This For The Energetic Guest

We know that when you choose to stay with us not only do you get good quality and luxury in service but the best chance to feel refreshed and relaxed. We also know there are a few of you who want to use up that energy and make the most of the outdoors. Like this:

National Cycle Route – Southampton to Portsmouth


If stunning coastline and incredible scenery is your thing then this is the route for you. Hop on a bike and follow the National Cycle route 2 between these two major Hampshire ports. The route starts on the Itchen bridge in Southampton following the Solent Way to Netley where you will find the lovely Royal Victoria Country Park overlooking Southampton Water and the historic Netley Abbey. From there you continue to Hamble-le-Rice where you can catch the ferry over the River Hamble to Warsash. The route then continues along the coast, passing the beautiful Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, before joining the Gosport Ferry which will take you to the finish point near Portsmouth Harbour. On ya bike.

Get the OS route here.

If off-roading is more your thing you’ll need the Queen Elizabeth Country Park. Just off the A3 and 25 minutes drive from Portsmouth this is the mecca for the thrill seeker.

Blue Trail

The Blue mountain bike trail suitable for novice riders is currently 6km (3.7 miles) long. The trail is made up mainly off forest gravel roads, with 500 metres of single-track and one pretty long steep climb.

Red Trail

The Red mountain bike trail is 7.4km (4.6 miles) long with approx 1000ft ascent/descent. The trail is mostly made up of fast flowing singletrack with some sections being steep / loose, and also feature jumps (all roller-able).

Cycle shop and cafe is situated at the start of the route.


Kayaking – New Forest


Yes, it may be home to some of the UK’s most beautiful forests but the national park is full of waterways snaking their way in between. Kids and adults will get sized up for the correct vessel they choose as well as gain expert tuition before setting off.

Bring your own or hire on the day for the chance to see some exclusive scenery like the Beaulieu river, a rare opportunity in itself!

There are plenty of kayaking spots within reach of our serviced properties including the river Hamble, Lee-On-The-Solent and the Isle Of Wight.


Horse Riding – Hampshire

Hampshire is well known for it’s 465 miles of outstanding bridleways. Not only that it is home to some of the best training schools for you to learn.

Select locations:

Manor Farm Country Park in Bursledon, which takes you along the picturesque riverside of the Hamble and through woodland areas. Contact reception for a permit on 01489 787 055.

Queen Elizabeth Country Park in East Hampshire has a six mile permissive riding trail which will take you through the forest before joining the South Downs National Park. No permit is needed.

Titchfield Haven in Fareham is a coastal park rich in wildlife which has a number of riding routes travelling through open farmland and woodland. Please contact the office for a permit on 01329 662145.

Alice Holt Forest provides an opportunity to canter through tranquil oak woodland. This is also by permit only, please ring 01420 520212.



Believe it or not this activity is far from new, so what is it? Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt that combines detective work with technology. By downloading the app (there are many to choose from) using GPS locate various ‘boxes’ or points where you can leave your name or exchange gifts left in selected boxes. With locations given off to the nearest meter you’ll get addicted to this family fun outing. And it is not just in the countryside, many cities have plenty of geocaching locations for you to explore.


For more activities click Visit Hampshire

What Needs To Be On Your Playlist Right Now (April/May 2017)

With fast free WiFi in all serviced properties in our Town Or Country family are you making the most of your music player? Check out the tracks you need in your life right now (and not just that Ed Sheeran album):


The Fjords – ‘Alchemy’ (click for track)


A-ha meets The xx. And yes, that is a compliment. This dainty Norwegian group have been under the radar and threatening to reveal itself for a few years now. But with a few UK gigs under their belt and some summer appearances planned this surely needs to be in your life after a hard day’s work.

Nilüfer Yanya – The Florist


If hedonistic guitar is your bag 21-year-old Nilufer Yanya is for you. Her raw vocals give hint of an early Annie Lennox with a powerful backing that plays into your mind. As break up songs go this is pretty epic. Best played in the bath, with candles and a glass of Pino…

Zedd – Stay (feat. Alessia Cara)


Producer Zedd smashes up the electronica and slows it right down for a delight that would be perfect for that summer romance. Backed up by the faultless vocals of Alessia Cara that beaut steps away from Zedd’s previous helpings. On the balcony at sun down? Turn this up then.

Liv Dawson – Searching


Cast your mind back to when the 1990’s swept into the new millennium. Garage was massive. This takes you there. Liv’s airy vocals and harmonies divine the ear drums with pure happiness that will get you in the mood for the night ahead. It’ll sort your day out too. Small wonder she has been BBC Radio 1’s Tune Of The Weekend.


Words: Ben Glover

Partly researched from NME

Easter: Hunting Out The Best Activities!


Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, Winchester

This Easter, Cadbury is teaming up with the National Trust to offer families the ultimate day out, with their popular Eggsplorer Easter Egg Trails. Kids can unleash their inner explorer with adventurous trails taking place in some of the most amazing locations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

What’s more, all Eggsplorers will receive a delicious Cadbury chocolaty treat at the end of each completed trail, and every single Cadbury Easter Egg Trail will help support special places looked after by the National Trust for future generations to explore.

Winchester City Mill hums with activity all year round, making it a great family experience. This Easter, pick up a map and join in the giant egg hunt around this 17th-century working corn mill; if you can solve the riddles you’ll receive a delicious Cadbury chocolate gift.

Normal admission plus £2 per hunt



A Day Out With Thomas! The Watercress Line, Alresford

Meet Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends here at the Watercress Line. Come and experience a ride on a real steam engine, shake hands with The Fat Controller and take part in Thomas themed activities in the Imagination Station. Make their day a Day Out With Thomas and book your tickets now!

The travel ticket includes all the above and so much more!

An entire day’s travel on the big steam trains that run up and down the whole line.
(These trains run approximately every 30-40 minutes from 9:35am to 4:30pm).A free Thomas sticker and Day Out With Thomas certificate.Unlimited rides behind Thomas in his carriages or in Toad the Brake VanUnlimited rides with Iron ‘Arry and a friend of Diesel’s – you can even get in the cab with the driver!

LOTS of FREE activities!

Thomas themed children’s entertainerRides on the Minature railwayBouncy Slide (age 3+)Tea Cup rideStory corner and daily story time’Thomas & Friends’ TransfersImagination Stations with Thomas playsets, colouring and DVD shows

See more of Thomas’ friends!

Meet a friend of Bulgy the Bus and George the Steam RollerSee a friend of Rocky the Breakdown Crane

Easy to find!

Just 7 miles from Winchester on the A31 – simply follow the yellow AA signs for Day Out With Thomas to the FREE parking at Ropley Station in the field!Or catch the regular South West Trains service to Alton from London Waterloo.Pay and display parking is also available at Alresford and Alton Stations.Full of facilities!FREE buggy park, picnic storage, baby feeding and nappy changing at Ropley Station.Toilets are available on all steam train services and at all stations.Baby changing facilities at Alresford, Ropley & Alton.Meals and snacks available from The West Country Buffet at Alresford station.Refreshments available from stands at Ropley station and onboard buffet carsPicnic areas overlooking Ropley and Alresford stationsDay Out With Thomas gift shops at Alresford, Ropley and Alton stations.

There’s so much to see and do we recommend arriving before lunch to ensure you fit everything in!


Egg Hunting, Bird World.

Crack the clues set by the Easter Bunny on our special Easter trail and enjoy the opportunity to join in with some Easter-themed crafts.

Visitors will also have the chance to see the park’s very own Percy the Penguin who will be helping out throughout the day.

Open 10.00am until 6.00pm, last admissions are an hour before closing.

To book tickets, visit or call 01420 22992.


Easter Virtual Activities, Whiteley Shopping Complex

Gnomee’s Virtual Egg Hunt – throughout the holidays

Take a leap into augmented reality and help find the golden eggs that Gnomee and his friends are hiding. You can even be in with the chance of winning a host of amazing prizes. To play, simply download the ‘MyMall AR’ app and let the fun begin. We’ve got iPad minis, an Anki Overdrive and Hatchimals Eggs to name just a few of the fantastic prizes up for grabs – Gnomee has been very busy preparing for Easter this year!

Arts and Crafts Activities with Tiger – 13th, 14th, 15th April

Tiger will be in Town Square with Easter to host arts and crafts activities for your little ones. They will also have a very special Gnomee colouring in picture for you to try!

Longdown Mobile Farm – Mon 17th April, Market Square, 10am – 4pm.

The Longdown Mobile Farm will be here in Market Square for a hands on farm experience right on your doorstep! Children and adults alike will delight in meeting a range of farm animals such as piglets, calves, kid goats, chicks, ducklings, rabbits, guinea pigs, and Max the miniature donkey. All the farm animals are friendly, calm and sociable; and they always try to be on their very best behaviour!

Dreams Come True – Sat 15th and Mon 17th April

The charity Dreams Come True will be in Town Square Saturday 15th April and Monday 17th April. They will have some very special characters popping over, including George & Peppa Pig, Scooby Doo, Spongebob and Patrick! Your little ones can also have the opportunity to have their face painted on both days – bunny, butterfly or superhero, what will they choose?


TOCA Supports: Trinity, Winchester

Town or Country is passionate about supporting charities, especially in the vicinity of our serviced properties. That is why we have decided to team up with homeless charity Trinity. Look out for ways we and you can support this very special organisation. 

Trinity is a non judgemental service and their aim to empower all the beneficiaries with the confidence, skills and willpower to change their lives for the good and on a long-term basis. Through careful monitoring of individuals’ progress throughout the year, they know that their Drop-in and Outreach Services can and do have dramatic positive effects on both individuals and the local community.


Each year £500,000 is required to be raised in order to make a difference, relying on donations and fundraising from events, individuals, local community groups, local businesses, churches, and volunteers for their support. Many set up standing orders, hosted or taken part in an event on their behalf.

With homelessness now a major part of city life for some Trinity aims to turn that around and give the support needed to individuals who find themselves in this difficult situation. Here’s Eddie’s story:

Town Or Country is proud to support Trinity, keep an eye on our social media timelines for more info.

Ben Glover

Discount Card: The Docks Coffee

Coffee has a secret

Few coffee shops can actually be based on the heritage on which they are created. I mean, the UK’s biggest coffee chain can’t claim that it’s owners met whilst travelling about the globe, far from it. Neither can the big coffee houses place enough passion into where their beans come from. Some might but with the ‘C’ word now a commercial necessity in this world it is important to know where it comes from.


Having travelled, lived and driven most of southern Europe I had certainly not tasted coffee other than this side of the water. When you stop off in Italy and witness how the Italians treat every sip like it is liquid gold there must be method to the madness. God knows, having been stuck in the heaving traffic of Rome it was a relief to pull into a service station to catch up on an espresso after driving more than 13 hours straight. Little did we know that the tiniest of glasses would house the richest of blends that locals would take a good hour to consume. I just simply downed it in one like it was a shot to be had on a stag do. No wonder we were getting daggers from preying eyes.

And you know what? I haven’t really tasted coffee like that. Until now. Sure coffee is coffee, tea is tea but have you noticed that if you really look into where that blend comes from or how it arrived and the passion behind it the taste is enriching. This is the experience I got when stepping into one of Southampton’s best kept secrets.

The Docks coffee house sits quietly in Oxford Street, Southampton, it’s shell a new reincarnation created with the love and passion of owner Dan and his partner. They both met whilst travelling in Vietnam and as time went on not only did they fall in love with each other but with the dream of one day owning their own cafe come coffee shop.

Docks Coffee 2Stepping inside this quaint little shop there is an instant hit of finely roasted coffee that sweeps its way among the stripped back wooden tables. It’s aroma tantalises the nostrils as you relax in their wing back chairs, perfect for a read. And I think this is the idea, with a selection of books to read and a giant map on the wall there is always something to effectively drink in with the eyes.


I had a Cortado (sadly not served in a glass but I was assured they were on order) that simply blows your caffeine senses into another world, or as I felt, a humble little coffee shop in Rome. Reasonably priced (£2.50) Cortados can leave an acidic after taste, dropped with a little milk in however smashes the edge of it for a pleasant sup.

So, where does it all come? Having well travelled owners it is small wonder the 11 types of blends on offer each have their own story to tell. In fact to make the grade all defective beans are removed from the mix creating truly great flavours aromas that will just take you away for a while, stepping out of the usual rat run of life and leaving you tasting what could be heaven.

A local based Roaster ensures that sourced beans are ethically traced and handled with this being the ethos of The Docks values. Everyone deserves to be acknowledged for our guilty pleasures right?

And if you thought that was something special just wait until you hear about the tea, again influenced by the footsteps of where Dan and his partner trod. When asked to describe what their tea is to them Dan feels taken back to ‘the beaches of Big Sur or the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal’. It doesn’t get more special that that.


A tasty breakfast and lunch menu gives enough reason to go pretty much every day (recommending the scrambled egg and salmon) alongside a take away Roasted Chicken, Cheese & Sundried Tomato Panini  (£5.50). If dining in plenty to choose from the locally sourced and home made produce behind the counter and not to mention the freshly baked cakes sourced so locally. Your mum better watch out, she has competition.


But we hear there may be a shake-gasmic delight in the form of a Freakshake. I mean, just savour it. An epicurean delight that no doubt be a summer favourite.


In essence this The Docks coffee shop is already causing a stir among the locals who have too many loyalty cards from the big chains bulging out of their wallets. They will go here for the love and passion put into every cup. And it is not finished their. Dan knows the heritage in which he has now become a part; Titanic talks, forthcoming murals on the walls and photos of well travelled guests are to be a part of the DNA. A social travellers hub, a place to swap stories and enjoy each other’s company, or your own. A place to gaze from the rawness of the breakfast bar and see Oxford street pass before your eyes.

Adapted from the Coffee Shop Investigator blog.

Words: Ben Glover


Things To Do (Differently) In Southampton This April


📅Abstract Painting and Mixed Media Workshop

Southampton City Art Gallery | 15th April 2017, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Admission Type: Paid

Abstract Painting and Mixed Media Workshop
Sat 15 April
£34 / Pre-book
Be inspired by the abstract works on display in the gallery and work with artist Abi Kremer to develop your own expressive techniques. Media used will be inks, acrylic paint and collage – please bring an object that has meaning for you as a starting point. Materials will be provided but feel free to bring your own brushes and pallet knife.
How to book
By phone: 023 8083 4536
In person:  Visit the reception desk at any of our venues.

Website Address:


📅Gerry Cottle’s Circus

Hoglands Park | 28th April 2017 – 7th May 2017
Admission Type: Paid

Gerry Cottle’s Circus

28 April – 7 May
Hoglands Park, Southampton

ROLL UP, ROLL UP: New for 2017, Gerry Cottle is back with his sensational WOW Circus – a high-energy family show featuring a new generation of vibrant young performers.

Fun filled, wild, wonderful and out of this world, WOW Circus brings together amazing international acts with an infectious soundtrack and the latest lights and technology with dazzling and delightful energy – family entertainment for the modern age all within a climate controlled Big Top.

Gerry calls upon his 50 years in circus to provide an awe-inspiring line-up of the worlds greatest acts in circus, comedy and magic for LIVE entertainment to thrill and astonish all ages.
Home-grown UK talent includes The WOW STARS, a troupe of 10 hugely talented young performers led by Sarah Cottle & Ellen Ramsay who will astound with their unbelievable daredevil acts high in the roof of the big top, on unicycles, roller skates and juggling on the back of quad bikes as they roar around the stage & even on a MOTOR BIKE ON THE HIGH WIRE.
Amazing acts in the air including:
The Sky High Motorbike – upside down on the High Wire Duo Roma – Two Guys – You won’t believe your eyes
From Mexico Gordon Marquez – Madcap Juggler (There’s no walls round him!)
From Russia – The Veslovski – Whip Cracking Cossacks
From Africa – The Tanzanian Tornadoes
The Truly International Fire Finale – Rocking Around the World


‘Exciting Escapes’ listed as the #1 ‘Fun Thing to do’ in Southampton.

You may not have heard of Escape Rooms yet but, according to the Financial Times recently, their growth in the UK is nothing short of  ‘phenomenal’. Small teams of friends, families, and work colleagues pay to enter themed rooms and have 60 minutes to Escape, Complete the Mission, or a myriad of other objectives all with the clock ticking down.

‘Exciting Escapes’ launched in Southampton three months ago and has already made it to the #1 ‘Fun Thing to Do’ in Southampton. Alongside social games at evenings and weekends, they’ve been especially focused on running corporate team building events during the week, with a capacity to date for teams of up to 24 people.


Chainska Bassika Reggae Carnival, The Stage Door, Southampton

Chainska Brassika's Reggae Carnival

On April 8th, Fiesta Bombarda and Chainska Brassika will be hitting The Stage Door in Southampton for a huge reggae carnival.

ChainSka Brassika are a 9 piece ska-fuelled, energetic reggae and dub band from South East London. Their lively old-school ska sound combines with the skank of today’s bass culture and commands any audience get up and dance.

Over the summer of 2013, following the release of their first single ‘This I Know’, ChainSka appeared at major UK festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival, Secret Garden Party, One Love and Boomtown Fair and supported the likes of The Skatalities, The Abyssinians and Californian reggae band Rebelution on their UK tour. The band are now to tour the UK to promote their forthcoming ‘Unwind E.P’ set to be released 21st December 2013.

Click link above for tickets and exclusive discount for Town or Country guests.


📅Easter Fair

Southampton Common | 13th April 2017 – 23rd April 2017
Admission Type: Paid

Easter Fair: Thursday 13 – Monday 23 April 2017

The Easter Fair will feature many exciting rides as well as the traditional Bank Holiday market on the Monday.

Opening Times: 
1pm – 9.30pm
Bank Holiday Easter Monday 10am – 9.30pm

Don’t miss CRAZY PRICES on THURSDAYS where rides are just £1 (please note this discount does not apply to the Oxygen Ride)


Ben Glover

Serviced Accommodation v’s B&B


If you are a  contractor you may be used to touring the various bed & breakfast facilities across the country. They are very handy for that last minute job and of course the breakfast is always handy. The trouble is you never know what you are letting yourself in for or what you will get once you step inside. There is an alternative.

We all like value for money whether buying clothes, food or even a car. The same can be said when it comes to finding the right place to stay. B&B’s have their place but did you know that when it comes to serviced accommodation you can more for your money?


  • Communal lounge
  • Checking Out Time Limit
  • Location
  • Pay per person
  • Mini Bar
  • Cleaning Facilities extra
  • Wifi extra
  • Disabled facilities

Serviced Accommodation

  • Minimum of X2 double bedrooms with en-suite, separate bathroom facilities. Luxury bed linen supplied.
  • A fully equipped kitchen for cooking all meals including breakfast. We offer various food packs including Breakfast and can fill your fridge up prior to arrival.
  • A living space with comfortable sofas, entertainments systems with Freeview and dining area, perfect for a get together.
  • Checking out time limit that can be changed just by making one phone call to us. And if you need to stay longer we can sort this out for you.
  • Many of our serviced properties are located within reach of decent transport links and city centres.
  • Pay per property. So doubling up saves you money.
  • Our exclusive Discount Card offers money off restaurants, bars and even gyms within our property portfolio. Entertaining? Bring home the wine…
  • Cleaning and housekeeping service all included in the price. All properties are equipped with washing machines so get the washing done before you get home.
  • Our Wifi is fast and free. Bring your laptop…
  • We have properties that cater for all your needs

It makes sense to share an entire property with a work mate, saving money, giving better value and having peace of mind with us working to your schedule with no restrictions.


CLICK HERE for our properties to suit your needs.

Ben Glover

Emojis at work – :) or :(


Emojis have become part of our life since the invention of the smart phone. In fact, if you think about it just putting this ‘:)’ on our old Nokia 3310 was pretty much the start of this craze. Short text was the thing that was often used way before an entire keyboard was available at our finger tips.

But what may be fun and informal when communicating with friends may not be such a good idea at the workplace. Let’s face it would you send the company director a smiley face after they asked you for a full report on that sales fail? Probably not.

Formal Rules

To stay professional formalities are often key to keeping your nose clean and progressing in your career. You never know how the person on the other end of the communication will take it. Getting on the nerves of a fellow superior colleague will often lead to awkwardness in the workplace and no-one really wants that, it is just not worth the bad career move. TV news readers don’t ever do the news in t-shirt and jeans, a business that requires a forward stance approach needs to be represented correctly.

And it is not just your co-workers. For those who have a customer business relationship should consider the language in which you come across, remember you are representing your company. For example, a relationship which may have started well with a client buying your product but then turns sour after a failure for whatever reason could somewhat give the wrong impression. Think about it, if there is a complaint made and you reply with a thumbs up emoticon that really is the catalyst to further investigation. Often a reply with just a ‘?’ can be as powerful as a 500 word email. Keep it formal from the start.

Team Bonding

Many companies that have teams in place have the use of a messaging groups such as What’s App in order to keep communication close. Often these groups are seen as ‘what goes on here stays on here’ thus creating a ‘release’ to any frustration that may arise at work. Emojis have often been helpful in this informal environment. It is always worth reviewing the message before you hit the send button, you can’t always please everybody and even though a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ may have been made for confidentiality once typed and sent it cannot be erased!

Messaging Groups

I have a family What’s App group that is good communication as many of us are located across the UK and often do not see each other. With my parents not on Facebook (and goodness knows we’ve tried) sharing family news and photos are often exchanged. It came as quite a shock when she started to use emojis in reply, often replacing a kiss with a ‘heart’. It was a nice thing and I often wait to see what what mother has found on her emoji keyboard next. And there bears my point: informally and at co-worker level often these are a good thing, a way to ‘break up the norm’, you just need to gauge the situation/relationship first.

I often feel if the emoji has been sent first in communication it is, nine times out of ten OK to reply with one. Not all team leaders are as strict as others and often want a relaxed but professional approach to keep everyone happy. In the right context, using emoji demonstrates you understand current communication trends—while also conveying emotions in a way that words sometimes can’t. For example, using a ‘clapping hands’ symbol to congratulate a colleague on a good deal would be less of an impact that that of a yellow face poking it’s tongue out or worse with Pound signs in their eyes.

In reality emojis are fun, but they can also make or break you. Use them but use them wisely.

Ben Glover



‘Relationships’ at work can save you money. Get with a colleague. 


Relationships at work. They can be tricky. Although they can actually come in handy, especially when you are staying with us.

Have a think about the budget a company/organisation spends on business trips with overnight stays. Sometimes these nights turn into weeks and months. With serviced accommodation it makes sense to stay in one of our luxury properties.

At What Cost?

Each one of our properties range from 3 storey town houses to multi bedroom apartments. Your budget will instantly gain value for money as you pay PER property and not per person. That’s the kitchen (fully equipped), entertainment (TV/radio),  and en-suite facilities ALL included in the one price.

Think about it. A hotel room is just a room, often lacking in storage, noisy corridors and a kettle that is often the same size as a mug. Our accommodation is situated in affluent and desirable areas keeping noise pollution to a minimum. Sharing a serviced apartment is cost effective and good for business. Multiple hotel rooms are not good for the budget.

A Property with Benefits

Each Town or Country property in our portfolio is fully serviced by our Housekeeping team that will work to your schedule. So if you do not want to be disturbed we won’t. Checking out is flexible and extending your stay is a simple process. No stress.

Fast free Wifi is at your disposal ready to be soaked up by any laptop, tablet and smartphone, beneficial for meetings and preparing that all important presentation.

You will have plenty of time to relax in your own bedroom and not have to fight for the bathroom with many properties containing en-suites (you may have to toss a coin to see who gets that one).

Staying in one of our marina properties (Port Solent or Ocean Village) creates a relaxing vibe to the end of the day, especially when taking advantage of chilling out on the balcony when the weather is good.

Cooking for Two?

Not only will our fully equipped kitchens cater for the culinary chef in you but it will save a stack of money when it comes to dining expenses. We can stock up your fridge with a selection of food packs ready for your arrival.

Fancy getting out of the house? We have though about that too. Our exclusive Discount Card offers a vast range of bars/restaurants to choose from and again keeping the accounts department happy.

You can finally get together with a colleague in a ‘relationship’ your boss would approve of.


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