Is this the perfect base for a Hampshire family holiday?
Finding family friendly accommodation in Winchester is a challenge. In the depths of winter, James West of Winchester Bloggers discovered a hidden gem which is perfect for weekend stays and family breaks in Hampshire. Welcome to South Winchester Lodges.
6th January 2018. This date will be forever etched in our memories as the day we left our water-damaged house to the insurers and builders and moved into a lodge on the Southern outskirts of Winchester.
South Winchester Lodges is something of a hidden gem. We found it during a web search to find a short-term let suitable for families (not an easy task as it turns out!). But as we began telling people where we were staying, it became clear that many people - even long-term Winchester residents - didn’t know about the Lodges. Since moving in, we’ve had many visitors and extensive experiences living here which means we are well placed to give our impressions - particularly its suitability as accommodation for a Hampshire family holiday.
So, what is South Winchester Lodges? It’s a collection of 20 Scandinavian-style wooden lodges, either two or three bedroom. Set in beautiful countryside surrounded by South Winchester Golf Club, the site is accessible by a single road through the golf course. It’s beautiful, picturesque and wonderfully quiet.
The site is managed by a very pleasant family who are onsite if you have any issues during your stay. Here’s our summary of the South Winchester Lodges experience.
The lodges themselves are very special. Think Center Parcs and you’re not a million miles off. However, in terms of size and equipment, South Winchester Lodges is certainly a step up from the average Center Parcs lodge.
Our three-bedroom lodge has a fully-equipped kitchen, including cooker, dishwasher, microwave, toaster and kettle. There a small fridge in the kitchen, and a large fridge freezer in the utility room. Speaking of which, the utility room houses the iron and ironing board, vacuum cleaner, and a washing machine. There’s a family bathroom with an enclosed shower, while the master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom containing a bath/shower combination. High chairs and cots are also available on request.
There’s a large lounge/diner with flatscreen TV, two sofas and a table which seats 6, while each bedroom is as comfortable and well-presented as you could hope for. The lounge has large patio doors leading onto a decent sized veranda which also includes a large table and outdoor seating. There’s also a BBQ facility. Not that we’ve had cause to use this or the veranda - I write this in on March 2nd 2018 surrounded by snow as the longest, coldest winter in recent times continues! Several of the lodges have hot tubs for an extra bit of luxury.
For those of you who arrive at unfamiliar family accommodation with a certain level of trepidation, the lodge was spotless - fresh, tidy and perfectly appointed. We’ve found it easy to keep the lodge clean and tidy, but linen and cleaning options are both offered for an extra fee.
Our lodge is comfortable and more than large enough for our family. Whether for a weekend or a long-term stay, South Winchester Lodges is unequivocally a brilliant option for family holiday.
For those of you looking for a quiet family holiday, the peaceful surroundings of South Winchester Lodges are perfect. Flanked by a golf course, it’s only apt that the centre of the Lodge complex features a beautifully maintained putting green for use of residents. Outside each lodge there’s a basket of golf balls and couple of putters and if your kids are anything like ours, they’ll make great use of the facility. Word of warning though, under 18s must be accompanied to ensure the green is kept in perfect condition.
As well as the putting green, there’s a short woodland walk which is currently being developed, with plans for some fun family activities. Aside from that, it’s just peace and quiet. And that’s one of the only downsides of this location. Unless you walk to the golf course, which doesn’t offer any facilities other than the clubhouse for getting a drink, there’s not much within walking distance of the Lodges. Obviously, with Winchester and Hampshire on the doorstep, this shouldn’t be a huge problem, but it’s worth noting for families who like to explore on foot. And on that note…
Although it’s perfectly placed for traversing Hampshire by car, the only other transport option is the bus. A ten-minute walk through the golf course car park takes you to the bus stop. The stop is serviced by the number 66 bus, which goes directly into Winchester, or Hursley/Romsey in the other direction (tip - get the bus to the nearby Hursley and have a drink food in the Kings Head - a beautiful and highly-regarded village pub).
If you’re prepared to walk further (another 10 minutes up the hill), the Pitt park and ride is available. Simply pay the parking fee (either £2.50 or £3 depending on the day/time of day) and your party is able to get return tickets to Winchester.
We’ve used both bus options, but without the kids. Both are perfectly fine, but not ideal when the weather isn’t great and we’re not sure the kids would love the walk too much. But if your kids are happy to take a wander, and if the weather is good, the bus option - particularly the park and ride which will work out much cheaper for multiple travelers - is a great option.
One of the best features of the Lodges for families is the safety aspect. With hardly any cars and clear lines of site all around, it’s a great place to let kids explore. For those with smaller children, the veranda is a good place to sit, as the kids can move around outside while being safely fenced it.
With no through traffic and a maximum of 19 other families in the vicinity, South Winchester Lodges is an outstandingly safe and peaceful place to be. It’s perfect for families who want to get away from everything, but be within touching distance of the great city of Winchester.
Things to do
Winchester is a great base for a holiday. There’s the city itself, which is easily walkable and features many family-friendly restaurants and cafes. The Lodges are a brilliant base for visiting places such as Marwell Zoo, the Winchester Science Centre and Paultons Park, or outdoor locations such as Itchen Valley or the New Forest.
South Winchester Lodges has written a blog listing the best family activities to try this summer in Hampshire so rather than repeat that here, I urge you to take a look.
The perfect holiday base - a summary
For such a popular area, Winchester is not the easiest place to find family accommodation. Staying at a hotel is fine if you’re heading out every day, but not so great if you want a quiet “chill out” day. Plus evenings with young kids means an early night for parents.
South Winchester Lodges solves both problems. The Lodges are large and well-equipped meaning you can have a rainy day ‘at home’ and enjoy the tranquility and scenery, while safe and cosy inside. Evenings are even better - you can put the kids to bed and relax on the sofa/veranda with a glass of wine safe in the knowledge that the kids are peacefully asleep.
With beautifully equipped and appointed accommodation and an idyllic location which allows you to experience busy fun-packed days and relaxing evening, South Winchester Lodges delivers a “home-from-home” experience and gets our vote as the perfect base for a Hampshire family holiday.
If you have any questions about the accommodation, or would like us to publish any pictures of the location or facilities, please ask in the comments.