreen if you're just covering your head, arms and neck
  • 2 tablespoons if you're covering your entire body while wearing a swimming costume

If you're worried you might not be applying enough SPF30, you could use sunscreen with a higher SPF and if you plan to be out in the sun long enough to risk burning, sunscreen needs to be applied twice: 30 minutes before going out and just before going out.

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied liberally and frequently, and according to the manufacturer's instructions. This includes applying it straight after you have been in the water, even if it's "water resistant", and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off. It's also recommended to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, as the sun can dry it off your skin.

Child wearing sunglasses and hat and tshirt eating ice creamRemember, using sunscreen does not guarantee that you will not burn. Do not use sunscreen to prolong the time children spend in the sun!

Sun lotion has a shelf life of about 2-3 years, but only if it hasn't been left in direct sunlight or stored at high temperatures.

SLIDE on some sunnies

Remember to protect your eyes in the sun. A day at the beach without proper eye protection can cause a temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn. Reflected sunlight from snow, sand, concrete and water, and artificial light from sunbeds, is particularly dangerous. Avoid looking directly at the sun, as this can cause permanent eye damage.

Make sure that children wear proper sunglasses with wraparound lenses or wide arms that meet the CE Mark and British Standard Mark 12312-1:2013 E.


For more information, click here to visit the NHS website

Lymington Infant School Park and Stride

Walk to School Week and Park and Stride with Lymington Infant School

Park and Stride for Walk to School Week

Lymington Infant School park and strideWalk to School week (16-22 May this year) is part of the Living Streets campaign - see more here.

Having already established their "Park and Stride" processes, it was a small "step" for Lymington Infant and Junior schools to take part in Walk to Shool week too.

For those who live too far away to walk the whole way to school, the simple principle of parking a little further away and walking makes it possible for everybody to take part in this initiative.

Sustainable and active travel to school

Park and stride for multiple benefits

Last month Lymington Infant and Junior schools held a special launch event for their new Park and Stride scheme.

The schools joined with Hampshire County Council as part of a national campaign to encourage alternatives to car travel on the school run.

Park and Stride is a long term scheme designed to promote walking, cycling or scooting to school in order to reduce congestion and pollution in the local area, making it a better environment in which to live and learn!

Big Bird at Lymington Infant School

(Not to mention the benefits of extra daily exercise in the battle against the growing obesity epidemic!)

Thanks to NFDC for the local free parking! 

Everyone is delighted that the New Forest District Council has supported the schools by enabling families to use the local car parks free of charge during drop off and pick up times.  A special permit is issued for this purpose. Barfields and the Town Hall car park are only 3 or 4 minutes walk away from the school, meaning that parents who live further away can safely park here and still be active as part of their journey to school.

Inspired by ‘My Journey Hampshire’, families and members of the community met bright and early at the Park and Stride car parks and set off accompanied by volunteers to walk the short distance to school. They were met by a larger than life Basil the Bird who posed for photographs and handed out stickers.

STARS award for scooting, cycling or walking

Both the Infant and Junior school have been working hard and have achieved their Bronze Modeshift STARS award which celebrates sustainable and active travel to school such as scooting, cycling or walking; the schools have also been teaching pupils the green cross code and pedestrian safety as well as scooter training.They have a number of events planned for next term. 

The recent ‘Bling my bike/scooter’ was a great success.

Both schools hope that once the scheme is established, they will see a reduction in the number of cars and a reduction in the number of parking issues which they hope will benefit the local community too.

Places still available for September 2022 at Lymington Infant School: visit its wonderful website here!

If you'd like to be kept in the loop about upcoming local events with's Weekly What's On e-newsletter and don't already receive it just click here! 




Little Beaulieu reopens for the summer holidays

Little Beaulieu reopening for the summer holidays

A fabulous adventure playground for children at leading New Forest attraction! 

Little Beaulieu new adventure playground at Beaulieu National Motor MuseumLaunched back in the middle of March just before the National lockdown, Beaulieu’s new adventure play area, Little Beaulieu, is getting ready to welcome younger visitors again when it reopens from Monday 27th July.

This £0.5m new feature at the Beaulieu visitor attraction was closed on 21st March just one week after its official opening and therefore hasn’t yet had the pleasure of being used by the younger visitors for whom it has been designed.

The large wooden structures and rustic play equipment allow children to let their imagination run wild as they explore Little Beaulieu’s secret passageways and hidden tunnels, its turrets and lookout tower. They can peek out from behind portraits and crawl through a trick bookcase to discover every nook and cranny, from his Lordship’s library to the tree-top boardwalk – then keep their eyes peeled for a bird’s-eye view as the ‘Skytrain’ monorail rumbles past.

Little Beaulieu new adventure playground at Beaulieu National Motor MuseumSpecial safety and cleaning measures in place

The Beaulieu team has put in place special safety and cleaning measures to ensure the play area can be enjoyed safely by visitors as part of its Covid-19 visitor safety promise. Capacity will be managed with a recommended maximum playtime during busier periods to avoid any disappointment.

The Little Beaulieu kiosk will also be open, and families will be able to enjoy light refreshments in the covered seating area whilst their children play.

Limited special offer tickets for afternoon admissions

Lord Montagu with childhood pedal vintage London bus To coincide with the reopening of Little Beaulieu, a limited special offer ticket has been introduced on admissions at 3pm and 4pm. The discounted ticket will provide entry to all aspects of the attraction until it closes at 6pm. Perfect for families wanting an afternoon playdate, a picnic in the parkland or those wanting a shorter visit to a specific area of the attraction.

New exhibition: motoring in miniature - the toys of your childhood

Motoring in Miniature Model Car Roadway at Beaulieu National Motor MuseumA brand new exhibition in the National Motor Museum, Motoring in Miniature – the Toys of Your Childhood, is another a great reason to visit this summer holiday. A colourful collection showcasing more than 800 toy cars and pedal cars as well as books and games celebrates the miniature motoring memories and much-loved playthings of the past. The exhibition features Lord Montagu’s own childhood pedal car, modelled on a vintage London bus, as well as his collection of pristine Matchbox vehicles displayed in Palace House.

A visit to Beaulieu is a really brilliant day out for the whole family to enjoy together. Your tickets include the National Motor Museum, On Screen Cars, the World of Top Gear, the ancestral Montagu home Palace House, Little Beaulieu, the Secret Army Exhibition, Beaulieu Abbey, as well as the grounds and gardens. There really is something for everyone to enjoy!

Find out more about Beaulieu here.

Pre-book tickets online at



Covid-19: home schooling across the New Forest

Covid-19: Home schooling across the New Forest

Useful resources and advice for parents from the British Psychological Society

boy studying with globe, books and crayonsSchool's out! Except it's not. Schools in the UK are now closed for an undefined period of time for all but the children of key workers, leaving parents to follow school guidelines and home educate their children - whilst at the same time having to work from home too.

A recipe for disaster? Or precious family time together? Locally we're fortunate to live with the New Forest National Park and the Solent shore within easy reach - do make time to get outside to get fresh air and exercise daily if possible.

We've gathered here some useful information that could help...

Useful to know - resources available for home schooling

  • are offering free streaming of stories for children and teens for as long as schools are closed, including titles across six different languages, that will help children continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Explore the collection, select a title and start listening.

Local resources

  • Local resident, Daniella Othman, has made a colouring sheet of Lymington to keep children (and adults!) occupied. Click on the link below to download it, it's free and can be sized up to A4 size without losing resolution.

 If you are aware of any other local resources, please get in touch to let us know on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Advice from the British Psychological Society

The British Psychological Society have also asked schools to share some advice with you that is as follows:

  • Don’t try to replicate a full school timetable – It won’t be possible to replicate a full school timetable for a variety of reasons. Giving yourself and your children permission to accept this can be a big weight lifted.
  • Expect stress – This is an uncertain and unpredictable situation, stress and anxiety are normal.
  • Reassure children – Children can sometimes believe they are responsible for things that are clearly beyond their control. Reassure children that it is the adult’s job to make sure things are OK and to keep them safe.
  • Help children stay connected to their friends – Friendships are a key resiliency factor for children and young people. Most children see their friends nearly every day of the week and so not being in contact with them for some time might be upsetting. Is it possible for children to talk to their friends on the phone? Perhaps establish a group Skype or WhatsApp call? Perhaps they could write letters to each other.
  • Normalise the experience – Normalising the experience is likely to reduce anxiety for many children. Reassure children that lots of adults and other children are in the same situation.
  • teenage girl reading a bookHave a routine and structure – Having a plan and a predictable routine for the day can be very reassuring. As adults we like to know what is going to happen, and children like this too. A consistent routine lets everyone be secure about the plans for the day. It is often useful to involve children in creating this routine, so that they feel part of the plan, rather than the plan being imposed on them. You could display the routine using a timeline, or maybe pictures and visuals. Encourage children to develop independence by referring to their own routine/plan themselves.
  • Don’t worry if the routine isn’t perfect – Remember, this isn’t a normal situation. If you find that planning and sticking to the routine is causing more stress, friction or conflict, then it’s OK to be more ‘free-flow’. Perhaps be guided by the activities that children want to do.
  • Avoid putting too much pressure on academic work – Most parents and carers aren’t teachers and so it’s OK not to be doing ‘school work’ for six hours a day. It might be more important to be spending time together, building relationships, enjoying shared activities and reassuring children, as opposed to replicating the school timetable.
  • Try to keep work in one place – If children are doing school work or project work at home, try to keep it all in one place so that it doesn’t spread out over the house. This can help to maintain a work/home boundary. We know that people live in different circumstances that might mean this isn’t always possible, so perhaps there might be other ways to ‘signal’ the end of working e.g. putting away the work and then enjoying a favourite song or shared dance!
  • Reduce access to rolling news – It is important to keep up to date with new developments and announcements, but it can be hard to switch off from the constant stream of news from media outlets and social media. Reduce the time spent hearing, reading or watching news – at the moment it might be overwhelming for adults and children. Try to protect children from distressing media coverage.
  • Supervise children with screens – It is likely that children and young people will be using screens more often over the coming weeks e.g. phones, tablets, gaming consoles and the internet. If this is the case make sure they are supervised. Ensure appropriate content filters are active – the UK Safer Internet Centre offers guidance on setting up parental control. Try to ensure all children have a balanced range of activities each day. Involve children and young people in these discussions so that they feel part of the plan.
  • Provide reassurance about exams being cancelled – Young people may now be concerned about the announcement that exams later this year will not be going ahead as planned. They may feel like all their hard work has been for nothing. Reassure young people that the Prime Minister has said that all children and young people will get the qualification they worked towards, but acknowledge that the plan is a bit uncertain right now. Reassure young people that the government and Department for Education are working on a plan.
  • Play – Play is fundamental to children’s wellbeing and development – children of all ages! It’s also a great way to reduce stress in adults.

Additional websites for information

A self help guide:

The mix - a help line for children who can text to talk to people:

Childline has a whole section on calmness and mental health:

Need some help with home learning?:

Autism Wessex – for students who have a diagnosis of ASD:

Stay in the loop by subscribing free of charge for our weekly email, 'Weekly What's On' - out every Friday. 


Find other useful information during the coronavirus crisis here - including community help groups. This includes a printable postcard that you can drop round to neighbours (do knock on their door and say hello too) - remember some of your neighbours may not have access to the internet or social media.

Find details of New Forest businesses carrying out local deliveries here.


Many thanks to Bournemouth School for the information from the British Psychological Society and additional websites for information.


Ballard pupils win gold at regional and national ISA championships

Ballard pupils win gold at regional and national ISA championships

Sporting success in athletics for New Milton's leading independent school for 2-16 year olds

Ballard ISA Athletics Winners L R Theo Shaw Jemima Chetwood Ella AdamsTwo Ballard School pupils have won gold at the Independent School Association’s (ISA) National Athletics Championships following record-breaking success at the ISA London West Athletics Championship.

Ballard School’s top sportsmen and women achieved great success at the ISA London West Athletics on Wednesday, 5th June, winning 23 medals, 4 championship regional records and upholding their gold position in the U17 Girls’ Relay for a 4th consecutive year. This run of achievements saw three pupils go on to compete in the National Championships, held at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham on Wednesday, 19 June 2019.

At ISA London West Athletics, Lana Blake single-handedly beat two championship regional records in Long Jump with a distance of 5.38m and in the 200m with a time of 25.57s. Theo Shaw and Ella Adams also saw their 1st place wins smash records; Theo with a distance of 38.22m in the Javelin and Ella with an impressive time of 12.81s in the 100m.

Their wins qualified them for the National Championships where Theo Shaw secured gold in Javelin and Ella Adams achieved gold in both the 100m and 4x100m relay. Ballard’s Jemima Chetwood also competed in the National Championships and accomplished an impressive silver medal in the 600m whilst competing against pupils a year older.

Lana Blake took the decision not to compete as she is currently focusing on competing in the English School Nationals, where she is hoping to break more records.

2019.3.20 Senior Y10 Y11 boys hockey Ballard back hero Sport 19 600x400Andrew McCleave, Headmaster at Ballard School, said: “I am very proud of all our pupils who participated in the ISA London West Athletics and National Athletics; their achievements were outstanding across the board.”

Finlay Wood, PE teacher at Ballard School, said: “The pupils worked so hard in the run-up to these competitions and really deserve their fantastic achievements. A special well done to them all.”

Ballard School - superb for sport!

An award-winning, independent, co-educational day school for children aged 2-16, Ballard School sits within 32-acres of woodland and playing fields on the Hampshire and Dorset border, between the New Forest and Solent. 

Ballard School has outstanding sports facilities, including an Olympic Astro and provides a healthy, positive and inclusive sports provision. The school has six full-time specialist PE staff for individual sports tuition, who teach all pupils from Nursery upwards.

2017.10.6 Sport UP Gymnast front of house 5 600x400As well as winning a wide range of team competitions, the school also supports pupils in their success out of school across a wide range of sports and has strong links with local sports clubs, providing further opportunity and encouragement for those pupils who wish to develop into county, national and, potentially, international players.

Ballard’s approach is that sport and its benefits are for life and for all abilities, summarising sporting values with the acronym TREDS – teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.

Summer Camps at Ballard School  

The Ballard School Summer Camp programme runs throughout the school holidays and includes Sport, Gym, Dance, Creative Arts, Stay and Play, Cycle Proficiency, Mad Science, Animation & Programming, Play & Drama and Swimming for children in YR - Y9. Find out more here.

Find out more about Ballard School here.


Holiday childcare in Lymington and the New Forest

Looking for childcare in Lymington and the New Forest?

School holidays are great - except when you have to work!

Updated July 2021

girl and boy at childcareFinding things for the children to do whilst you are working can be a real chore. In a bid to try and make things slightly easier for you, here is a summary of holiday children that is usually on offer in and around Lymington.

Start planning your school holidays now - you will generally find that activity days get booked up well in advance.

Do get in touch with us if you know of any other holiday childcare clubs that could help local parents juggle school holidays. 


Full day childcare

Stay and Play at Lymington Junior School are open during the school holidays. Please contact Danielle on 07867 534398 or Karen on 07885 821234 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and to make a booking. See also

Milford School Holiday Club is open school holidays, from 8.30am to 3pm. Whole days or afternoons possible. Contact 01590 644684 for further information about the club. See also

Activity days for children

Snowman chalk drawingBallard School usually run holiday camps with sports, arts and STEM activities during the school holidays - see our Events Calendar for more information!

Calshot Activities Centre has a range of Action Adventure Days for most school holidays - choose from skiing, snowboarding, track cycling, canoeing, archery, climbing, skiing and windsurfing - and much more! 

The Tile Barn Centre in Brockenhurst has action adventure days during most school holidays.

Hengistbury Outdoor Centre has a range of multi-activity days and watersports courses available during most school holidays.

Avon Tyrrell has fun days and half-days for children aged 5+ during most school holidays. 


If you are running school holiday childcare and/or activity days that could help parents juggle work and holidays and would like to be featured in this article, please get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Cook up a delicious children's party at The Kitchen

Cook up a delicious children's party at The Kitchen

Fun birthday parties for kids with minimal stress for parents at The Kitchen Cookery School

The Kitchen Cookery School at Chewton Glen childrens party packagePlanning a birthday party for children can be a highly stressful affair! The pressure is on to organise something 'different' with plenty of fun for the children and minimal stress for the parents – is there such a thing? Indeed there is…

A children's party at The Kitchen Cookery School will provide your little chefs with an afternoon of culinary greatness, laughter and a fantastic feast. The party will learn to cook some simple dishes to suit their age followed by pizza with a glass of squash where no doubt they will discuss their new found recipes, tips and triumphs from the class. Each guest will then take home with them a Cookery School apron and some baked treats.

The Children’s Party Package includes a cookery class between 3pm-5pm, followed by pizza and a drink at 5pm on the Chef’s Table, plus a complimentary apron and baked treats to take home*.

The Kitchen Cookery School at Chewton Glen childrens party packageThe Kitchen Cookery School

The Kitchen Cookery School is a purpose-built space for enjoying and learning about food and cooking, set in the grounds of the Chewton Glen near New Milton, Hampshire. The UK's newest cookery school and already considered one of the best in the South of England, The Kitchen is led by award-winning TV chef, James Martin. The design is open plan with glass doors and panelling flooding the rooms with light. Surrounding the building are raised beds and a greenhouse where herbs and vegetables are grown year-round to supply The Kitchen - a true feast for the senses. 

As well as children's parties, The Kitchen also runs regular cookery classes for children and teens - as well as a wide range of classes for grown ups, including seasonal courses, full day and half day courses and the opportunity to cook with James Martin and a roster of the UK’s top celebrity chefs.

Chewton Glen The Kitchen Cookery SchoolParties for grown ups too!

Luckily for those of us excited about cuisine and hankering to be 'star baker', parties and events are available at The Kitchen for grown ups too! Choose an 'Ultimate Dinner Party' with cookery demonstration for 8-12 people, or a half or whole day class for up to 24 people where the team will adjust the menu to suit your timings, requirements and number of guests. You can also enjoy a lively Champagne cocktail and canapés reception with 1 hour evening demonstration. Perfect for corporates and business team-building, events at The Kitchen are also a fabulously alternative celebration for families and friends!

View the full range of Cookery Courses at The Kitchen

Find out more about the Chewton Glen

Book your Children's Party Package, Cookery Course or Event at The Kitchen by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Children's Party Package: £50 per child. Please note this package is not available to children under 6. Minimum number of attendees is 8 children and maximum of 12 children per party. Pre-booking is essential. The addition of a delicious Victoria sponge birthday cake is also available at an extra cost to mark the occasion.






Dance and drama classes for 2-4 year olds in Lymington

Dance and drama classes for 2-4 year olds in Lymington

New Forest Academy of Dance 'tots' classes will enhance coordination and confidence!

If you are looking for an exciting new activity for your pre-schooler then look no further! New Forest Academy of Dance offer classes in ballet and music and drama for 2-4 year olds in Lymington and Pennington.

New Forest Academy of DanceThe nursery ballet classes provide an exciting introduction to the world of ballet, working on key skills, co-ordination, balance and performance.

baby ballerina pointeIn this class students will explore dance through stories, music and use of props. Ballet can help your child to grow in confidence, improve their level of focus, develop strong bodies and nurture a love of music and culture. It also gives the opportunity to make new friends and to be inspired by older ballet dancers.

Drama and music classes also help your pre-school child to build social skills and confidence. The class consists of singing and drama related play that helps develop team work and imagination.

G1 3 boy Photo by Elliott Franks courtesy of RAD New Forest Academy of DanceDrama is so good for young children: it teaches them not only how to speak clearly, loudly and with confidence, but many other communication skills as well, such as maintaining eye contact when talking. 

"Our nursery and tots classes provide young children with valuable skills for life," shared Kayleigh Sargeant, Principal of New Forest Academy of Dance. "Our aim is to help girls and boys to build their social skills in a variety of ways, both individually and as teams. As a result they grow in confidence and are well prepared for starting school."

For boys as well as girls, classes are available throughout the week in term time as follows: 

Nursery Ballet

Mondays 3.30 - 4pm at Lymington Community Centre

Wednesdays 3.30 - 4pm at Lymington Community Centre

Saturdays 9 - 9.30am at Lymington Community Centre 

For children aged 2 years to starting school age.

Drama Tots at New Forest Academy of Dance

Tots Music and Drama

Tuesdays 3.30 - 4.15pm at Lymington Community Centre

For children aged 2.5 years to starting school age.

Three week pay as you go!

New Forest Academy of Dance offers a three week pay as you go trial scheme so you can ensure the class works for your little star before signing up. 


Too old for tots classes? New Forest Academy of Dance provide classes in ballet, modern theatre and tap for children of all ages, with syllabus and examinations with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and LAMDA.

New Forest Academy of Dance also provide classes for adults in ballet and tap.


Find out more about New Forest Academy of Dance, including contact details...

Tots classes at New Forest Academy of Dance


Lymington's Playgrounds: by the Experts!

Lymington's playgrounds - by the Experts

There are some great play spaces in Lymington and surrounding villages.

Lymington playgrounds by the experts!Although we have the wonders of the New Forest on our doorstep, there are times when only the magic of a playground will do. Here is a guide to some of Lymington's playgrounds - by three intrepid 'experts.'

"We think Lymington has some awesome playgrounds! This guide might be useful if you're new to the town, or want to find some new places to play with your friends."


Woodside Gardens provides a great outdoor space in which children can play. As well as the fenced play area, there is a lot of space for running around - and in particular playing hide and seek in the rhododendron bushes! There is a short walk around the section of the gardens immediately near the playground with paths ideal for scooting (although do mind any pedestrians!). These paths take you past the Fairy Village (see if you can spot the little doors in the trees).

Woodside is an easy walk from Lymington. There’s a small carpark (free) off Rookes Lane which is closest to the play area (SO41 8FP), alternatively a larger carpark (free) on the other side of Woodside, off Ridgeway Lane. There are public WCs near the Rookes Lane carpark.

Dogs are permitted in Woodside on and off the lead, plenty of poo bins. The play area, tennis courts and skate park are fenced to keep dogs out.

Woodside Gardens play area Lymington“This is really fun because there’s lots of stuff to do in all the gardens.”

“We love running around in the trees and its easy to scoot about so that’s cool.”

“The skate park is so awesome.”

For younger children:

  • Swing
  • Climbing
  • Rockers

For older children:

  • Roundabout (fast!)
  • Swings
  • Slide
  • Climbing

Older children will also enjoy the skate park and the tennis courts. Woodside is also the home to Lymington Mariners Rugby Club, Lymington Croquet Club and other sports. The sports pavilion has recently been refurbished and sells refreshments when open. Picnics possible in the gardens.

Bath Road

Bath Road offers a fabulous outlook across Lymington River, with plenty of boating eye candy! Set to the side of the Bath Road green, which also houses the town bandstand and a small lake. There are paths ideal for scooting (take care near the lake - we’ve seen a few children take a dive in our time…) and the start of a lovely walk past the yacht club and sea water baths. A short, pleasant walk away is the kiosk at the Sea Water Baths, selling ice creams, hot drinks and other refreshments.

Bath Road is an easy walk from Lymington (SO41 3SE). There’s a public carpark (pay and display or long stay clock) by the Sea Water Baths and yacht clubs which is closest to the play area, alternatively a some road parking along Bath Road. There are public WCs in the Bath Road carpark by the slipway. Picnics possible, several benches along the river front.

Dogs are not permitted in the play area, but are allowed on the green, where there are poo bins. Check our Events Calendar to find summer music and arts events around the Bandstand on the green.

Bath Road play area Lymington“We love this play area and also like scooting on the paths outside.”

"This is a cool playground. When my brother was younger, he used love watching the ferry coming in and out from the top of the climbing frame."

For younger children:

  • Swings
  • Climbing
  • Slide

For older children:

  • Climbing wall
  • Swings
  • Slide
  • Roundabout tower
  • Swinging dish
  • Spinners

Lymington Meadows

Situated in a residential area, off Lower Buckland Road (SO41 9DH), this recently refurbished play area is a hidden gem for children in Lymington. Fenced with a gate, dogs are not permitted inside, however some space around the edge to exercise dogs (with poo bins). There are several benches inside play area.

There is tricky parking and no public WC. However, it is a short stroll from Lymington and nearby opposite the end of Lower Buckland Road is the popular Monkey House pub.

Lower Buckland play area Lymington“Really good because its new.”

“Great for older and younger children.”

For younger children:

  • Swings
  • Rocker
  • Slide

For older children:

  • Zip wire
  • Basketball hoop
  • Climbing
  • Swings
  • Balance beam
  • Trampoline

Barfields/Emsworth Road (by St Thomas Churchyard)

The closest play area to the centre of Lymington and sometimes rather busy (such as after school in the summer term), this play area offers fun for children of all ages and is particularly well equipped for younger children. It’s ideal, in fact, for families with younger and older children, as there is something for everyone in the same area. It also benefits from shady trees; a blessing in the warmer months!

Park nearby in the Barfields or Emsworth Road (SO41 9AW) town carparks (pay and display or town carpark clock), the nearest public WC is a short walk away in New Street. No refreshments in the immediate vicinity (but again, an easy walk from the High Street and all it has to offer!)

Dogs are not permitted in the play area. The grassed area next to the play area houses the Lymington Petanque (boules) area.

Barfields playground in Lymington“A great playground for a quick play, but sometimes busy.”

For younger children:

  • Swings
  • Rockers
  • Slides
  • See-sawClimbing
  • Spinners
  • Road markings

For older children:

  • High slide
  • Dish
  • Swings
  • Climbing
  • Roundabout

Pennington Common

The play area at Pennington Common was updated last year by the Town Council and now provides a great selection of play equipment. Our experts recommended it highly, mainly because there’s so much space to run around. Dogs are not permitted in the play area, however there’s plenty of space for them to be exercised beforehand on the common, which has several poo bins.

No WC or refreshments (although a short stroll to One Stop and Tesco), parking is possible to the sides of the common off Ramley Road and Wainsford Road (SO41 8HF). There's plenty of potential for a bit of off-road cycling.

“We love this play area and all the space around for running and cycling.”


At the other end of Wainsford Road, Everton's recreation ground is another hidden gem. On road parking is possible in Greenmead Avenue. There is no public WC and no nearby refreshments - bring your own picnic!

Dogs are permitted on the recreation ground and there are poo bins. There is a fitness section alongside the older children’s area and although technically for adults, the children are drawn to it!

Everton Rec play area“Its a bit different - we love the zipwire!”

“Separate areas could make it difficult for parents with lots of different aged kids.”

For younger children in an enclosed area:

  • Swings/baby swings
  • Rockers
  • Dish
  • Climbing
  • Slides
  • Seated roundabout

The fenced area is dog-free and has seating.

For older children, a short walk from the enclosed play area and alongside the football pitch

  • Zipwire
  • Climbing


The experts have decided to visit more local playgrounds this summer. Check back for more details soon!


October 2016 - Pennington updated 2018














Things to consider before buying a bunny

things to consider before buying a bunny

We are a nation of animal lovers, though sometimes I do wonder

Rabbit with floppy ears on the grass

The three most popular pets in the UK are dogs first, then cats and bunnies third. Sadly, there are hundreds of rescue centres across the country that take in abandoned unwanted pets and the MOST neglected pet is the rabbit.

Rabbits are often bought on a whim with the new owners unaware of their new pet's needs. Some people think they can chuck them in a hutch and throw them the odd carrot. Other people get them for their young children because they look cute and within a few weeks they get bored with the rabbit because "it doesn't do anthing" so it gets left alone in a small hutch and ignored.

There are nearly 70,000 rabbits in rescue centres looking for the right home because they were bought by the wrong home.

It is also the fault of breeders. We've all heard the expression "breeding like rabbits". In the wild the reason for this is survival. Wild rabbits will have many litters, often giving birth to 10 kits at a time. Out of those 10, maybe one will live to adulthood. This is mainly because they are prey animals so are eaten by a multitude of other animals.

Domestic rabbits do the same. Unless they are neutered, they will have many litters with just as many kits but they are not in the wild so they won't be eaten! This is where breeders add to the problem as their breeding rabbits continue to have babies and the cycle continues. There are also lots of back street breeders who add to this. In fact, we do not need breeders. There are enough bunnies out there that need homes without adding thousands more.

why do rabbits have different needs to cats and dogs?

Rabbit with long ears on green grassDogs were predators thousands of years ago when they were wolves. They are now completely domesticated and tap into their owner's needs. They have evolved to do this over thousands of years and they are now firmly ensconced in our homes. They are easily trained and their main goal in life is to be part of the family and love us!

Cats are also predators but can be independent from us. They love their creature comforts but everything is on their terms!

Bunnies are prey animals so their needs are very complex in a domestic environment. They are nervous by nature and have an instinct to flee. They are not curious as curiosity can be fatal. They need to have somewhere safe to run to when feeling threatened. They don't like to be picked up because instinctively if they are being picked up they are going to be eaten. They will not interact with you immediately like a puppy or kitten. They need a lot of time to feel safe in their new home and it takes a while to socialise them. I spent hours, days and weeks sitting on the floor waiting for my bunny to come up to me and trust me.

In the Second World War, rabbits were bred for food and kept in tiny hutches and fed up so they would provide a good meal. The practice of keeping them in small hutches sadly continues today. In the wild, a rabbit will run the equivalent of 4 football pitches every day so being cooped up in a hutch for all its' life is a very cruel thing to do. Rabbits also live in large groups in warrens so keeping a bunny on its' own in a small hutch is, as you see doubly cruel. Rabbits can live up to 12 years old quite easily, if not, longer.

Rabbits need space to exercise

I got my bunny, Oscar from the Dorset County Show. I bought him on a whim, l had no idea about his needs, feeding regime, etc. When I got him home I really didn't have a clue. A friend lent me their dog crate so in he went. After an hour or so I let him out to run around and I could see he was amazed that he was "free". So from then on he was never kept in a cage. Oscar is now nearly six years old.

european rabbits playing on the lawnI've learnt so much about rabbits from books, the internet and the bunny forums that I joined. But mainly from Oscar himself. Being an indoor, free roaming house bunny I have studied him at great length. He is a funny, affectionate, clever and loving little chap. He loves attention and grooms me. He has to be part of everything so follows me around the house - probably in the hope of getting a treat!

I did struggle with the fact that he was a single bunny so last year I adopted Yasmin. After 5 years of being a solo bunny I didn't know if he would accept another bunny. Being very territorial creatures, in general you can't just put two rabbits together and let them get on with it. They have to go through a "bonding" process. Some bunnies (which is more rare) will bond straight away. Others, it can take months! I knew I couldn't do it so they went away for 2 weeks to be bonded as it has to be done on neutral territory. They came home good friends and are now inseparable.

Yasmin is a totally different character to Oscar. She's definitely the dominant one as most of the females are in their world. She's very sweet but also very mischievous. She will sit by me to be stroked for hours. She also hates to be picked up but sometimes you have to to check them over.

She was just over one years' old when I got her last year. Her previous owner kept her in a small hutch outside without a run and she was on her own. When they came home from bonding, I noticed she walked, rather than hopped as most bunnies do. She had no strength in her back legs and she couldn't stand up (like a meerkat does). This was due to her having no exercise. She had muscle wastage in her back legs as she was unaccustomed to moving around. This is the result of being kept in a small hutch.

There is a minimum requirement for rabbit hutches which is 2ft wide by 2 ft high by 6 ft long. This is the absolute minimum and should have a large run attached to it. Personally I think this is too small but it is a better size than some out there on the market.

Yasmin now runs around the house like a bunny possessed when she has her mad 5 minutes or when chasing Oscar. It has taken nearly a year to have her legs back to full strength and only three weeks ago, she actually managed to jump up onto the sofa. So we can see how debilitating it is to keep rabbits, or any animal in a small confined space.

What Rabbits should eat

rabbit looking around with flower in mouth on the grassRabbits' diets should consist mainly of hay which must be available at all times, a small amount of fresh food and an egg cup of nuggets and fresh water.

Hay is vital to prevent serious gut problems and also wears down their teeth as they grow continuously. So my two get breakfast and dinner of a small amount of greens, one slice of carrot, half a baby corn and a small amount of cabbage. They sometimes have kale too, and a small egg cup of nuggets and there is always copious amounts of hay for them. Their digestive systems are very delicate and can easily get blocked which can lead to gut statis which can be extremely dangerous and even fatal.

Pet shops sell a lot of treats with grain and or seeds in it. This is very bad for rabbits' digestion and should be avoided. Shops often sell inappropriate foods for animals so research is the key.

They can have other vegetables but anything new needs to be introduced slowly. They generally have a sweet tooth too so a small amount of fruit, like apple, pear, strawberries and my two love bananas. They only get this very occasionally as it gives them runny poos - rabbit owners are obsessed with their droppings as this shows how healthy they are!

Some people take their rabbits out on a harness. It is not recommended to do this as if they get spooked, they will want to run and if the harness pulls heavily it could break their backs. I would also never recommend leaving a rabbit tied to a post or wall outside as they are a sitting duck for any animal to attack.

Considerations when getting a rabbit

There is a lot of advice out there if you are thinking of getting a rabbit. I'd like to list some pointers though myself.

  • dark rabbit under a tree in AutumnA rabbit can live up to 12 years old just like cats and dogs so a very long commitment
  • Rabbits are best kept as a bonded neutered pair
  • Male and female rabbits should be neutered. It helps calm them down as when their hormones kick in they can become aggressive. Also females are prone to uterine cancer if they are not neutered as well as other health issues
  • Rabbits need to be cleaned out every day if they live in a hutch as they pee and poo a lot. If they are house rabbits, their litter trays also need cleaning every day.
  • Outdoor rabbits need a secure house - a shed is a great space plus a large run for exercise attached
  • Rabbits like to chew and dig so if they are house rabbits you need to bunny proof your home
  • Rabbits get bored so they need stimulation too. Toys and interaction with others is important 
  • Rabbits are not any "easy option pet" to get. They are actually harder work than dogs or cats
  • It is best to adopt from a rescue rather than get one from a shop, there are so many that need forever homes
  • Rabbits need yearly vaccinations and vet visits
  • The cost of owning two rabbits easily gets up to £100 per month
  • Rabbits are not just for Easter, they are for life

A bunny is not just for Easter - do your research

If you are thinking of getting a rabbit as a pet, please get two and do some research. organisations are there to help and advise. There are forums on facebook too.

Having my bunnies has been an absolute joy. They are difficult creatures to initially understand but once they settle with you your heart will always belong to bunnies! I only wish for them to have a good, healthy and safe life. Sadly there are loads out there who don't. They are called "the silent sufferers". They don't have a voice like a dog (barking) or a cat (meowing).

A lot of that is down to lack of education and if I have given just one person some information about the right way for rabbits then that's great.

Many thanks to Vanessa White for this article.

March 2017



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