It is with much sadness that today we learned that the Culture-all Passport owned and run by Hampshire County Council has been discontinued. For a yearly outlay of £75, 2 adults and 2 children would have 12 months access to Aldershot Military Museum, Basing House, Bursledon Windmill, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Manor Farm, Milestones, Rockbourne Roman Villa, Staunton Country Park, and Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve.
We’ve had a Culture-all Passport for the past 6 years, and religiously renewed it. Our pattern of usage has been one visit a year to the further-away attractions such as Aldershot Military Museum, with most of our visits being to Staunton Country Park.
The key benefit of the Culture-all Passport is the variety of attractions that are available. I think we all understand that budgets are reducing and cuts have to be made to public services, the knock on effect will be that those that did pay for Culture-all Passport will be unlikely take the alternative, which is to sign up for a yearly pass at each different venue.
On a visit to Staunton we’d spend approximately £10 at the cafe, plus a few bits in the shop. A single day entry for our family to Staunton Farm will now be £24.50, plus that cafe cost, so £35. I can assure everyone this is just not going to happen when alternative value can be found doing something else that lasts longer than a few hours. A full day out at Paulton’s Park is almost three times the cost, but when you compare the two, which is the better alternative value?
And where can alternative value be found? Family passes for many different attractions can be found on-line, we grabbed a Year’s Family Pass to Portsmouth Dockyard for just £39.00 and spending those good old Tesco Clubcard Vouchers and Nectar Points is top of the pops for getting a cheap day out. A Saturday morning trip to the cinema is popular with our children and priced from £1.75 per person it’s much better alternative value. Deal sites such as Groupon also provide better alternative value, and discount/voucher websites like UKHotDeals often have days out, and even holidays, at bargain bucket prices.
As I mentioned before, Hampshire County Council need to make cuts – but so do tax paying and rate paying residents of Hampshire and this change is very unwelcome in this household. Rather than cancel the Culture-all Passport I would have preferred to seen a slow price rise, or allow renewals for existing card holders only.
So what have others got to say about the change, here is the feedback from the Hampshire County Council’s Facebook page:
I don’t think this is going to help your venues at all. I personally will not be buying a membership for one place as we liked the fact that the passport allows us to try lots of different places. I am afraid instead we will be exploring the options that are offered for free in our area — HA
I agree as a large family it was perfect for us to visit different places at weekends, the children would soon get bored just visiting the same country park all the time. I think this is a great shame and was affordable, having to be a member for different places would be too expensive — SB
Such a mistake, feel so disappointed. I think the only hampshire attraction we will now be visiting is royal vic as the others just aren’t worth the money as we have been there so many times before. Play parks and forestry commission sites will now be our main weekend trips — BM
Well I for one won’t be buying a pass for either of the venues in future. The benefit of culture all was it’s flexibility to use anywhere and the savings it afforded us a family to enjoy numerous days out! Bad move Hampshire! — MV
Plus many many more people saying the same thing.
There are still a few days left to purchase a Culture-all Passport … that is assuming you’ve read this before the 9th of January 2015. Our Passport expires in the summer and as the Culture-all Passport scheme finishes on 24th March 2015 we’d be throwing away 4 months of money. So the £75 plus £10 for an additional child, plus all the money spent at the various cafes, will be spent elsewhere.
We’ve got a guide coming up later this year on the free play parks around the Waterlooville, Cowplain, Clanfield and Denmead areas. Although not a direct substitute, our children will be happy and that’s every parent’s main requirement for having a successful day out.
If you have a comment about this change, please make it to this website and we’ll be sure to pass it on to the powers-that-be.