surrey

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Butterflies at WisleyOnce a year, from January to March, the Royal Horticultural Society Wisley fill their glasshouse up with lots of beautiful butterflies. And every year, for the past three years, Husband and I take Moozles and Dubz. It is a lovely day out. Wisley is in Surrey, and only a 20-minute drive from where we live. And this year, this visit, we didn't even bring the stroller/buggy. Dubz is almost four and we hardly use it nowadays. Family days out are becoming easier. Lovely indeed!

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Howloween at Chessington

My kids love Chessington World of Adventures. And luckily we only live about 20 minutes away. It is a great theme park, plus the zoo and Sea Life centre make it a full day out. So we were thrilled to be invited to a preview evening of Howloween last week at Chessington. Besides all the cool pumpkins dotted about, there are two special Halloween attractions - Trick or Treat Wood and Curse of the Lost Tomb.

Trick or Treat Wood is lovely. You take one of two paths - trick or treat. The paths are filled with fairies and goblins and it felt quite magical in the dark. The trick path made Moozles give a yelp. But she loved the treat path. As for Curse of the Lost Tomb, this spooky maze is aimed at children eight and over. Moozles is 7 1/2 and insisted she would be fine, and I let her go in against my better judgment (she is known in our family for being a scaredy cat). She did fine until the end (there were tears).

Howloween is on until the 2nd November, and Chessington is open until 8pm until then. This means you can enjoy rides and attractions all day and even when it is dark. But if you're a scaredy cat, you can still enjoy all the fun things that Chessington has to offer.

Rides: Now that Moozles is over 1.20m tall, she can go on most of the rides. Dubz is about 1.0m tall so he can ride about half the rides. Moozles' favourite rides are Dragon's Fury, Scorpion Express and Seastorm. Dubz loves Seastorm, Tuk Tuk Turmoil and Flying Jumbos. Zufari is a ride that is also a safari ride, so you get to see giraffes, zebras and a rhino whilst having a little adventure. If you hop onto the Chessington website, under the theme park listing, you can display the rides by thrill rating. The scarier rides are at the top, so you know which ones to run to or from.

Zoo: There are a plethora of animals, including tigers, gorillas, penguins, monkeys and lemurs. And there are even Californian sea lions, so I wasn't the only Californian there. And though not in the zoo section, there is a petting zoo of farmyard animals.

Sea Life: Besides underwater creatures, you will find a rock pool and feeding sessions. The walkthrough ocean tunnel is great and kids love feeling like they're under the sea.

There is so much to do at Chessington, so don't feel bad if you don't do everything in just one day (it's a good excuse to go back). Or if you stay at the Chessington resort hotels, you can visit over two days. We had so much fun at Howloween at Chessington. We're looking forward to another visit again soon!

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We were invited to a sneak preview of Howloween and to spend a further day at Chessington for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

 

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The Boat to Hampton Court

We have been very lucky with the weather this week. So often we must endure rainy and windy conditions during the Easter holidays but we have had such warm temperatures. Husband had a day off on Thursday. We considered going to a beach, since British people flock to beaches in droves at any kind of decent weather. Instead we thought we would take the boat/ferry from Kingston Upon Thames to Hampton Court.

After a look on the Turks website to see the boat timetable, I was happy to discover that it was Thumbs Up It's Thursday run by Kingston First. Besides all the free activities that they provide for children in Kingston during school holidays, they offer free boat rides at 10.30am and 11.15am from Kingston. I am always keen to save money so was pleased that we only had to pay £15 for Husband and myself to travel round-trip.

We got on the boat at Turks Pier in Kingston, which is behind the John Lewis. The boat is covered so you won't get too cold or sunburnt, and you don't have to worry about little ones falling overboard (though you can slide open the glass windows). We all enjoyed riding on the boat - looking at rowers and other boaters, waving to the people on land. After 35 minutes, we arrived in Hampton Court. We decided to explore the gardens. We stayed in the free bit, and the kids loved playing and hiding in the field of daffodils. We could have paid to go into Hampton Court Palace, but we weren't sure if Dubz (who is almost three) would get much out of it. Moozles went to Hampton Court Palace a couple of months ago with her school and had a great time. Husband and I have never been, but perhaps we will all go soon.

After some hide and seek in the daffodils, we had lunch at the cafe. We were pleasantly surprised at how nice the food was (about £35 for the four of us to have hot meals and drinks plus the kids had giant cookies - I had the fish & chips, which was yummy). People were having picnics on the grass, and Dubz was very sad that we did not have a picnic. But as it was our first visit there, we were not sure what to expect. But at least now we know we can go and enjoy some of the grounds and have a picnic. After some running around, we hopped on the boat back to Kingston. We will definitely be taking this trip again.

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