Milestones is an indoor attraction housed in a purpose built hanger space in Basingstoke. Visitors walk through exhibits ranging from an Andover ironworks in the 18th century to mock streets and buildings featuring real vehicles, travelling through time seeing how people lived and worked over the past 200 or so years. A time tunnel takes you from a greengrocers, co-op and working pub to the 1930s/40s which featured a favourite – the sweet shop where you could buy sweets served by a lovely costumed shop keeper.
Audio guides and maps were available although we didn't use them. We met staff dressed in period costumes who gave brief history lessons and added to the atmosphere.
We spent about three hours at Milestone taking a break for a picnic lunch on the vast grassy field outside, so allow half a day to make the most of your visit. We visited on a sunny day however as this is an entirely undercover attraction it makes an ideal rainy day/all weather venue.
The six of us spanned six years of age to 70 and there was something for each of us to enjoy whether it involved taking a trip down memory lane to enjoy the collections of every day objects from yesteryear (a favourite was how the home has changed since the 1920s), dressing up in the vintage costumes, playing with LEGO or the ration card / sweet shop experience.
Milestones collaborated with a team of official LEGO master builders to install countless large scale models of prehistoric creatures in and around the main exhibition space, entitled Lost World Zoo. It certainly added an extra dimension to the day out and there were also workshops and a treasure hunt activity sheet to complete.
The children happily played on the LEGO brick play tables and would have stayed on them for ages had we not all wanted to explore the rest of the Museum. Toby booked into the workshop and learned how to build a LEGO dodo and both children custom made minifigures. The LEGO dimension was the children's favourite part of the day whilst for the adults it was a happy diversion. Although the models were incredibly well made it was the nostalgic Collections Corner and "how we used to live" room sets featuring every day items from the 30s to the 70s that caught our imaginations.
After our picnic we went back inside to play on the Vintage Penny machines with old pennies purchased from the arcade. The 1D slot machines were all in working order and it made for the perfect end to the day as we had our fortunes told, watched The Wombles dance with Noddy and friends before playing table football.
A family ticket (for two adults and two children) costs £26.75 which is good value these days. The optional LEGO workshops were an additional £7 (pricey if you need to pay for more than one child) or £2.50 for the LEGO minifigures and the sweet shop was 70 pence for an old penny and ration book to exchange for a precious 2oz (approx 56g) of sweets.
Milestones is wonderful local resource and one that any parent with pre-school and school age children in the local area must be delighted to enjoy. If I lived closer a Culture-all Passport for Hampshire attractions would be top of my wish list and at £75 for unlimited access for up to two adults and two children to Hampshire's paid entry attractions a worthwhile investment.
Milestones is open Tuesday to Friday and bank holidays from 10am to 4.45pm and weekends from 11am with last admission at 3.45pm.
PWT rating: ♥♥♥♥♥