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Moving to Winchester

(14 Posts)
thopkins79 Wed 28-Sep-16 17:16:56

Hi everyone,
I'm moving with my family to Winchester next week, we will be living in the St Cross area. We're moving from London and I won't know anyone in Winchester. I have a 16 month old son and a 33 month old daughter. I'm planning on putting them in nursery a few days a week and have read good things about Maples. Does anyone have children there and can recommend? Would also love to meet any other stay-at-home mums or hear about good places to take two very active toddlers. Thanks for reading.

alcibiades Wed 28-Sep-16 18:17:27

My grandson is about the same age as your older child. He's been going to Maples for quite some time and is very happy there. He's dairy intolerant, and they're very good at dealing with that.

Some places my daughter takes him to are:

River Park Leisure Centre

Discovery Centre

A bit further afield, but you could go by train (exciting!) is a play centre in Eastleigh

thopkins79 Thu 29-Sep-16 08:14:57

Thanks so much for your message, all very helpful.

TheOtherDebs Fri 30-Sep-16 20:11:40

Hi I'm the mum of the boy mentioned by Alcibiades and can say we are very happy with Maples. We are very happy with the facilities and the childcare. They have a full compliment of staff which I know some nurseries struggle with. My son was not a confident child when he started and they really cared for him. Well worth a visit. has a listing of groups in Winchester along with playgrounds etc but is out of date wrt Lanterns so please check their website. It doesn't mention The Ark on Friday mornings at Hope Church in the centre of town 10-1130 (get there on time as they get full) which is fantastic. They are on Facebook and have a website. has a section on Winchester which suggests stuff outside groups.

There is a very child friendly cafe next to King Alfred's statue and opposite the Abbey Mill Gardens playground. Its the YMCA and they have toys and really helpful staff.

When the weather is good Lakeside Country Park (technically in Eastleigh but actually 5 mins walk from Southampton Parkway station has a ride on miniature steam train which is cheap and blows little people's minds. I have blogged about this and a few of our other things on my very small blog The Discovery Centre has a lot of exhibitions on and great for a rainy day diversion. There's a poster up in the kids area about storytime, rhyme time, mini professors, Lego etc which appear to be missing from their website. Also they do kids films but because they aren't allowed to advertise much you just have to keep your eye out for them.

Outside of the groups you will probably want to check out the Little Pickles and NCT baby markets (on Facebook) and the Facebook groups with the words baby or bay, and the word Winchester for bargains. Gumtree is pretty well used too.

I'm a sahm so happy to meet up for a cuppa when you are settled. I actually don't hang around on mumsnet but I'm guessing there's a pm function or something.


Odgehog Fri 30-Sep-16 22:12:41

Maples is good. People who use it seem to rate it highly. There is a lovely toddler group on Tuesday mornings at Christchurch with really friendly mums

Kt1991 Sat 01-Oct-16 13:41:30

Hi I live in Winchester, my son goes to the sister school of Maples, so have heard good things about it. I take him to a baby and toddler group on a Friday morning in central Winchester. At a church called Hope church the group is called The Ark, it's great, lots for the children to do from all ages until they start school, snacks for them and tea and coffee for the adults. Creepie crawlies is also fun which you can book spaces on at River Park Leisure Centre. I work part time so always looking to meet up with other mums too smile

thopkins79 Sun 02-Oct-16 06:40:34

Thanks so much for all the messages, so helpful and really appreciated. I've joined a few groups on FB (The Ark looks fab) and we have settling sessions organised at Maples so life is beginning to take shape in Winchester. Would love to meet up in the next few weeks. Love the sound of a child friendly cafe, I struggle to get my monster buggy in most cafes here and then it's a case of down it and swift exit! Xx

brumeye Sun 02-Oct-16 09:10:17

Welcome to Winchester! It's a great place to bring up children.

Maples is really good. Our 5yo (now at Westgate) and 2yo have both loved being there. For us the flexibility of long hours when we need it, and the good quality food (cooked on site) were big plus points. The outdoor space is also good considering how central it is. The staff really encourage the children (5yo loved reading in preschool and he had lots of support with that).

The playgrounds dotted around town are good for kids running round and chatting to other parents - abbey gardens and Oram's arbour are favourites. YMCA cafe very good as above (fantastic play kitchen as well as occasional art and craft activities). The discovery centre and theatre often have really good kids' events at weekends. Very good (and non-churchy) Friday morning toddler sessions at St Barnabas church

Further afield, Marwell zoo, hillier gardens and mottisfont (NT) are great for running around. Quite expensive so worth membership if you like them (plus paultons park with peppa pig world of course!). So many other places to go for nice walks (the st cross water meadows, water vole trail through winnall moors, and the viaduct way for a start).

Good luck with the move!

thopkins79 Mon 03-Oct-16 10:24:41

Thanks brumeye, all very helpful. x

winchesternanny Fri 07-Oct-16 18:58:27

Winchester is fantastic for families there are so many groups to go to and the leisure centre offer lots of different classes too.

dcw1 Sat 08-Oct-16 00:52:17

BrumEye - slightly off topic, but how are you finding Westgate? We're thinking of moving our 5yo to Yr1 there (assuming that there are spaces).

alcibiades Sun 09-Oct-16 21:41:48

That's an interesting question, dcw1.

The only local family I know that sends their child to Westgate is a neighbour. Our paths rarely cross, but from the occasional, and very brief, conversation, they seem very happy with Westgate junior, as does the child.

It's an interesting school, because it started off as being an infants' school, taking in (I think) just Yr R and Yr1, who then progress through the school, which means that it won't reach their full complement until those Yr R children become Year thingy (Yr 5?). That seems to me that the school will grow alongside the children, which is quite unusual.

It would be interesting to hear how children and their parents feel about the school as it now and as how it grows.

winchesternanny Tue 25-Oct-16 14:27:49

thopkins79 - just going through old threads and realised I'd posted on this; strangely we met on Monday and am seeing you on Thursday too - small world!

LooLoo777 Mon 18-Sep-17 21:34:07


This is a bit of an old thread ... but can you help?

We are just about to make the move big move from East Dulwich to Winchester; we're moving to the Fulflood area. I am a first time mum and have a 10 month old boy. Due to the move I have left work (ahhhh!!) and all of my NCT pals behind.

Our plan is to settle in and try to establish ourselves, whilst I look for work. My partner will be commuting to London.

Is anyone local who can help me?

- are there any good baby groups you would recommend for babies around his age?

- similarly, any good groups for mum's?

- are there any nurseries or childminders that you know of that might be open to taking him one day a week or two mornings a week (the plan being that he would go somewhere very part time and then up his time when I find work)

Any other tips / advice etc for our move and settling ourselves in?

Thanks everyone!

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