Short Breaks With Kids in and around the UK

We are coming up to our next UK Trip and we are getting super excited about our visit.

As the boys are getting older we feel like we can adventure more and more and visit new places.  We have already booked a short trip to France where we will be doing Disneyland and then heading down South for my Sister in law’s wedding.

Booking that has definitely made me realise that there is so much in and around the UK that is accessible to us when we visit that we really need to take advantage of during our visits.  So I thought Id write down a few different things as a mini travel bucket list of short breaks with kids on our next few visits to the UK.

Short breaks with kids in and around the UK

Scotland

Mark and I have NEVER been to Scotland which seems crazy to us both.  We are totally desperate to go and explore such a beautiful part of the world.

short breaks with kids in and around the uk

I want to explore Edinburgh which just looks like the most picture perfect city in the world with so much history and culture and then head out to highlands where there seems to be endless adventures waiting.  CairnGorm Mountain looks amazing, especially the funicular railway.  I know the boys would love that, trains are of course a big novelty to my little island boys seeing as there are no trains here.  VisitScotland has a great itinerary for the highlands with kids

 

The Channel Islands

Geographically in-between the UK and France, The Channel islands are neither British or French. They may be small but they are steeped in history.  Guernsey is the closest to the UK and the Bailiwick* of Guernsey also covers  the islands of Alderney and Sark.  There is also of course Jersey which is it’s own Bailiwick.

I think we would make Guernsey our base and then head off to explore other islands from there.  You can reach Guernsey with Condor Ferries

short breaks with kids in and around the uk

Castle Cornet is definitely going to be a must for us.  The boys love castles and this is a whole island castle!!

Lots of little islands also means lots of coastline to explore which is definitely something Arthur and Freddie love.  The Channel islands have some seriously beautiful beaches, which means a lot coming from us!

*If you’re wondering what this word means it’s basically the ‘division of or district’…..I’d never heard of it either until I started reading more about the Channel Islands!

 

The Lake District

A walking holiday is something that really appeals to me with kids.  In the UK the Lake District is the obvious choice.  Apart from being absolutely beautiful, there are huge amounts of activities for kids of all ages – A definite bonus when the novelty of walking wears off for the kids!  The Lake District National Park website has huge amounts of information on what’s going ideas.  I love that they have a dedicated section to people walking with pushchairs too.

short breaks with kids in and around the uk

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

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

Visiting 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!!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

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!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

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!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

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!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

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!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

Aside from all that though, it was really nice to do that and there are some amazing views to be had!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

Playgrounds

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!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

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.

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

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!!!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

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!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

I don’t mind admitting that I was totally down with taking the chance to turn it into a little photoshoot!!!

Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

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!!

The knights.  Visiting Warwick Castle With Young Kids

 

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!

Visiting Warwick Castle with Young Kids

Have you been to Warwick Castle with young kids?  Would you recommend it?

UK Trip Summer 2016

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

UK Trip Summer 2016

 

our trip down to Plymouth  (and Freddie’s first birthday!)

UK Trip Summer 2016

and a week away at a beautiful cottage in Cornwall with my family.

UK Trip summer 2016

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!

 

 

Still here!!

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!

Still here!!  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!

 

 

 

Our UK trip {Plymouth}

So this post is pretty late in coming but better late then never right 🙂

After a lovely time in Leamington Spa with Mark’s family we headed down to Plymouth to see mine 🙂

The trip was about 4 hours in the car and Arthur was really good, that’s the longest by far he’s ever been in the car for! (We did take a break half way down for the obligatory gallon of Starbucks!!)

It was so nice to see mum and dad and to be back at their place again. Arthur of course, made himself at home right away and was charging about all over the place!! There were three floors to explore and he loved it!

A nice little treat for Mark and I was that mum and dad wanted Arthur in their room with them (fools!!!) so we got nice lie ins the whole time we were there!! Arthur was a bit of a monkey with getting up early but I think he was just very excited to play with his nana and grandfarji!!! He’s not used to being in a room with other people and whenever he is he tends to wake up earlier!  We also took advantage of grandparents babysitting again and went for a nice dinner out one night! I also took a night out with my best friend Hannah to a wine bar (very sophisticated of me I know!).

While we were in Plymouth Arthur had lots of time at the park and he became a bit of a slide fiend!!

A lovely day out we had was at Pennywell Farm. Arthur really loved it there and I was made up as I got to cuddle a micro pig!!!!! It was a really great day, loads of activities going on to keep kids entertained and lots of lovely animals!!
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We went to Paignton Zoo, it’s a little bit obligatory to go there whenever we are in Plymouth….there’s kind of a story where I might of definitely did throw up around (possibly on) some goats, and a few other animals (yes I was very hungover and not the more acceptable excuse of being pregnant)…my dad even told that story on my wedding day (thanks dad). I can confirm that there was no throwing up this time by the way!!
Obviously the animals were amazing but a highlight was that SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH was there doing some filming for an upcoming show, however We created a conspiracy that he’s never actually left the UK and has done all his filming in the UK!!! Anyway he smiled and so I’d say we are definitely friends now!
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Something really cute that day was Arthur and my brother in matching outfits!
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We went to the National Marine Aquarium which was great, Arthur loved it but it was so so busy which was a bit annoying but that’s the school summer holidays for you I guess!!
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The aquarium is on the Barbican, a place I absolutely love!
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It then leads on round to the Hoe which is also really really nice, it’s so pretty and there’s so much history there! I was really looking forward to being there with Arthur and of course getting fish and chips (actually I have sausage in batter but that’s not the point!!)

Mark and I went down to the Monkey Sanctuary in Looe one day and met up with Hannah and her daughter. We had a really nice couple of hours there. You pay once and get a years ticket, it wasn’t expensive and you can see that the monkeys have a really good life there. They are mostly ex-pets (people are crazy thinking they could have a monkey as a pet!) or have been rescued from some dodgy circus of some kind so it’s lovely to see them having a much better quality of life!

We headed back down to Cornwall again and went to mount edgcumbe to play frisbee golf. I have to say I wasn’t sure about going as I’m rubbish at gold and frisbee so my prospects weren’t good but we had so much fun there I can not recommend it enough.   Check out their website here. It was a really fun day out, a great walk round the beautiful mount edgcumbe with a competitive element added and of course some exercise too! The guy that runs the place was super helpful, friendly and amazingly passionate and his love of the sport is truly contagious!
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Perhaps my favourite day out was to Slapton Sands where we wrapped up warm and took Arthur to the lovely great big pebble beach….a little different to the beaches he’s used to but he loved it, after all he loves the water and he loves playing with stones so what’s not to love for him!!
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Okay this is getting pretty lengthy now. Anyway I’ve got most of our big outings down here but also we had what felt like a lot of really nice quality down time as a family. And of course Arthur loved spending time with his Nana, Grandfarji and Uncle Will in Plymouth!

Things I found strange – Our UK Trip

So it had been two years since we had left the UK and we were really excited to go back for the summer to visit friends, family and places we hadn’t seen in a long time.
Of course we had a wonderful summer, but, there were a few things I found strange while we were there!

Firstly, we left the UK as a just married couple and now, what seems like no time later, we returned with our 1 year old son…the two years passed so quickly!!

Driving from the airport to Mark’s parents house I felt like we had never left, it really was strange it’s like we slipped into our old lives right away. It was like we had two seperate lives, our UK life and our Seychelles one….

That is until we went to the shops, any shops whether it was the supermarket, clothes shops, toy shops even a halfords. Everything was MASSIVE and there was so much choice!!! We really aren’t used to that here, if we can get something at all there’s not going to be different brands to choose from. There’s certainly no offers like buy one get one free!! We found ourselves just stood in a shop and kinda freezing not really knowing where to start!

We were reminded just how much people live through their phones in the UK. A walk outside anywhere you will see people’s head buried In their phones. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing but you just kind of forget that’s how things are there….this is my phone now and I hardly use it, in fact days can go by where I don’t look at it, we see most of friends on a daily basis even if it’s just in passing and so most things are organised that way! **I will say that I have my iPad at home and I would be lost with out that!!**

Smoking is still pretty popular!! Not so many people smoke here and so you don’t really come into contact with it very much!

I noticed a few things that affected me too:

I realised just how humid it is in the Seychelles as back in the UK I had that feeling of being completely dried out, my skin and my nose….that kind of feeling you get from a ski trip!

As a contrast to that my hair reverted immediately to how it was before we moved away….I had to wash it every day to avoid it being greasy, very annoying!!! Here I do every other day sometimes even a couple of days!

Another realisation was how much make up people wear. On a day to day basis here I wear no make up but I instantly felt the need to throw on at least some mascara before leaving the house when we were back in the UK to avoid feeling like some sort of leper!

 

These were all things that I found strange and definitely not expected!  Are there any things that you find strange when you go back ‘home’ ?

Seychelles Mama
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Trips to the Park {The Ordinary Moments} #20

Something that became an ordinary moment for our little family this summer was trips to the park.

For the first couple of weeks the weather was mostly kind to us (despite the fact that Mark and I were freezing in the mornings and evenings…..wooly socks and hoodie freezing!!).

The first time we went he had a nice time wondering around, to be honest he wasn’t that interested in going on anything. He definitely didn’t like the swings! We have a swing for him at home and he’s yet to really warm to it! He was excited by the roundabout but didn’t like it too much when it was going round!!

By the time we had been there a couple of weeks Arthur was getting a lot more confident at the park and was really enjoying it there!
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He had started to really like going up into climbing frames and was starting to show a bit of interest in slides but didn’t seem to like going down them particularly!

We then headed down to Plymouth and Arthur got to go to different parks! Mum and dad got him going down slides feet first on his belly which he loved!! Arthur was getting really confident with climbing up and around climbing frames (wooden ones). The weather was not as nice for us but we could bundle Arthur up warm and he still had a great time!

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There is a little play area for kids at Mark’s school and I’m going to try to get Arthur down there as often as I can. He’s really enjoyed the little trips to the park and I’d love to keep that little ordinary moment going!

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linking up with Katie for The Ordinary Moments

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Joining Jamie for Magic Moments