During the Easter break, my family and I went on a surprise holiday. And I mean it was a complete surprise. My in-laws booked the holiday through a company called srprs.me, and none of us knew our destination. It wasn’t until we got to the airport that we were able to check the website, and discover that we were going on a mini-break to Poland. I had never considered a visit to Warsaw with kids, but found it to be utterly delightful.
If you are considering a city-break with children, I can heartily recommend Warsaw. And there are many reasons for doing so. First, it is not expensive to get from London to Warsaw. The flight from the UK is only 2 to 2 1/2 hours long. There are plenty of family-friendly attractions to choose from. And while it is a big city, ubers are cheap so it is not tough getting around.
I had planned to write a post on my favourite holiday destination. But then, I couldn’t decide which place was my favourite. But what a unique position that is. I have been to so many beautiful and/or interesting places that I can’t decide on a favourite destination. Travelling brings about many wonders – you learn about different cultures, taste new food and you may see a landscape completely different than what you’re used to. I may be able to choose a favourite when I’m 92, but for now I have quite a few favourites. But I thought I would share two of them with you.
Over 14 years ago, Husband and I went on our honeymoon to Kenya. We spent one week relaxing by the beach in Mombassa and then another week on safari in the Masai Mara. The safari was magical. We we were in wonder as we spotted so many animals, including cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, and wart hogs. We even saw a pride of lions feasting on an animal they had caught. We went to Lake Nakuru – famous for its millions of pink flamingos (top photo). And we still joke about the afternoon we were eating lunch on the terrace and a monkey grabbed a biscuit out of my hand. It looked into my eyes, took the biscuit, and scampered off. Talk about a cheeky monkey!
Every year, Husband and I have a child-free holiday. Sometimes in the UK. Sometimes abroad. This year, we chose Hamburg. I call them holidays, but they’re probably technically mini-breaks as we normally only go away for three to four days. What constitutes a holiday, I wonder. Anyway, whatever it is, we went to Hamburg.
Choosing Hamburg was not very scientific. We basically had a look at where we could fly with our frequent flyer miles. And then picked three places we had never visited but seemed interesting. I did about five minutes of research and picked the one that seemed fun but not too busy. A few people asked me if we had friends or family there, as it seemed to be a random destination, but Hamburg is actually a cool and trendy city.
Regular readers will know that my son got his first passport last year, when he turned five. And since then he has begged me to visit lots of different countries. But since we spent a fortune going to Disneyworld at Christmas, we had to watch our pennies this year when it came to family holidays. When looking into European destinations for our May half-term holiday, we decided to visit The Netherlands. And when we discovered Roompot Beach Resort, we knew we had to book it through Eurocamp.
You may remember that we had our first Eurocamp holiday last year and absolutely loved it. And Eurocamp offers guests a 5% discount on the following year’s booking (every bit of savings helps!), so we were keen to book. One thing that attracted me to visit southern Holland is its proximity to Calais. We took the ferry over, and the drive to Roompot took just under three hours. That’s actually quicker than driving to many places in France.
Last month I did something pretty unusual. I said goodbye to Husband and the kids, and I went off to Italy for three days. I hadn’t traveled on my own for almost 20 years. I was a bit anxious beforehand, but it felt quite liberating to do something on my own. It was like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ with just the eating. And it turns out that Catania is a great city if you love food.
If you’ve never heard of Catania, it is located in Sicily by the sea. This means that you will find the most amazing fish and seafood. And with the growing popularity of wine being grown near Mt Etna, your meal will be complemented by some terrific wines. And because it is Italy, it is beautiful and the people are absolutely lovely.
My father-in-law turned 70 this year and he wanted to commemorate this special birthday with a family trip. So a few weeks ago we drove to Normandy to spend four days with Husband’s extended family. I wouldn’t think to spend a long weekend in France, as it seems to far away, but it was actually an easy trip.
The drive from south west London to Folkestone was about 1 1/2 hours, and then we drove onto the Eurotunnel train which only took 30 minutes to get to Calais. It was cool driving right onto the train. People mostly just sat in their cars, but there were toilets if needed. We drove swiftly off the train and then two hours later and we reached Luneray.
This journey was about the same as when we went to North Cornwall last month, but this time we were in France which naturally feels more exciting. Luneray is in Haute-Normandy. Not only does this mean that it’s closer to the UK, but it means you’re not far from the sea.
Cornwall has always been in the top five of my UK destination wishlist. It is known for its beautiful beaches, great seafood and many attractions. Really, who wouldn’t want to visit?! So I was thrilled when the lovely folks from Baby Friendly Boltholes invited us to stay at one of their North Cornwall properties for two nights over the Easter holiday.
My family and I have stayed in a few cottages in the UK, but this was our first time with Baby Friendly Boltholes. And although we don’t have a baby (my youngest is almost six), a family-friendly property really does make all the difference. As a parent, you’re already packing a ridiculous amount of things when you go on holiday with your children, and it helps to stay somewhere that has some of the things you need. At Red Barn, there were games, DVDs and toys (Dubz was partial to the transformers and the army men, which I had to make sure didn’t end up in his suitcase).
This past Christmas we decided to escape the cold of London and enjoy some Florida sunshine. My mother lives just outside Orlando, along with my aunt and grandmother, and we thought it would be nice to spend Christmas with my family and then have a few days at Disneyworld. So we swapped our woolly hats for sunglasses and headed for some winter sun and of course to see Mickey Mouse.
Many people call it Disneyworld, but there are actually six Disney parks falling under that header. Magic Kingdom is the original park in Florida, and it is considered to be the main park. It is where the classic rides are located (such as Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Space Mountain). It is where you will find Cinderella’s iconic castle, you will see all the Disney princesses, and you will experience the many parades and shows featuring all of your Disney favourites.
In the past few years, we have been making an effort to have mini-breaks and holidays in the UK. Not only is it nice to only drive a few hours before reaching the destination, but as a foreigner I love exploring the UK. There are so many beautiful towns and gorgeous buildings to admire. I wanted to share our last UK mini-break, which was a weekend in Woodstock.
Woodstock is located north of Oxford, and is home to Blenheim Palace. The palace is most known for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill. When we first arrived, we went straight to Blenheim Palace. We had heard so much about it, that we were eager to explore. There was jousting on that day, as well as a jester show. After lunch, we were feeling a bit tired so decided we would return to the palace the next day (we converted our day ticket into an annual ticket for free).
My family had our first Eurocamp holiday in May (we went to La Garangeoire). Beforehand, I spent ages googling what to pack. We didn’t do traditional camping as we stayed in a holiday home. This meant that we didn’t have to take everything. But I wanted to pack wisely so that the car wasn’t overly, and uncomfortably, full. So I thought I would offer my own Packing Checklist for any of you planning to visit Eurocamp.