Before Mark and I were Married and lived in the Seychelles he took me to Warwick Castle. He had worked there when he was younger. We had a really great time there.
Flash forward a few years to when we had Arthur it was exactly the kind of place we were excited to show him when we visited the UK. We resisted the temptation on our previous trip as he was a little young to appreciate it.
This time around though, we knew he would absolutely love it. We had already taken him to Kenilworth Castle and he’d had a great time there. I thought I’d share our experience with visiting Warwick Castle with our young kids!
Warwick Castle With Young Kids
This year Warwick Castle had added a big medieval style glamping ground. While this was pretty exciting and is definitely something we will consider next time around, it did mean that the car park was now a long walk from the main entrance to the castle, not ideal with two young kids!!
We had managed to get vouchers for the park from some Cadbury’s chocolate. We (okay, mostly me) even ate a big bag of buttons on the way so we could have another one…..I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, I am truly a hero.
It was a good thing we did have those vouchers because I was pretty shocked when I saw the entrance fees!
The castle is owned by Madame Tussaud’s (also owners of big theme parks like Thorpe Park and Alton Towers) and they have made some big changes since we had last been there. It definitely had a theme park feel to the place now. Whether that is a good or bad thing, overall I’m still not totally decided either way!!
When it rains
We were pretty unfortunate with the weather as it started absolutely tipping it down not long after we arrived. Like everyone else we then headed inside the Great Hall and the rooms to take shelter from the rain. It was nice to walk around here, but didn’t appeal all that much to the boys. We had thought that Arthur would really like seeing all the suits of armour, but unfortunately he was really rather scared of them!!! Freddie seemed to be enjoying it all though!
I was a little concerned at this point that the day was going to be a wash out because there really isn’t all that much to do inside there, that would be suitable for the little ones!
Luckily for us, the rain did eventually ease up and we headed back outside. We took some lunch at one of the stalls as opposed to trying to get inside anywhere as it was packed!
Towers and Ramparts
After having a wonder around the grounds we decided we wanted to go up to the top so we left Freddie with Gran and started our trek. In true bad blogger style I can’t remember the name of the walk that takes you around all the towers…..but the main thing to note about it, is that there are A LOT of steps. Seriously, there are hundreds! Its also really quite narrow and not a lot of railings on the internal steps. Anything that was outside though felt secure with extra railings etc!
Now obviously thats because its a real Castle and health and safety was not top priority back in those days! But, obviously its something to consider when deciding whether or not to try and take small kids up there! Arthur, at 3, was not able to walk the whole way and definitely was getting restless on the busy steps. The problem is that once you’ve started there aren’t really any ways out except the actual exit so that could be a bit disastrous if your kid decides to throw a bit of a wobbly!! Luckily, no wobblies from Arthur this time but he definitely did need some help from Daddy at some points!
Aside from all that though, it was really nice to do that and there are some amazing views to be had!
After that we decided to let Arthur and Freddie stretch their legs a bit and took him to a kids park, Pageant Playground. It was great in there with lots of different slides and walkways for Arthur to go nuts on!
We then wandered round to the other new feature at Warwick Castle which is the Horrible Histories Maze. This was something that we all really enjoyed, as we ‘got lost in time’
Arthur was playing it cool a little (read: totally posing for our new camera!) but he really enjoyed running around in there, finding all the different areas.
Let me tell you, this was definitely something all ages were enjoying! There was no way we were going to leave without having collected all the stamps first!!!
Arthur clearly is no Mastermind but you didn’t have to be to enjoy the Maze! It didn’t matter that he didn’t understand the history, he loved the whole experience of exploring the maze!
I don’t mind admitting that I was totally down with taking the chance to turn it into a little photoshoot!!!
Shows and activities
There are loads of daily shows and activities at Warwick Castle, along with special events at different times of the year. All the adults were excited about the Knights Tournament and really wanted to see the Trebuchet be fired.
With Arthur already showing that he wasn’t keen on Knights shows at Kenilworth Castle I didn’t have high hopes for Arthur being on board with this one. Particularly since I knew it would be louder and flashier at Warwick Castle. We tried our luck anyway but it didn’t take long for Arthur to get a little overwhelmed by it all. Perhaps the long walk up the towers had not been such a good idea because he was totally exhausted. I put him in the pushchair, left Freddie with everyone else and took him for a walk. It wasn’t long before he was totally out (which is quite impressive for a boy that no longer naps!)
Freddie on the other hand, was apparently totally mesmerised and loved the whole thing!!
Should you visit Warwick Castle with Young Kids?
In an annoyingly non committal answer; it depends.
For our kids, Id say Kenilworth Castle was a little more suitable for them. But, that was mostly down to Arthur being overwhelmed by the noise, business and in your face-ness that came with Warwick Castle. There were other kids Arthur’s age that were soaking in the atmosphere!
I think that picking your day weather wise is very important, as there really isn’t all that much to keep the little ones entertained in the wet.
From what I gather, there are vouchers available a lot of the time for Warwick Castle and I would definitely take advantage of that. You can also save 30% by booking online which is great and saves potential wait time when you arrive!
Next time we are in the UK, Arthur will be 5 and Freddie 3 (oh my!) and I think that they will get a lot more out of the day then they did this time around.
All in all though we did have lots of fun at Warwick Castle and there are plenty of great memories for us and the boys from our trip there!
Have you been to Warwick Castle with young kids? Would you recommend it?
I have sat down with good intentions to write about our UK trip so many times. We did so many different things that i felt that one post was not doing our trip any justice.
So instead I thought I would do a few posts about our best moments of the trip and share our favourite photos too!
About Kenilworth Castle
An absolute highlight for us was going to Kenilworth Castle. If you have never been we can highly recommend! The castle is 900 years old and is surrounded by beautiful Elizabethan gardens.
We took our visit while staying with Mark’s parents in Leamington Spa. It’s a really short drive from there which was a definite bonus with the kids!
The castle is mostly ruins now but you can still get inside and explore. Being an English Heritage site, there was loads of information around sharing the castle’s history. Not that we got much time to sit and read any of that with Arthur keen to run around and explore!
It costs £10.10 per adult and £6 for 5-15. I’m pretty sure the boys were free. There is a family ticket for 2 adults and up to 3 kids for £26.20
English Heritage members get in for free.
Our trip to Kenilworth Castle
We planned our trip to be on a day where there was a Knights performance. We thought that Arthur would be really interested in the Knights but on reflection he was a bit too young to be engaged with the ‘story’ side of it all. The show took a while to get going and all he wanted to do was go and explore the castle. We decided that while the crowds were sat watching the show that it was probably a good time to go and check out the castle anyway!
Arthur absolutely loved being able to run around and explore the ruins.
There was loads of big open spaces and that was absolutely perfect for Arthur to run around like crazy!
Poor Freddie had already been struck down with his first ever cold by this point and so was not 100%. He still enjoyed the fresh air and loved the big grassy areas to crawl around on.
He even came up with us to the top of the castle keep to take in the views!
Is it worth a trip?
In short, Yes!
We had a fantastic time at Kenilworth castle and we will definitely take the boys back again next time we are in the UK. I would definitely recommend to anyone! For us on reflection we would have been better to go on a day when there wasn’t any events on but if the boys were slightly older i’m sure they would have enjoyed that side of it. In the end it didn’t effect us too much, apart from a bit longer queuing for drinks etc!
There are loads of areas that are pushchair accessible and lots of open spaces for kids to run around.
Events are being held at the castle all the time so take a look at their site for information on upcoming events!
We have been back for a couple of weeks now and our UK trip already feels like a long time ago.
Jet lag has now worn off (We are seriously missing the jet lag induced 8am lie ins from the kids!) and we are getting used to it being just the 4 of us in our house!
Mark is back at work and next week Arthur will be back at school (he will be doing full days now but perhaps thats for another post!). Its been a while since I’ve had both boys by myself and I had definitely forgotten how much hard work that is!
I want to take the time to write about lots of different parts of our trip as separate posts as there really is so much to share! We certainly squeezed a lot into our 6 weeks!
So look out for posts about our time in
Leamington Spa with Mark’s family
our trip down to Plymouth (and Freddie’s first birthday!)
and a week away at a beautiful cottage in Cornwall with my family.
We really had such an amazing time, it was great to catch up with everyone and to see the boys experience so many things that they don’t get to back here in Seychelles. We were so lucky to be able to spend 6 weeks there. It meant we got about 3 weeks with each of our families, which was a really good amount of time for everyone to have with the boys (because lets be honest, its them that people really want to see!!)
I have a couple thousand (eeeeek) pictures to go through before these posts get done. We got a new camera and so we were even more snap happy than usual! So I have lots to be getting on with!
I do love going through all the pictures though so its not a chore! Its like living the trip all over again!
As you may have noticed, things have been mega quiet on the blog recently. I am still here I promise! We’ve been away on holiday but now we are back from an amazing trip to the UK!
I had not planned to take a blogging break while we were away but we had such a fantastic time that I barely looked at the iPad the whole time we were gone.
Of course that now means I’ve got loads to write about and lots of pictures to share, which is always a nice feeling for any blogger!
We had a bit of a rough journey coming home with me being sick as a dog for the whole 30 odd hours of travel but I can’t really remember any of that now and most importantly we are all back safely.
We are pretty much unpacked now and starting to get back to real life! The boys are settling back pretty well. We still have two weeks before school starts (although mark and all the teachers will be back in work for one of those weeks) and so we can ease back into life here before the madness of Arthur being full time at school starts!
So, that’s it for now. I just wanted to remind everyone that I am still here!! In the next week or so I’ll get my blogging head properly back on and I’m really looking forward to it!
I hope everyone has had an amazing summer!
To celebrate my 30th birthday, Mark treated us to a stay at the beautiful Hilton Labriz on Silhouette island over the easter holidays.
We stayed for two nights and we really fell in love with the place. So I had to tell you all about it!
We took a flight from Praslin to Mahe which was severely delayed (this is very unusual I must say, but they are implementing a new system there which temporarily slowed things down!). We were very worried that we were going to miss our boat so we ran out of the air port when we landed on Mahe and grabbed the nearest taxi driver who turned out to be great. We called the hotel on route and they were very accommodating and even delayed departure for a few minutes!!
To get to Silhouette Island the Hilton have a boat that runs a few times a day from a little jetty at Bel Ombre on Mahe. Its advertised as taking about 45 minutes but when we went the water was so still it took only 30 minutes! The Hilton can also arrange a private boat or helicopter ride to get you there #fancy
The boat was fully air conditioned which was nice, but if it wasn’t so flat I think I probably would have got sea sick with the lack of fresh air.
I’d recommend sea sickness tablets just in case….. no one wants to arrive on holiday after being sick on a boat, not glamorous!!
We were greated by staff waving and a big welcome banner, a nice touch!! We were then taken to our golf buggy and given a tour around the hotel with a little history of the island too which was very nice. Having our own private buggy was fun and Arthur really enjoyed it!
We stayed in a King Garden villa it was so nice.
Our bed was huge and SO comfy. They also added a bed for Arthur and a cot for Freddie. The sofa had even been made into a bed as there was a little confusion in our request so there was space for the 4 of us even if Freddie wasn’t in a cot! Arthur did like having two beds to choose from though!!
We had a little veranda which Mark and I sat out on in the evenings when the boys had gone to bed.
The bathroom was amazing and probably my favourite bit, there was a HUGE bath a lovely shower and another shower outside! The little garden at the back was totally private, so having a shower out there was great!!
Our villa was probably only about 10m away from the beach so I wouldn’t be put off thinking that its not close to the beach!! Some of them were a little further but I’d guess that none of them were further than 20m away from the beach!
The hotel was so well set up for kids. This was our first holiday as a family of 4 and we were really pleased with the facilities there.
There was a kids club, a little old for our boys, recommended for 4+ years.
The swimming pool was amazing. It was so pretty.
Split into two, one side was deeper and the other side was lovely and shallow, the boys had the best time splashing around. I took SO many pictures here, it was just beautiful!
The first day Arthur literally stayed in the pool ALL day. He even had a nap on a sun bed in the afternoon as he’d tired himself out so much (Arthur stopped napping around 4 months ago now so he really must have been tired out!)
There were bikes everywhere that you could hop on and ride, you signed them out and you had the first hour free after that I think it was 100scr per hour. The boys (and yes I’m including Mark in this!) loved this bike and had lots of fun with it
There was also lots of other little things dotted around to keep you entertained, boules, giant chess, crazy golf etc!
There is a 5* dive centre on Silhouette too. As our stay was so short we didn’t get a chance to go diving this time, but next time (yes there will definitely be a next time) we will be sure to check it out.
We had two delicious breakfasts at the Hilton Labriz. Its a buffet style with something for everyone. There was an amazing selection. Of course I took advantage of the bubbles available at breakfast too!!
We also had one of our dinners in the main restaurant, again it was buffet style. That night it was Italian and there was so much choice. There was a little play area there that Arthur loved. I liked that there were tables there so families could enjoy a stress free dinner. There was also a separate area for diners not wishing to be near the kids area!
For our second night we visited the amazing Japanese restaurant. It was so delicious. Unfortunately both of the boys were incredibly tired so it wasn’t a long visit! After eating our dinner pretty quickly Mark and I ordered a bottle of wine to the Villa and got the boys to bed.
The Spa at the Hilton Labriz is beautiful. It is set into the mountain and built around granite boulders.
The spa menu is fantastic! I had a Deluxe Pedicure which even included a head massage so top to toe I came out feeling lovely and revived!
The massages sound divine too, next time (yep there’s that next time again!) I’ll be sure to test it out so I can report back on how good it is (I know, I know, I’m a true hero!)
Seeing as we were there for such a short time we didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the beach, or really do any exploring outside of the resort. That said the beaches we did see were beautiful.
So there we have it. A fantastic stay at the Hilton Labriz, we will certainly be back there as soon as we can!
Preparing for your next holiday is not an easy task, particularly if it’s a family holiday. As a parent, I can just very well leave the kids at home and jump on a plane. They need to come with me. It needs to be a family holiday. Now, of course, this will involve a little more planning than a regular holiday, but that’s not a bad thing.
With careful planning, you’ll find the family break much more enjoyable and memorable. Having fun is the entire point of taking a holiday together as a family. So, be sure to take heed of these ideas, so you don’t leave yourself with stress and chaos!
Choose Somewhere Family-Friendly
Having lived in the Seychelles for a few years now, I’ve become acclimatised. By that I mean I have gotten used to the place, the people and the culture. And the family have done the same. So, that’s why I think that when you go somewhere as a family you need to choose a place that is family-friendly. There’s no point in booking an 18-30’s holiday if it’s you, your hubby and two kids. Think about the destination you want to choose. We picked to go to Sri Lanka at the back end of last year, and it was an excellent trip. We had a really enjoyable and fun-filled experience, and I’d recommend you try somewhere similar.
Don’t Stress Out
You’ve got to remember that it’s important you don’t stress out on your holiday. Family holidays are a stress filled time as it is so you have to remember to keep calm. There’s nothing that will ruin a holiday more than getting overly stressed. Having the whole family in the same location for a prolonged period of time is enough to cause anyone stress. But it’s important to try to remain sane and calm if you want to have a great family holiday. If you can lead by example, the whole holiday is likely to be much less stressful.
Take Everything You Need
Remember that you’re going on holiday with the whole family not just yourself. And that means you need to make sure you take everything you need with you. There’s going to be stuff for the kids that you’re going to need to pack. So make sure you think about everything you’re going to need to pack. Make sure you take everything with you that you need. Read my piece on packing for Sri Lanka with a toddler to give you an idea of what you need to pack. You might not have the option to get any emergency things once you’re out there. So don’t forget to take it all with you before you leave.
Have Fun With Packing
The fun can start before you even get on the plane. Take the worst part of any vacation, the packing, and try to have some fun with it. You can do this by getting yourself, and the family, some Personalised luggage effective if you start packing well in advance, and do little bits now and then. That way it becomes much more manageable
Family vacations should be the stuff dreams are made of. You should be able to have great fun jetting off to an exotic location to enjoy your time together. But, if you aren’t careful family holidays can end up becoming a nightmare. By checking out the suggestions I’ve made on here, you can ensure family holidays are much more fun.
Kandy: Sri Lanka with a toddler
It has been a long time since I wrote my last post on our Sri Lanka. It’s because I had to wait until we could make our little announcement!!!
So last time I wrote about our stay in Unawatuna. From there, we hired a car and driver to take us back to Colombo and from there we took the train onto Kandy.
The weather had began to turn in Unawatuna and it continued to get worse throughout the rest of our trip! Very unusual for that time of year apparently! Everyone we spoke to apologised for the weather and was disappointed for us that we weren’t seeing Sri Lanka at it’s best.
It was a shame that the weather wasn’t good for the train journey because we travelled through some amazing mountains with some incredible views. However, a lot of our views were obscured due to fog and heavy rain clouds. It was still pretty amazing going up through the mountains though!
While we had been in Colombo we booked our train tickets (a top tip as tickets sell like hot cakes). It was really so cheap for the train. We booked 1st class tickets and I think we paid £5 for us both….pretty amazing for a 3 hour journey!!!
We arrived in Kandy in the pouring rain, very dramatic! Annoyingly, we thought we had the address for our hotel (learning from our mistake in Colombo) turns out we didn’t!!! The hotel we stayed in is very new and no one knew where it is! Luckily we managed to get it sorted after not too long and soon we arrived.
Our hotel was the amazing Secret Hotel. Our special treat since we were staying there for Christmas and Mark’s 30th birthday!
It was tiny with only 5 rooms but it was gorgeous!! What really made this place special though was the AMAZING staff who were so friendly and couldn’t do enough for us.
The food was incredible too.
Unfortunately pregnancy symptoms were beginning to set in and I had no appetite for a lot of our stay. Such a shame but Arthur and Mark definitely made the most of it!
So what did we get up to while we were in Kandy?
We visited the very famous temple of the tooth. According to legend, one of the Buddah’s teeth is there. It is a truly spiritual and important religious place for Buddhists world over.
Like other Buddhist temples we had seen, the temple of the tooth was very ornate. This place though was on a whole other level. It was absolutely massive. There were so many people lined up to give offerings, mostly flowers and food.
The grounds of the temple were huge and it was such a shame that the weather was bad because they looked like they would be so lovely to walk around. There are many museums within the grounds. One dedicated entirely to a famous temple elephant, I didn’t want to go there because the elephant was there stuffed. It didn’t appeal!
We visited the big shopping centre. Coming from Seychelles, this was pretty exciting!! It was huge, there wasn’t loads of international stores but there was a mothercare which we were very happy to visit!!
It was here we picked up a pregnancy test and found out our amazing news later that day!!
We hired a Tuk Tuk and driver for the day and went out to see the elephant orphanage. On the way mark and Arthur fed bananas to wild monkeys!
There are actually two elephant places close to each other.
One is called Millenium, honestly we didn’t love it there that much. It is set up mainly to give tourists elephant rides which we didn’t want to do. The elephants there are all rescued from places where they had been working for a long time, I have to say that they all did look very healthy and well fed, and I do think the life they have there is better than the life they had before. However, I didn’t like that they spent their days giving tourists rides up and down…..just wasn’t for us!
The second place we went to is much bigger, the elephant orphanage. When we arrived the elephants were down in the river. This was truly amazing to see, they looked so happy! Arthur absolutely loved watching them, he was amazed!! We watched from the restaurant balcony of a hotel, great shelter from the rain!
We watched the staff round them up, quite a task I can assure you and they all marched back up to the orphanage. We followed shortly after. This place has had a bad reputation in recent times, but from what we read it is improving there. It looked quite like a zoo, but just for elephants! There were places you could pay to feed the elephant or give milk to the babies….again this wasn’t for us! There was a big area at the back where elephants were out and about, closely watched by the staff of course. It was quite something to get so close.
From there we were taken to a Spice Garden. It was free entry and interesting to walk around but the guy was ALL about the hard sale of his products. We kind of felt like we had to buy something so we ended up with some natural mosquito repellent balm. Actually pretty useful for us here!
Christmas Eve there was a big special dinner at the hotel. I was so upset because all I could eat was the soup, Mark reliably informed me it was amazing though!!
We got dressed up for the occasion though which was nice to do! Arthur looked so cute dressed up in a shirt for the first time!
On Christmas day (wow that makes it feel so long ago, how are we almost in March already!?) there was a little break in the rain that morning so we went for a family walk with the intention of going round the lake in the middle of Kandy. Unfortunately the rain soon returned and put a stop to that!!
We went back to our hotel and had a bit of a quiet rest of the day. Skyped our parents watched a movie. Opened the presents we had for Arthur. It was really lovely.
We took a Tuk Tuk up to the big Buddah in the hill.
A nice view from up there and it’s a pretty impressive thing to look at!
The next day was Marks 30th birthday!!!! I had arranged his birthday present back home in Seychelles (a Nespresso machine he’s wanted for ages!)
We got our Tuk Tuk driver from our day trip to take us to a few more sites. He took us to this one place, a bit of a viewpoint called ‘Arthur’s Seat’ which was pretty cool! He didn’t know why it was called that but we liked it!
We also went to the botanical gardens which were so pretty!! I would definitely recommend a trip there! There was a lot of rare plants and trees from around the world. Including the very rare coco de mer tree which comes from our island Praslin!
It was then time to leave Kandy which was sad, we had a lovely time there! Finding out we were having another baby there too means that Kandy will always be extra special to us!!
Arthur continued to be amazing throughout this part of our Sri Lanka trip, he had a lovely time in all the different places we visited! Again the pushchair was totally useless so it was all about the Moby wrap!
Our next, and final stop on our Sri Lanka trip was Sigyria! Stay tuned for my post on that!