It was day one of May half term, and after a few crazy busy weeks of school events, juggling our busy jobs with after school clubs, and the usual issues of battling the odd cold, and sleepless nights, we were ready for a change of scene…and where better than the beautiful coastline of Cornwall. We arrived at Heligan Caravan and Camping Park, and got settled into our lovely holiday home, which would be our base for the next four nights. Keen to explore, but also pretty exhausted after a long couple of weeks at school, the kids were happy playing games, while we unpacked, and had a cuppa, before becoming acquainted with our surroundings.
TraveLynn Family were offered a complimentary four night stay at Heligan Caravan and Camping Park. As we were unable to go (we were in the Dordogne), we sent the Sansam Family in our place. This is Lizzie Sansam’s (the Mum) honest review of their stay.
For all the insider tips for a family holiday to Cornwall, make sure you head over to Tin Box Travellers’ page for oodles of inspiration and ideas.
During our stay at Heligan, we stayed in a Gold three bedroom holiday home. Situated in the back half of the site, on higher ground, the views over the rest of the site were lovely, and just through the trees, the sea! The holiday home was beautifully clean and comfortable throughout.
With 3 bedrooms, it sleeps 6 people comfortably, with 1 double bedroom, a toilet en-suite, and 2 slightly smaller twin bedrooms (ideal for the kids). Each bedroom feels well equipped with a wardrobe (including hangers!), and drawer / cupboard space. In the living area, the sofa can be converted into a double bed, therefore making it possible to sleep 8 people in total. The bathroom is immaculate, with a decent sized shower, which was a nice surprise for a relatively small space.
The main living area of the holiday home feels lovely and cosy, and as a family with young children, the open plan living makes life so much easier! A small but perfectly functional kitchen, with plenty of utensils and equipment, looks onto the living area with comfy seating and a TV. Next to this is the dining table and built in corner seating. Whether it was the novelty factor, or the ease of everything being compact but easily accessible, we managed to rope the kids into helping with laying the table, washing up, drying up, and packing away after each meal, with no arguments!
At the end of the living space are French doors, which open onto a lovely decking area, with views over the park, and in the distance, the sea! A lovely space, which I can imagine in warmer, drier weather, would be idea for meals al-fresco. To the side of the holiday home is space to park at least two cars, and a picnic table, where we managed one meal in a rare moment of direct, lovely sunlight! Be prepared to share your dinner with a few tiny but very brave birds, who apparently like sweetcorn!!
Growing up I have stayed on many a campsite, whether it be in a holiday home, or my parents’ caravan, and various tents! I can honestly say however, that Heligan Caravan and Camping site, is one of the most beautiful. The winding gravel road through the holiday homes is dotted with huge trees, and plenty of flowering bushes – perhaps an ode to the neighbouring Lost Gardens of Heligan, providing inspiration to the site design.
The Holiday Homes are well spaced, as are the pitches on the rest of the camping site. Wandering through the campsite to reach the children’s playground, looking out over a spectacular view to the sea, it is easy to see why this site is a favourite. It is busy enough to feel like you’re on holiday, and the kids will have friends to make and play with, but it is a relatively small site, so it still feels peaceful.
The visitor’s reception houses a small shop, where you can buy the basics. There is also a ‘book swap’ shelving unit, plus a DVD rental, at a very reasonable price of £1 per DVD.
The site adjoins the world famous ‘Lost Gardens of Heligan’, which you can walk directly to through a gate (tickets are bought once you reach the main entrance building, with a discount as a result of staying on this site).
Heligan Caravan and Camping site has a sister site, Pentewan Sands, just a 2 minute drive away. This is a much bigger and busier site, right on the beach, and with a wide variety of services and activities. The Seahorse (which houses a restaurant, swimming pools, and soft play) is open to the public, however in school holidays, this is only open to residents at Pentewan Sands, and Heligan. We visited on a rainy day, and spent nearly 3 hours in the pool, which has two flumes – a big highlight for the little ones.
There are various cycle routes in this area, with one leaving directly from the campsite. I believe it leads to Pentewan Sands, where you can also hire electric bikes.
The local area
The beautiful coastline of Cornwall never disappoints, and being just over 2 miles away from the small fishing town of Mevagissey, and various beaches along this coastline, you’ll not be at a loss of things to do. With the quaint and still working fishing harbour in Mevagissey, for crabbing, ice creams, gift shops, and some lovely places to eat, it is a great visit. The old lifeboat station has been converted into an aquarium with free entry, which our kids loved. It may be very small but home to the biggest crabs and lobsters I’ve ever seen! A visit to the fudge shop is a must! In the harbour there are various, daily boat trips out to sea, either on fishing trips (often mackerel) or on a high speed rib, if thrills are more your thing.
Despite the weather not exactly playing ball, we still managed to grab a few hours on the beach, at the stunning Porthluney bay, with the spectacular backdrop of the Caerhays estate right behind. Daddy Sansam donned his wetsuit to show us how it is done on a kids-sized body board, in May!
Things to bring
The Holiday homes at Heligan are well equipped, so other than your usual holiday packing there is little else you need! Bed linen is provided, though you need to bring your own towels, tea-towels, washing up liquid, and hand soap. I’d also recommend chucking a couple of extra toilet rolls in when packing, depending on how long you’re staying for.
As always, with the unpredictability for our British weather, come prepared with plenty of games, puzzles, magazines etc for the kids. We’re huge fans of family card games such as Uno, and whilst exploring the area and having fun on the beach was a huge highlight, sometimes a cosy afternoon in when it is raining outside, a cuppa, cookies and a long and very competitive family game of Uno is difficult to beat. And where better to do this than in our comfy holiday home at Heligan.
The humble Mongolian yurt has had a surge in popularity here in the UK, popping up all over the countryside to tempt weekenders with a cosier and quirkier alternative to camping. I first stayed in a yurt (or rather ger) in the Mongolia desert, and would have been rather confused if you’d told me twelve years later I would be staying in a yurt in Lanzarote, and then soon after a yurt in Norfolk, with my kids.
Now we love camping with our boys. We did spend 101 days in Africa camping in a roof tent after all. But when it comes to a short weekend camping in the UK, I find it an utter faff getting the car packed up to go away. Maybe that’s down to my lack of organisational skills.
But the advantage of yurt camping is that everything is already set up for you, and you’re still experiencing sleeping and living in the great outdoors. Plus, how cool are yurts?! So I’ve reached out to some top family travel bloggers to find out their recommendations for the best family yurt holidays in England and Wales, and included my own experience of Swallowtails yurts in Norfolk.
I will be adding to this post over time as we are looking to do lots more yurt holidays in the UK!
(by Jenny, TraveLynn Family)
Where the Borrowers meet Mongolia in the Norfolk countryside. I love the quirk and colours that have been invested into the glamping yurts and Swallowtails. But above all, it is so cosy inside. We arrived on a Friday evening in the cold and drizzle, but the log burner soon made the insulated yurt extremely toasty.
There are six yurts in total and we slept in Periwinkle, which sleeps four. There’s a double bed and and a trundle day bed for the kids. The furniture is in keeping with the yurt and you’ll find everything you need, including a pull out dining table, a wash basin with jug, cooking utensils, pots and pans, and even a toy box.
My boys spent hours cycling around the big grassy area, and if they weren’t on their bikes, you’d find them in the playground. In the holidays there are activities laid on for kids aged 6 and over (nature walks, art and crafts), or perhaps try your hand at pond dipping. Read my full review here.
Westwood Yurts, Gateshead
(by Samantha, North East Family Fun)
The yurts at Westwood Yurts sleep up to 6 and are perfect for a family getaway. With fantastic facilities including outdoor kitchens, undercover dining areas, fire pits and comfortable futons which can be folded away when not in use to provide more space, every little detail has been taken care of.
Although independently operated, the yurts sit on the same site as National Trust Gibside which is one of the best NT sites in the North East. Guests receive free access and can even access the estate after hours.
Gibside offers lots of fun for families from den building to a large strawberry castle play area, walled garden, trails and it’s own pub with live music and street food over weekends. Westwood Yurts are well situated for the Metrocentre, the Angel of the North and Newcastle which are all a short drive away.
Hidden Valley Yurts in Monmouthshire, South Wales
(by Nicky, Go Live Young)
Hidden Valley Yurts, set deep within the South Wales countryside, are a beautiful collection of traditional Mongolian yurts. The five yurts are nestled among ancient woodland, next to a stream, with wonderful views of the Welsh countryside.
Each yurt has a brightly coloured door, traditionally hand-painted, and its own private decked area, with BBQ and chiminea. At the heart of each yurt is a log burner which keeps the yurt cosy and warm at all times.
The yurts sleep between five and seven people making them perfect for families. The yurts share a covered kitchen area, which has everything needed for self catering, and shared bathroom facilities.
Hidden Valley Yurts are found on a huge site, complete with meadows and woodland. There is plenty to keep everyone in the family occupied, building dens in the forest areas, playing hide and seek amongst the trees, chickens to feed and eggs to collect, and a large grassy area for games of football or rounders.
Further afield, South Wales can be explored, with its pretty towns and castles. For those that love a bit of adventure, try kayaking on the River Wye, mountain biking in the Forest of Dean or gorge scrambling near Abergavenny. The combination of the beautiful traditional yurts, the welsh countryside and the many nearby activities, make this place a winner for families.
Blackdown Yurts, Devon
(Claire, Tin Box Traveller)
Blackdown Yurts are on the edge of one of Devon’s many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The owners have limited the glamping accommodation here to four Mongolian tents to maintain the quiet character of this special place. Saying that, it’s not uncommon for the fields around the yurts to be filled with the voices of kids enjoying the open space and activities like roasting marshmallows and taking part in bat watching expeditions laid on by the owners.
Close by there’s the city of Exeter to explore, several National Trust properties and, if your kids enjoy getting filthy dirty (whose don’t?), there’s the Bear Trail family assault course at Cullompton.
Onsite, guests can use The Barn for cooking and communal dining, and each yurt comes with its own compost toilet. If you have any questions about what to pack and things to do in the area, Blackdown Yurts send you loads of information before your stay.
Caalm Camp, Dorset
(Donna, What The Redhead Said)
Caalm Camp is a collection of six yurts in the Dorset countryside near Shaftesbury. Each yurt has a wood burning stove to heat it as well as a single ring hob for a cup of tea. The yurts had beautiful interiors, hand painted woodwork, soft linen and day beds for the children.
Caalm Camp has a lot of communal facilities with a big kitchen, lounge, dining room and plenty of books, games and toys for children to play with. Each yurt has its own lockable bathroom which is fantastic on a family trip. There are pool and table tennis tables and an adventure playground too which the children loved.
Caalm Camp is a great base for exploring Dorset, going for walks or beach trips and visiting the Jurassic Coast.
Wowo Campsite, East Sussex
(Zoe, Juggling On Rollerskates)
Set in the heart of deepest Sussex, WoWo is a wondrous place for children and adults alike. By far one of the greatest appeals of Wowo of the environment. The campsite is set in a magical, natural playground…with gulleys filled with bluebells, natural see-saws created from collapsed trees, stepping stones in streams and the best hide n’ seek territory you could imagine.
With the Bluebell Railway and National Trust’s Sheffield Park both a stone’s throw away there’s plenty to do come rain or shine!
It was a Friday night, we’d just left McDonalds off the A17, and were continuing our 3.5 hour drive through the grey and drizzle. This was wasn’t exactly putting me in the mood for camping. But thank goodness we didn’t need to pitch a tent on arrival. Instead we were going to stay in a Mongolian yurt… in Norfolk.
TraveLynn Family were offered a complimentary two night stay at Swallowtails in return for coverage on the blog and social media. As always, there are all my own words and opinions.
Ducking through the small wooden door of Periwinkle (our yurt for the weekend), it felt like we had stepped into the set of The Borrowers. The warm colours of the mismatched fabrics complimented the antique furniture, and the toasty glow from the log burner made us all feel cosy and at home. My mood had miraculously lightened.
I lined up our wellies by the front door and put the kettle over the fire whilst the kids got dressed into their PJs. This was a much easier style of camping! Plus, with actual beds already made up and all light blocked out by shutters and insulated fabric, we were guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
Swallowtails is just a short walk from the old market town of Holt. So even though you’re tucked away amongst the woodland, it’s not too far to go for a pint and a wander around its charming alleyways. But stepping outside of the yurt that Saturday morning with the skies cleared, I felt hidden away in nature and we were happy to spend much of the day on site. Our boys loved the freedom of the central open meadow, and us parents were happy to let them explore whilst we sat back with a cup of tea.
Inside the yurts at Swallowtails
There are six yurts in total; four luxury 18 ft yurts (sleeps 4), a 22 ft yurt (sleeps 6), and a Lotus Belle tent (sleeps 4). Each yurt is fully insulated, meaning they’re cosy warm on cooler nights, although on a hot summer’s day you can create a nice through draft by opening the door and roof.
Plus, the yurts nicely block out the light with shutters and thick fabric, so your little ones aren’t woken early by the morning sun. Our boys slept in until 8:30 am on the Sunday morning after going to bed at 7:30 pm the previous night. That says a lot for a day playing in the fresh air and the comfort of the yurts!
We slept in Periwinkle, which sleeps four. There’s a double bed and and a trundle day bed for the kids, and electricity provided by solar panels. The furniture is in keeping with the yurt and you’ll find everything you need, including a pull out dining table, a wash basin with jug, cooking utensils, pots and pans, and even a toy box. Many of these items are packed away in little boxes and cupboards to keep things neat and tidy. Although it would have been handy to have had some shelves to store our clothes, and hooks for our jackets.
To keep food items cool, a cold box is provided and you can get ice packs from the main shop (FOC), which also stocks wood, non-perishable food items, and all important marshmallows to toast over the camp fire.
Outside the yurts
The yurts are evenly spaced around the edge of a meadow. You’re not too close to your neighbour, although the layout promotes a sense of community.
Adjacent to each yurt is a wooden gazebo which creates a little cooking area, including a gas BBQ. There’s also an outdoor dining table and chairs, two sun loungers, and a fire pit.
Behind the yurts, you’ll find a long drop toilet, with instructions for where to wee and poo to maximise composting! There seemed to be only one toilet for the six yurts to share, although there may have been another one hidden away somewhere.
You can use the bowl and jug in the yurt for washing. But if you need a shower or there’s a queue for the long drop, you can walk the 100 metres to the main toilet/shower facilities in basic portable cabins. It’s a shame these aren’t aesthetically in keeping with the main glamping site, but they are more to serve the general camping site.
Things to do onsite
Bring the kids bikes. Our boys spent hours cycling around the big grassy area, and if they weren’t on their bikes, you’d find them in the playground. You can also hire bikes on site through Huff and Puff Cycles.
In the holidays there are activities laid on for kids aged 6 and over (nature walks, art and crafts), or perhaps try your hand at pond dipping (grab some nets from the shop). There is also Friday pizza nights during busier periods.
Things to bring
Most of what you need for a weekend away camping is provided for you, and really you just need your clothing, wash bag, and food (tea, coffee and olive oil is provided). However, I would suggest packing wellies (the grass around the site is long in places and can be wet in the morning, even if it hasn’t been raining), a torch (for walking around outside at night), and slippers to wear inside the yurt.
How to book Swallowtails
If you’re looking for a glamping holiday or a yurt in Norfolk, Swallowtails is a fantastic choice to get away from it all. We love camping with the kids, but for a easy weekend away, the glamping option makes life much simpler. The yurts absolutely ooze charm and quirk, and the open space allows the kids so much freedom. Head to their website and book online at https://www.swallowtailholidays.co.uk/bookings
There is still availability for weekends in June and over the summer holidays.
Things to do in the area
If you’re looking for things to do in Norfolk with kids, these posts are a good start:
Are you looking for a hotel by Luton airport with parking? TraveLynn Family were offered a complimentary stay from Holiday Extras in return for an honest review. As always, these are all more own words and opinions.
I shared a knowing smile with a fellow Mum as she heaved the sleeping toddler over her shoulder and lent on the buggy in front of her. It was nearing 6:30am, and along with hundreds of other early-risers, we shuffled our way through the security checks queue, sighing with every inched gained. Hardened staff merely put down anyone who dared to question the delay: “This is Luton Airport. You need to be here three hours early”.
It took us an hour to get through the queue, my two boys under 5 remarkably keeping it together better than their parents. When we finally arrived at the conveyor belt laden with coats and the boys’ bags, I almost lost it when a jar of jam was confiscated from my son’s Trunki Boostapak. Jam is a liquid don’t you know?
As I contemplated the scientific state of jam, I was just extremely grateful that we had stayed at an airport hotel the night before. The alternative was to leave our home in the Peak District at the ungodly hour of 3am to then negotiate the road works of the M1, before our Luton Airport ‘experience’.
We knew the reputation of Luton and perhaps we should have flown from Manchester, our nearest airport, except the Easy Jet flight from Luton to our half-term holiday in Iceland was a fraction of the price.
The Hilton Garden Inn Luton airport hotel
Plus, Holiday Extras kindly invited us to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Luton North in return for this review. This is a Luton airport hotel with free parking (for up to 8 days) and free transfer to and from the airport, and certainly ensured that we were refreshed and ready to take on the hassle of Luton Airport. Plus, it also meant our holiday started that little bit earlier!
Whilst the Hilton name is synonymous with luxury and a high price-tag, the Garden Inn brand offers the expected mod cons of a fancy gym and swanky bar, yet remains conscious of the budget-traveller.
A picnic dinner to save money
We checked in just after 3pm and brought a picnic for dinner. There is an empty fridge in the room to keep your own drinks and food cool, and there are even communal microwaves to heat up food. Didn’t bring any food with you? Well you could order room service, dine in the restaurant, nip to Tesco Express just up the road, or grab something from the 24 hour shop next to reception.
The family rooms have blackout curtains (great if trying to get the kids down early in preparation for that early flight) and a sofa bed for two children to share. There is even a smart TV if you want to get some tunes up on You Tube whilst you soak in the bath, and dim-able side lights which were handy for when the boys were asleep before us. If you have a larger family, you can opt for connecting rooms.
Getting to Luton airport
Don’t worry about printing out your boarding pass at home, the accommodating staff will sort that all out for you, whilst they arrange some extra pillows for a blissful night’s sleep.
The reception staff will also arrange a wake up call and book your transfer to the airport (the journey took us 15 minutes); the hotel even pays for your taxi both ways! Just book your departure taxi the night before and receive a voucher to present to the driver. You will be given another voucher to keep safe for the return journey (this is booked from the taxi rank outside Luton airport on arrival and, for us, there was no waiting time whatsoever).
As for your car, there is ample space in the hotel’s car park and you can leave it until you return from your holiday. This is free for up to 8 days. It is safe, well lit and security cameras are visible.
How to book
If you’re tempted by that cheaper flight from Luton aiport, help your sanity by checking in to an airport hotel with free parking and transfers the night before.
The Hilton Garden Inn Luton airport hotel with free parking can all be booked through Holiday Extras. Or you may like to stay at one of the other nine Luton airport hotels offered through the site, where prices start from just £36 per night.
So would I fly from Luton again?
Yes, if the flights were significantly cheaper and we booked into an airport hotel the night before. Although it only works if you’ve found the right hotel and parking at Luton airport. You need to know your car is safely parked, your guaranteed a good night’s sleep, and the transfer to the airport is short and smooth.
The whole process booked through Holiday Extraswas streamlined and super easy; from parking up, checking in to our room, eating, sleeping, wake up call, then taxi to the airport.
The only thing I think we’d change for next time is to pay the £3 per person (under 2s are free) for priority lane passes through Luton airport security.
And I would have left the jam at home.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click on a link to purchase, this is at no additional cost to you, but I get a small commission which goes towards the running of this blog.
Are you looking for short or easy Peak District walks with kids? Sandwiched between Manchester and Sheffield in the north of England, the Peaks is a place that I have been visiting regularly since I was a little girl. With those green rolling hills dotted with old farm houses and country pubs, it’s my happy place, and now the place we call home.
There’s nothing better than a long walk across the Dales, over drystone walls, towards a good old English pub for lunch. Pre-kids we used to grab an Ordnance Survey map and hike for a good few hours before drying off and warming up in front of a cosy log fire with a pint. When the boys came along it was fine doing these walks with them in the back carrier, but since the age of two we have wanted to encourage them to do a walk all on their own. Plus, we found our boys to be a bit too heavy for the carriers!
So here is a selection of our favourite short walks in the Peak District. Make sure you pack LOTS of snacks and an OS Map, dress them in layers with a puddle suit and wellies (unless it’s a fine summer’s day) and start your walk early when they’re at their most energetic.
This circular walk on Stanton Moor has it all – unusual stones to explore, rocks to climb, woodland, open views and muddy puddles! It’s easily one of our favourite peak district family walks. At the start of the walk is a large rock that looks like a corkscrew – it’s begging to be climbed by the grownups if you’re up for the challenge. The walk continues round to the left, however, we often like to take a detour down the old quarry to play amongst all the boulders. A snack at the Nine Ladies Circle is standard; a Bronze Age circle used by the Druids. Enjoy the views over to Bakewell as you loop back round to the beginning.
Park down Bradford Road just a bit further on from Youlgreave Church. This circular walk takes you either side of the River Bradford. The kids will love playing with sticks and paddling in the shallow section at the end of Holywell Lane. There’s even a designated swimming area further down the river for the warmer summer months.
Post-walk enjoy a good lunch in the family-friendly George Hotel (then have a kids’ menu). If the kids still have energy to burn, there’s a good playground just past the church along Alport Lane.
Just up from the Robin Hood Inn Pub, follow the footpath sign along the base of Birchen Edge for about 1km. You may see some climbers making their way up the rock-face. However, you don’t need to rig up the ropes yourselves as the footpath follows around to the top after about 1km and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views. It can get crazy windy up here though, so shelter behind some rocks to enjoy your mid-walk snack. Post-walk, stop in the pub for a bite to eat. Well, would be rude not to!
We try to visit Blaze farm every time we’re in the Peaks. Entry is FREE and there are lots of farm animals to meet (cows, peacocks, donkeys, geese, ducks, sheep). If you’re visiting during the lambing season you may even be lucky enough to see a lamb being born in the lambing shed (arrive early). There is a short and long nature walk. We take the short walk that crosses the meadows, through the woodland (where you’ll come across carved animals in the wood and a den) and back up to the farm. Just follow the signs.
On return to the farm, head to the cosy tea room and treat yourselves to some ice-cream made on the farm from A2 milk. Behind the tearoom you’ll find a slide and a tractor to play on.
Blaze Farm is open 10am to 5:30pm Tuesday-Sunday all year round and Bank Holiday Mondays. Visit their website for further details.
This is a classic Peak District walk which can get rather busy at weekends and public holidays. Ensure you arrive early beat the crowds, unless you’re visiting during the week when it’s likely you’ll have the valley to yourselves. A flat gravel path follows alongside the river and is suitable for prams, until you reach a series of stepping stones that take you to the other side. Walk along as far as you wish, but just remember you have to turn around and follow the same route back. We generally go just a little bit further than the stepping stones (about 1km each way).
Click here for start point Distance: As long as you wish as the walk follows the same path out and back.
This circular walk can get very muddy, so make sure everyone is wearing wellies. Park up by Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and walk down through Gould Farm to say ‘hello’ to the cows (you’ll smell them before you see them!) Head down to the river and enjoy those open views across the dales as you walk between drystone stiles. Then treat yourself to a hearty lunch at the pub on your return.
Our favourite place to stay as a family is on a little farm, 2 miles north of Parwich. With a large double bedroom and smaller twin bedroom, the beautiful barn conversion named Bluebird Cottage comfortably sleeps a family of four. This is a home from home, so you have a lounge with TV and a fully equipped kitchen (including dining table, dishwasher and microwave). There’s a large grassy garden behind the cottage and our boys love feeding the donkeys. There are also goats and horses on the farm, and if you visit in Spring you’ll see lambs being born and perhaps get to hold one!
It’s a great location with beautiful walks on your doorstep, a short drive to attractions such as The Heights of Abraham, The Tramway Museum in Crich and Blaze Farm, and the local village down the road has a fab playground opposite the pub.
There is also Dover Barn next door to Bluebird Cottage, which also sleeps four. The owners of this family-run farm are such lovely people and very down-to-earth. We can’t recommend a stay with them enough.
Do you have any favourite family walks peak district to add?
A big thank you to Ordnance Survey for supplying the mapping for this post as part of the #GetOutside program. This post contains affiliate links. Should you click to purchase, it is at no extra cost to you, but I receive a small commission.
We absolutely love living in the Peak District with all the outdoor adventures and stunning family walks on our doorstep. I hope that we never take this for granted. But for those families who live in towns and cities who want to cram as much outdoor adventure into a weekend as possible, Alpkit’s Big Shakeout Festival is a must. TraveLynn Family were offered a family day pass to this adventure-loving festival in return for an honest review.
What is the Big Shakeout Festival?
This is a small, family-friendly festival, set in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall in the heart of the Peak District National Park. Days are filled with active outdoor pursuits (climbing, bushcraft, kayaking, biking) whilst evenings are spent dancing to live music or huddled around a campfire watching adventure films or listening to inspiring speakers. This is a not-for-profit event with all profits going to the Alpkit Foundation. Amazingly, the Foundation has given over £100,000 to 300+ projects worldwide, helping people to overcome barriers to getting outdoors and doing something adventurous.
Can we pop along for the day?
Tickets are only sold for a full weekend (Friday to Sunday), which is a shame as I know many families (particularly those living locally) who would like to just pop along for the day. The festival is held right at the end of September and this year the nights were bitterly cold (we woke to frost on the grass!), and we decided that it was too cold to sleep in our tent with the little ones (especially as our home is just around the corner). As an exception, we were offered a day pass to review.
However, this festival sells out every year and, as they are at capacity, this is unlikely change. So grab your alpine camping gear and embrace the adventure! Although if you would like a bit more comfort, book in to a pre-erected teepee or the lodge bunkhouse (these sell out very quickly).
How much does a weekend ticket cost?
For 2018, a weekend pass cost £65 per adult, children aged 12-16 were £25, and children under 11 were free.
Outdoor pursuit activities are booked through the School Of Adventure and are mostly at an additional cost.
You have to pay for all the activities?
Not at all. The site sits next to the Monsal Trail, perfect for a bike ride, and there are a handful of activities on offer at the stalls, including a craft tent and a self-guided woodland bug-hunt. All the evening entertainment is also free (music, lectures and films) and you should also take advantage of the fantastic hill walking around the site.
What adventure activities are there for kids?
My boys love their outdoor adventures, but unfortunately due to insurance purposes there was only one activity they could participate in (booked at an additional price through the School of Adventure). This was the BSO Mini Adventurer (suitable for ages 4-8) and my boys were aged 3 and 4 at the time.
Despite being too little to reach some of the ropes, my boys were in their element with this ropes and balance course and absolutely loved it. Their instructor, Ian, was very enthusiastic and I loved how he encouraged the ten boys in the group to work together as a team. The highlight was entering the subterranean world of The Molehole; a purpose built, underground, tunnel network to navigate with a head torch and new friends.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alpkit
For older children aged 6 and above, there are lots more activities, and even more for those aged 8 and above, including axe throwing, binerflon (shooting with nerf guns), a bat safari, adrenaline rush (swinging through trees) and bushcraft skills, to mention a few.
Is is worth visiting with young kids?
If you come just for the activities, there isn’t really enough on offer for children under 5 for a full weekend. Yes, there are craft activities, biking on the Monsal trail, bug hunts in the woods, and campfires in the evening, but these activities aren’t unique to this festival and can be done any weekend camping in the Peaks. However, as kids under 11 are free, you can embrace it as a fun camping weekend with a little added extra. It’s also a great opportunity for parents to try some outdoor pursuits if mum and dad are happy to play tag.
Chatting to other parents, it seems that 8 is the magic age and there are families that have returned year in year out and their kids get so much out of it. We will definitely be back when our boys are older!
Do we need to bring food?
As with almost all festivals across the UK, food is overpriced and we suggest bringing your own. We only had lunch in the ‘Alpkitchen’; boiled pasta with no sauce (was supposed to be a pasta bake), lettuce, tomato and coleslaw (a little disappointing for £6 per person). However, I’m reliably informed that there was pizza on offer at a food stall which was very tasty. We perhaps picked unwisely.
At registration, ensure you pick up your free Big Shakeout Mug to make the most of free tea and coffee all weekend. In the evening, head to the Foundation Bar, conveniently adjacent to the main stage, to sample local beers.
Have you been to Alpkit’s Big Shakeout Festival with kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Disclaimer: We were offered a complimentary day pass from Alpkit in exchange for this honest review. As always, these are all my own words and opinions.
Step into a magical world where woodland creatures roam free to learn circus tricks, share stories around the campfire, and congregate for an afternoon pillow fight. This is a land where the weird, wonderful and wacky are embraced with a creative quirk and quintessential English charm, igniting imaginations of young and old. This is Just So; a totally kid-centric festival which focuses on imaginative outdoor play, in the heart of the Cheshire countryside.
Things to do
Like many summer festivals around the UK, you’ll find lots of great music and amazing food stalls. But there are so many activities, installations and performances to keep the kids entertained (which in turn makes the parents’ job easier!)
The grassy fields around Rode Hall are segmented and transformed into themed areas (including Spellbound Forest, Roll Up Roll Up, Village Green) with planned activities commencing from the Friday afternoon, right through to Sunday evening. There are even activities late at night including movies, bonfire bands and a midnight feast on the Saturday. Although these were way too late for our boys aged 3 and 4, who did well to stay up until 9pm (fuelled by campfire marshmallows).
However, there are activities to cater all ages – baby yoga, capentry, custard walks, a playground of illusions, circus training, ballet lessons, campfire songs, maypole dancing, tai chi… the list is seemingly endless and this is only a very small subset of all that is offered.
This was our first ever festival with the boys and a huge success. We really had no idea what to expect and didn’t do any planning whatsoever. We love to just wander and see what takes our fancy. However, we really would have benefited from a little bit of planning as we did miss out some really fun activities and often turned up to acts just as they were finishing. Plus, some of the popular activities get extremely busy (such as the lantern making) and it would have been very worthwhile arriving early.
However, don’t chase the programme. Have a few activities/acts for each day that you would like to be involved in and then allow yourselves time to go with the flow. There are so many roving acts, quirky displays and people to meet to distract your intended path. And well, the kids always have other ideas anyways!
Picking your tribe
What really makes this festival special is how everyone picks a tribe (team) and dresses up accordingly (foxes, frogs, owls, fish, lions, stags, bees). Well almost everyone. We shamefully didn’t get round to organising costumes, which I was so gutted about as I love dressing up (lame excuse, but we had just moved house after returning back to the UK). Kids can then win golden nuggets around the festival to go towards their team’s final score. Next time…
As our regular readers know… WE LOVE CAMPING! We camped for two nights in the designated camping field in our Vango Air Tent, which was gifted to us just before the festival. There’s lots of space for camping, and the grass is nice and soft for those tent pegs. But don’t expect too much space around your tent, this is a festival after all!
Vango Endoras 500XL Air tent
We pitched up next to our blogging friends (Mini Travellers, Otis & Us, The Twinkle Diaries and Rainbeaubelle) in the caravan area as a couple had campers. This was handy for us as we could drive the car to our pitch and unload. If we were in the tent area, we would have to park our car first and then lug all our stuff to our pitch. It was then just a 5 minute walk to the festival entrance.
There are portaloos dotted around the site (we never had to queue longer than a minute) which are cleaned regularly over the weekend. Plus, there are sparkling white showers with hot water available! This festival is certainly a bit more upmarket than your student festival days 😉
Now we know what to expect, I’m going to plan for a few special activities and performances I don’t want to miss out on. It was so good meeting up with friends and making new ones (bumped into Zena’s Suitcase and globetotting.com too!), and the boys had an absolute blast! They were asking to go back as soon as we got home on the Sunday!
And I’m already planning the family costumes for Team Lion next year! Raaaaaarrr!
Disclaimer: TraveLynn Family was offered complimentary tickets to Just So in return for an honest review. As always, these are all my own words and opinions.
Arriving in the heat of Saturday morning to find out there was no space left in the family area was the only real low point of the whole event. But we stayed positive and our lovely friend Sara helped us find a small spot. She also then helped me put up the tent (which was no mean feat having never put it up in my own before) and some very friendly security guards helped us establish that I had missed an essential bit of pole…and after that things got better!
With tent finally up, we pumped up our camping air mattress, and dumped stuff in the tent, it was time to cover ourselves in glitter and hit the festival.
Flossing, Aladdin’s Cave and archery for an afternoon….
The first thing we hit was ‘sunken yard’ which seemed to be a clubbing sort of stage where they connected and responded with the audience. At the point that we arrived it was mostly us and about 30 other kids. The boys all started flossing to the music and so a flossing competition was born. Elliot’s friend Finn was superb at flossing at high speed and was crowned floss champion, we were all very proud.
Next up was ‘The cabinet of lost secrets’, where we got to sing along to some sea shanties in a little cave and then wander through an Aladdin’s Cave of mirrors and secret passageways.
The boys loved playing being taught how to fire a proper bow and arrow, the man that was teaching them was so patient and I have never seen a group of 7-9 year old boys concentrate so much!
We then ventured into the elephants graveyard, a beautifully decorated pit, humming with people dancing to music. My eldest described the sound as a clash of helicopters flying too close overhead. The overriding sense here was that we didn’t like it and had to leave; the bass was a bit much!
Photo credit: Charlie Rimmer
After heading back to base camp for some chill out time, water and Haribo, we headed back out for the evening. We hit the main stage via the human beat box (a small stage where you can perform to your own personal audience), chicken shit bingo (literally some chickens pacing around on some numbers and the number the chicken shits on gets a prize!), some hula hooping, feeding our faces with hot dogs and pizza while watching a beautiful sun set.
Photo credit: Charlie Rimmer
The headline act on the Saturday night was Grandmaster Flash, the boys really enjoyed dancing and getting to stay up late. The act that was on just before Grandmaster Flash swore quite a lot which took my eldest aback a bit (I hadn’t even noticed!) It did make me question the family friendliness of some of the later acts and if a festival is aiming for being a totally family friendly thing, the performers might need to be advised about the sweariness of their acts!
Photo credit: Charlie Rimmer
My highlights of the Nozstock experience
Spending time with old friends, covering myself in glitter and gold tattooes, watching the boys joyous expressions while listening and dancing to Grand master flash, hula hooping, a beautiful sunset with a drink in hand and brilliant live music, getting a lie in till 8am!
Highlights for the kids
Ewan (aged 9): Grandmaster Flash, seeing old friends, floss dance off competition, fire dancers, churros, staying up really late
Elliot (aged 7): Sweetshop, Archie and Finn, fire dancers, music, ice cream
Have you visited Nozstock with kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts! It is also feasible to combine your Nozstock festival with a family trip to Wales.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you will know that we like to push the boundaries of family travel and dispel the myth that adventure needs to wait until the kids are older! Over the past 18 months, with our boys (now aged 3 and 4), we have traversed India on sleeper trains, hiked to Poon Hill (3120m) in the Nepalese Himalayas and driven across Sub-Saharan Africa in a Land Rover to name a few. Now that we have returned to the UK, we are looking for adventures closer to home. So I reached out to some of my favourite travel bloggers for inspiration. From skiing in Scotland, to open water swimming, to hunting for dinosaur fossils, if you’re living in the UK or plan to visit sometime soon, I’m sure you’ll too find inspiration here for family adventure in the UK.
Does anyone know a child who isn’t fascinated by dinosaurs? If your child loves dinosaurs as much as mine, then take them to the Jurassic Coast to really spark their imagination. The Jurassic Coast is a dramatic stretch of coastline which runs from Studland Bay in Dorset to Exmouth in Devon, along the southern shores of the UK.
Hundreds of fossils are found in the cliffs and along the beaches here, and in some places they’re fairly easy to find. The best and safest place to find fossils is at Charmouth beach. You can look for fossils yourself which is free, but takes practise to find a good one. Although any fossil you find is bound to become a treasured possession!
If you want more chance of finding a fossil then you might want to join a guided fossil hunt. They go from Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre and cost £8 per adult and £4 per child. There’s no minimum age limit, and you’ll need to book online. There are some safety considerations: don’t go near the cliffs or the sea and keep an eye on small children scrambling over the rocks.
Before having children, my husband and I had a double sea kayak. Living in the Midlands, it didn’t often see the sea, but it got a lot of use in the River Severn. After the dog got a bit over excited watching a swan and fell in the river, we bought her a boat of her own and we’d tow her behind us. It was like the elephant in the room. Nobody we passed on the river ever mentioned the fact that there was a dog in a boat behind us.
The success of Soxa’s inflatable vessel gave us an idea when the children were ready for kayaking. We bought two inflatable kayaks and now, we take a kayak each and a child each and paddle down the river or around a lake. It’s the perfect little adventure for children, and now that we’ve got the boats it’s a free day out. We pack a picnic and head off in search of an idyllic spot to put down the picnic basket. We see the occasional otter and Kingfisher. There are no iPads or televisions and it’s a great way to get in touch with nature – and each other.
Crabbing off a pier in England is a quintessentially English seaside thing to do for all the family. All you really need for this is a weight, a piece of string and some bait, although most seaside towns and villages will have a shop that will sell you a bucket and everything you need for your crabbing adventure. Bait such as chicken or bacon (but just the leftovers) will work. Let your line drop to the bottom and wait until the crabs start pulling on it. If you bring the line back up slowly and hook the crab into the children’s fishing nets on a pole you’ll land more than you lose. Pop the crabs in the bucket of water while you continue crabbing and then release them all at the end of your session.
This is a free activity, unless you buy the crabbing kits, but they aren’t that expensive either. There are no age restrictions, although you will want to keep tiny fingers away from the crab’s pincers! You can do this in any seaside town, although its one of our favourite things to do in Brightlingsea – a great seaside town in North Essex.
Hiking is an essential part of all our trips. It enables you to reach places you couldn’t reach otherwise, often taking you to some of the most beautiful spots in the country. Hiking is one of the cheapest adventures there is – all you need is a pair of hiking boots and some determination and you’re away. We have done so many amazing hikes in the UK, there’s something for everybody, whether it’s a short walk with young kids or a much longer day hike with older kids. It’s a chance to chat and be together, with no other distractions, except the wonderful scenery!
Our family loves hikes with a bit of adventure – rocks, water, scrambling, climbing, stunning views – anything to keep up the interest! Recently we’ve hiked up Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales and explored much of the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Snowdonia and Skye are like giant outdoor playgrounds. Two beautiful parts of the UK, and well worth visiting.
We have always been believers that life doesn’t have to change when you have children, and myself and Mr Otis and Us have always LOVED our music, and spending time outdoors. Our Summer isn’t complete without attending a family friendly festival with the kids, and we try to attend a festival every year. There are so many amazing festivals to choose from around the UK. I find there is something special about throwing on a pair of wellies, spending time outdoors whatever the weather and throwing out the routine for a weekend. There is often great programmes on for the kids, whatever their ages and they are always so spoilt for choice. I am always amazed at how much there is for the kids to do… from tribal tournaments, craft tents, circus skills, woodland fairy trails, pillow fights and lantern parades, not to mention the music and shows…..I am really not sure who loves the festivals more – the adults or the kids. We are heading to Timber Festival and the Just so Festival this year and I am so excited for another year of making memories, I just need to remember to pack the face glitter and glow sticks…
My husband and I have always been keen swimmers and once got a boat to the Isle of Wight so we could swim back to the mainland. So, it made sense to get the children into it too. We love the Wild Swim UK map, and look for safe water spots where the children can get in and paddle.
I swim in the river once a week, but wouldn’t take the girls in anywhere with a current. So, we aim for a calm pool where the focus is on wading in rather than swimming. On the day my eldest learnt to walk, we took her to a local paddling spot where she could have a dip in the water, a picnic and a play on the rope swing that somebody had put in. It’s an idyllic way to spend an afternoon. (Natalie, Plutomium Sox)
Skiing in Scotland
(Jenny, Monkey and Mouse)
After watching the Winter Olympics my 4 year old decided that he wanted to take up snowboarding. Unfortunately for him he’s a bit little to snowboard yet, so we decided to settle on trying skiing instead. I was seriously considering a local dry ski slope, but when a friend told me it was only an hour and a half to Glenshee from Stirling I was convinced on actual snow!
I booked both boys in for a private lesson with an instructor, but it soon became clear that my 6 year old was making great progress, whilst my 4 year old was struggling with stamina. To give his brother more of a chance I took charge of helping littlest practice balancing on his skis on a shallow slope until his brother had finished the lesson. It was a little stressful on my own, so on our second attempt at a lesson I booked in my 6 year old alone and just hired skis for the 4 year old and myself to play on the nursery slope. I also chose to invite my mum to take littlest to the cafe when he was tired, giving me a chance to play and take the 6 year old down a couple of runs after his 2nd lesson.
It was a brilliant experience for both boys, with the 4 year old becoming more confident and probably much more capable next year when he’s taller and stronger. But my 6 year old really shined! After just a couple of lessons he had mastered all the tows and chairlift and had made it down his first few runs without falling once on them. Comparing his private lesson to those in group lessons, I was glad we had chosen that route. Those in group lessons were often held back by the less capable and were unlikely to progress so quickly. If you are short of time (or just based in Scotland with a short snow season) and want to get the kids up the slopes quickly book them in for private lessons, although it’s a lot better for over 5’s. Also, keep an eye on the Scottish weather, it’s not normally good snow until February, although this varies from year to year.
We’ve always loved sailing as a family and wanted to get the kids out on the water – knowing that sailing lessons start when they are 8 with the local sailing school we decided to go for a trial instead. With the kids and us on board a little cat, we had an instructor with us sailing out from the sailing school and onto the river Deben estuary at Felixstowe.
The kids 6 and 7 LOVED it, they even got to pull the sail in and helped to bring the boat up on the dock. Although we are waiting for them to join the sail school when they are both 8 we have off of that experience booked a family sailing holiday this summer and look forward to spending a fortnight sailing for the first time as a family.
If you want to give it a go check out your nearest sailing school, the age your children can start or you can start to learn as a family can vary but you can normally get some experience on a trial out on the river or sea around the UK.
Exploring castles with young children might not be everyone’s idea of family adventure, but with a little imagination it can be fun for everyone. And there is nowhere better to have some family adventure fun exploring castles than South Wales. From the air raid tunnels in Cardiff Castle, to daring to meet the dragons at Caerphilly Castle, South Wales has many different castles to explore.
During our time living in South Wales we explored no less than eight castles with our young son, turning our visits into dragon hunting adventures to make it more interesting for him. Making a game out of your visit means exploring old or ruined castles becomes more fun for little ones and lets the adults enjoy the historic site at the same time.
Entry costs less than £10 per person or is free if you are a member of Cadw (the Welsh heritage membership), and many have free parking and cafés to ensure a great family day out.
I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones and since Winterfell is in Northern Ireland, I wanted to visit it. It wouldn’t be fun for the kids, BUT we found out they offer an archery experience on the set, so that’s what we decided to do! There are 2 different packages. The cheapest one is for a group of people, and it only accepts children over 8. We took Ned’s Package, which is a private class and takes kids from 6 years and up. My youngest was 5, but they accepted her anyway. It was a great day, all the kids loved trying archery with a longbow and real arrows, but they also had fun walking around in cloaks and carrying (foam) swords through the filming locations.
The instructor was great with the kids, and it was one of our best UK day-outs, for sure!
The SS Great Britain makes for a great day out with kids in Bristol. At first you may think it is just a museum on a very old boat, however there is an adventure to be had! When you get to the weather deck you are invited to climb the rigging! “Go Aloft” is completely free for kids, however for safety reasons you have to be 10 years old and meet the height restriction to take part. (Adults can climb the rigging too but there is a £10 fee).
The friendly “Go Aloft” team equip you with all the gear you need and walk you through how to climb safely. Once you get to the top of the rigging you also have the option to walk across the mast. Our 10 year old loved it and said it was really exciting. She said the view from the top of the rigging was amazing, unfortunately I wasn’t brave enough to find out for myself!
Our son has always been a huge fan of animals, and has always loved visiting farms to see them up close, and sometimes pet some of the animals. He spent his first two years in the UK, where we took him to several farm parks, especially in his native Wales. Most of them revolve around the main activities of meeting, feeding and petting the animals, with other things to do besides.
The first one we visited was the farm at the National History Museum of Wales in St Fagans, near Cardiff. We took him there as a baby and toddler, and he loved seeing the piglets cuddled together sleeping and seeing the ducks waddle around the farmyard, as he toddled around after them.
He also loved going to the Amelia Trust Farm, a charity farm ten miles out in the countryside in the Vale of Glamorgan. In this farm we took him along to the feeding sessions, and he especially loved seeing the lambs being bottle fed. This farm also had a couple of great woodland walks which he loved to explore.
We also took him to the Foel Farm Park on Anglesey in North Wales, where he loved seeing all the animals, and had a great time riding on the big tractor out in the fields, with a great view across to Caernarfon Castle a few miles across the Menai Strait.
We introduced our girls to cycling adventures and bikes from a young age and they love it. Our first day out on bikes was in Surrey at the beautiful Alice Holt Forest where there is an easy access cycle trail with lots of kids activities along the way. We were also able to hire a tag-along for the girls. In the south west of England one of our favourite places to cycle is the Tamar Trails where you can get a history lesson in Devon copper mining as you explore 25km of trails around old quarries. If you’re looking for cycle paths attached to other family-friendly activities then Lanhydrock National Trust estate on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall is a great day out. Our girls loved the pump track and the adventure playground next to the National Trust cafe where we refuelled on coffee, cake and ice cream. The go to place for finding cycle routes for all abilities is the charity Sustrans which maps the National Cycle Network. Happy cycling
If your kids have a taste for adventure, a stay in a haunted castle might just be the perfect trip away. St Briavels Castle (Gloucestershire) was built in the 12th century and is one of Britain’s ‘most haunted’ buildings. In its long history it’s been a Royal castle, an armaments store outpost of the Tower of London and a debtors’ prison. Graffiti written by the prisoners awaiting execution at the Castle can still be seen in the dorms and it is said to them that haunts its stones. St Briavels is owned by English Heritage and operated by the YHA as a youth hostel. If being haunted isn’t exciting enough, there are medieval banquets on some nights with mysteries to solve and also archery. Family rooms start at £69 for a room for 4 people and 6 bed private rooms start at £89. Accommodation is in simple bunk and single beds in historic rooms, some of which have ghoulish secrets to reveal. For unique accommodation at a bargain price, St Briavels is a great adventure into medieval history. Just don’t blame me if you see a ghost!
For adventurous kids aged 5 and up, head to Surf Snowdonia for an over-water obstacle course to test agility, balance and is a crazy amount of fun. Whilst waiting to go on, my friend and I silently decided that none of our kids would be able to manage it, whilst confirming outwardly to them that they would be able to easily. As the first two started I was amazed they were going to be able to do it – yes they fell in but that’s the point, yes they were a little scared at points but they were only aged between 5 and 8, and yes they felt a huge sense of achievement when they got to the other end. Cost: from £15 off peak for 1hr including wet suit hire.
(Danny Newman, Coddiwomp)
I guess this one might be stretching the bounds of what constitutes an adventure, but the popular activity of mudlarking on the banks of the Thames River, London, is most definitely fun filled and fascinating! I’d argue it’s an adventure of sorts!
Mudlarking is the process of searching for historic items in the ‘mud’ of the Thames’ banks at low tide. With water of questionable cleanliness it can be mucky business, so be sure to pack the wet wipes, but it is also remarkable what you can find.
Nestled on the shoreline are all manner of amazing objects to be discovered. From clay pipes, smoked hundreds of years ago, to pieces of coloured glass and pottery from even further back, mudlarking opens a door directly to bygone London times.
To pick up the pieces of history is downright exciting. It’s a tangible connection to the past and to the people that walked the streets centuries, and sometimes even millennia before you. The kids will love it and I wholly recommend everyone gives it a go the next time they find themselves in London!
Have you a fantastic family adventure in the UK with kids that isn’t included here? I’d love to hear about it!
It had been an uncomfortable night flight from Joburg where us parents hardly slept a wink. As we sat waiting for our connecting flight to London on one of the few available chairs available at bustling Addis Ababa airport, I couldn’t help but feel a little teary as I watched the throngs of travellers scurry by. We had come to the end of our epic 3.5 month travels around Africa with our two boys (aged 3 and 4) and my mind was only just beginning to process it all.
The end of a big adventure always brings a flurry of mixed emotions. But to help ease us with the transition back to normality, we had been invited to stay a night at the Park Inn by Radisson on arrival to Heathrow. This proved to be the perfect pit stop to take a breather before embarking on our next chapter. This is our Park Inn by Radisson review.
Arriving to Park Inn by Radisson
Getting to the Radisson Blue Park Inn could not have been easier. We hopped into a taxi sat outside Terminal 2 and took the short 1.6km drive to the hotel entrance. You could take the Heathrow Hoppa transfer bus, which is a flat fare of £4.50 per adult (when booked online, £5 otherwise), children under 12 are free. However, the taxi only cost us £10.30 door to door (including airport surcharge).
Unfortunately check-in was not as straight forward. We were all shattered from the long flight and had been on the go for almost 24 hours. All we wanted to do was to get into our room and relax, but the queue for check in was long and barely moving with only one member of staff on hand. Thankfully, a member of staff recognised the signs of two frazzled parents and took us to the side to swiftly check us in, and provided the boys with an activity pack to keep them entertained.
We were provided with a spacious suite on the ground floor. A hallway leads to a lounge, with sofa, TV and where the children’s bed had been made. A double door then leads though to the separate master bedroom, with large flat screen TV, writing desk, and hot-drink facilities.
Off from the master bedroom is another hallway leading to a large bathroom on one side (with separate bath and shower), and on the other a walk in wardrobe with dressing table.
Rooms are extremely spotless and have a contemporary-business style to them. The soft towels, power shower and fluffy bathrobe provide a taste of luxury. WiFi is free and fast.
We also appreciated the heavy, black-out curtains, as our visit coincided with the late summer evenings of June and we wanted our boys to have an early night. The extremely comfortable beds assured an excellent night’s sleep.
Room service is available serving standard pub dishes. However, we didn’t eat dinner as we were rather full from the food served on our flight. In the morning we enjoyed a sumptuous buffet breakfast in the dining room (breads, fresh fruit, yogurts, cereal, English breakfast and juices).
The boys went out like a light that night. After enjoying a warm bath, hubby and I snuggled under the feather-soft duvet and switched on the TV to watch David Attenborough narrate a Southern Africa documentary (rather surreal when you consider we were there 24 hours ago). Then, for the first time probably since the boys were born, I enjoyed 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Perfection.
Disclaimer: TraveLynn Family were offered a complimentary stay in return for an honest review. However, as always, these are all more own words and opinions. Some photos in this post were provided by Park Inn Radisson.
Were you an intrepid backpacker in your previous life? Exploring distant and exotic lands on a budget, getting off the beaten track and feeling like you were doing something different? Now that young kids are in the picture, travel priorities may have changed. But you don’t have to get sucked into the package holiday bubble. Adventure travel with young kids is possible! Jenny x