The sun finally came out to play last weekend as we headed off to Hampshire to spend the night at Watercress Lodges. They are located in the famous ‘watercress’ region of the county, hence the name, in New Alresford, to be precise. The location is lovely, picturesque and peaceful, and a great setting for a night away (or longer).
Watercress Lodges, which also has camping and glamping available, is in an ideal location, overlooking the historical Watercress line. The Watercress line is a working steam railway, and the stations along the line, particularly that at the Ropley station, where the lodges are, is like stepping back in time. It is run by volunteers, all dressed up in the station controller gear, complete with signage and equipment that would have been used originally. My dad is a massivetrain fan and I know he would love this, but to be honest, I think anyone can appreciate how lovely it is, as we had such a fab time on it too.
There are six lodges, all of which are such a good size and perfectly equipped. They sleep up to six, although technically more I think if you took camp beds or rollaways, as the bedrooms are honestly SO roomy!
The living room area is also spacious, with a small table, and the kitchen is a good size and well-equipped for cooking and making it a home away from home. I was most impressed with the utility room too, with laundry facilities, iron, and so on, making it a good choice to stay longer than just one night, as you’re definitely equipped to be able to stay for longer stays.
There is a small terraced area outside, including BBQ. It is really a peaceful area to be in and there are walks in the countryside right on your doorstep. It was quiet in the evenings too, which is something I worry about when it comes to being close to people camping, as canvas is thinner than bricks! But we were not disturbed in the slightest.
After arriving, we unpacked a little, got some food shopping, and then made our way down to the train station, literally a minute walk down from the lodge. We saw steam trains and just took it all in; it was so pretty and so fun! There’s a fab play area too which the children enjoyed, and you can even look in some workshops over the bridge at the station to see trains being fixed.
The Watercress Line Steam Train
The next day was filled with more trains as we actually headed on the Watercress Line. We wanted to make the most of a journey on the steam train, so drove the ten minutes to Alton station and parked up there for the day (very cheap to do so on a Sunday). Then we got our tickets and made the journey down the line, taking in the beautiful Hampshire countryside. We had a seating area to ourselves, which the children were loving (just like Harry Potter)! We got off at the other end for a little wander around, and then got the train back. It is about 40 minutes each way if you go through all four stations on the line.
They do some fun days out and different events throughout the year. We just missed the Thomas the Tank Engine days by a couple of weeks, but just means we have an excuse to go back, as I know my toddler would love that!
The area is so lovely, and when it is only an hour or so away from us in Surrey, I’m amazed that we’ve never been there before! If you are looking for something fun for the family to do, whether just a day trip, a weekend, or longer, then the Watercress line and Watercress Lodges is a must. It was a great place to stay, I would definitely go again, and the experience on the steam train was just so joyful, unlike any other. We all loved it, so it is fab for all ages.
Have you ever been to this area of Hampshire before? It would be great to hear what you think.
*this is part of a press tip to Hampshire, but all words and opinions are my own.