10 tips for camping with kids

camping with kids 10 tips for camping with kids

Sure we love to travel and visit new cultures, try out different languages, discover amazing new vistas.
But we do love to camp.
Drop out, switch off from the grid and sleep under the stars.
I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I can honestly say you should at least try it for the sake of your kids. For that freedom to run wild and free, be dirty, discover Mother Nature, chill out, and flop into bed utterly exhausted is the stuff of powerful childhood memories.
And with the school holidays in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about it seriously.

So how do you do it? How do you go camping with children and not lose your sanity?
We’ve camped since Mia was 6 months old, so nearly nine years now, and there’s no sign of us stopping.
We’ve put tents up in the rain, sat in searing sunshine and started a newly-invented game of basketball rugby on the land in front of our tent that saw pretty much every child (and many adults) from the campsite join in, like an experiment in osmosis.

Granted my children are older now, which makes this a while lot easier. But I’ve done the breastfeeding on a director’s chair years. I’ve changed nappies on the floor, tried to keep the tent pod dark for a sleeping baby. And we survived.

So, here are my top tips for camping with kids:

1. Travel with friends
It’s number one for a reason; if you can camp with others who have kids you instantly take away many of your problems by giving your children someone to hang out with. And when the kids are happy and off playing, mum and dad can drink beer. Or in my case, Pimms.

camping friends 10 tips for camping with kids camping with friends 10 tips for camping with kids camping with other families e1406159650264 10 tips for camping with kids

2. Camp local
You really don’t need to travel far to get that ‘in a valley in the middle of nowhere’ feeling.
One of our very favourite sites is a 30 minute drive from our home so we take two cars, the dog and everything we probably don’t need.
Once you’re on the site you could be anywhere, and if you’re not far away you can always pop back if you’ve forgotten the tent poles (oh, yes, we’ve been there too. It was the husband’s fault, obviously).

camping view 10 tips for camping with kids

3. Word of mouth is king
Ask around for recommendations of camp sites people have stayed at and enjoyed. Many times the site looks wonderful online but you can’t beat someone who has actually been there for first hand feedback.

4. Glamp
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to travel light and be a ‘proper camper’. Rubbish, take everything you need to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. And it that means packing your slippers or your duvet or a solar-powered electric blanket, then so be it.
I’ve had eye rolls from people when I tell them I take an electric kettle and a mini fridge. They’re looking on with envious eyes when I make a cup of tea and can store my bacon safely in the searing sunshine.
It’s your camping trip, you enjoy it. So overpack. Take luxuries.

5. Embrace dirt
Mother Nature is dirty. Very dirty. Mia spends her whole weekend with toes so black I despair they will never be clean again. So what.
Leave the grime, don’t worry about getting them to shower every day and let them chill out and be mucky.
There’s plenty of time to scrub them clean when you’re home and think of the fun they’ll have.
Now if I could just get my 11 year old to take his damn socks off when he’s running around outside because scrubbing feet is infinitely easier than scrubbing the ground-in mud on the bottom of socks.

getting muddy when camping 10 tips for camping with kids

6. Plan for rain
Just assume it’s going to rain. Then if it doesn’t it’s a big ole bonus. If it does, you’re prepared.
Changes of clothes, towels to throw down on the floor, things to do if you’re stuck inside for a while.
Or, if you’re camping in the summer and it rains, just go outside and enjoy it and have some nice warm clothes to come back and get changed into.

7. Invent games
One of the best games we played that had everyone giggling – old and young alike – was welly wanging. You’ve got your wellies there anyway in case it rains (see point above) so make use of them.
Rounders is a brilliant game that everyone can join in with, and you’ll usually find that other kids end up asking if they can join in and voila, you’re meeting new friends.
Another favourite if there are only a few of you, is a scavenger hunt. Give them a paper bag each, with a list of items to find written on the front (straight twig, round leaf, rough stone, unusual leaf, feather etc) and every time they find one of them, they add it to the bag and tick it off the list.
Use Mother Nature; let her guide you.

camping adventure 10 tips for camping with kids

8. Pack wisely
If you pack nothing else make sure you at least have these things: Wipes, dry shampoo, bug spray, eye mask (unless you like waking up at 4am when the sun rises), lots and lots of snacks, mini torches for the kids (you can pick them up really reasonably in supermarkets or DIY stores)

9. Stay warm
It can get chilly at night – even when you’re sat out under the stars with your toes in front of a fire. So pack everything you’ll need to stay warm. Bed socks are a must to keep your toes warm at night as you get into bed and you can always slip them off if you get too toasty.
And take fleecy blankets to throw over your knees, round shoulders or over the end of your bed.

camping sleeping baby 10 tips for camping with kids DSC 0108 10 tips for camping with kids

10. Chill. Out
Accept that it’s going to be hard work, putting up and taking down the tent. Accept that the kids are going to eat junk, be dirty and go to bed at ridiculous times.
Then kick back, switch off and chill out.

Screen shot 2013 06 30 at 23.33.57 10 tips for camping with kidscamping sleeping baby 10 tips for camping with kids

Posted in Family Holiday, Travel | Tagged | 3 Comments

Win a Trunki PaddlePak

paddlepak Win a Trunki PaddlePak

If there are two things Mia loves in this world, it’s swimming and animals.
What she doesn’t know is that while we on our Caribbean Cruise very soon, we’ve arranged to go horse riding in the sea and to swim with dolphins. I think she will actually burst with the excitement. Hell, I might burst with the excitement for her!

Mia discovered swimming quite late really. Last year at the age of seven she asked if she could have swimming lessons (whenever we’ve asked if she wanted to in the past she’s replied with ‘what for? I CAN swim’. Well, she could doggy paddle very stylishly and actually get quite far, but it wasn’t pretty.
However, she started lessons and we discovered that she’s actually a bit of a mermaid. She loves it. She’s really good at it. She’s a natural.

So I take her along to her lessons every week. Curse at the blue plastic overshoes I have to put on. Curse at the soporific heat in the pool as I sit and watch. Curse at the soggy towel/costume/bag I have to wrestle with.
But then Trunki got in touch and asked if Mia would like to try out their brand new Paddlepak.
The backpacks are perfect for the beach they said. And trips to the pool. They are water resistant AND they come in styles such as Killer Whale, Dolphin, Shark and Clown Fish.
SOLD!

killer whale paddlepak Win a Trunki PaddlePak

As you can see Mia is a huge fan. I did wonder if she would be too old for them, but not a bit of it. It goes to swimming lessons and it’s coming to the beach with us while we’re away.
The pack has acres of space, has a clever fold over top with clip to ensure everything stays in and nothing gets in (i.e. sand!), has a mini pocket in the tail for essentials and a special little grip for sunglasses.

Paddlepak washbag 300x300 Win a Trunki PaddlePak

COMPETITION
So, how would you like to get your hands on one of these gorgeous Paddlepaks for your little one? There is the choice of 10 different designs.
I’ve teamed up with Trunki to give away 2 Paddlepaks, worth upto £24.99 each.
PLUS each winner will also get one of these little fellas too; a gorgeous Jellyfish wash bag, worth £9.99 each.

All you have to do for a chance of winning is enter via the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules:
The competition is open to residents of the UK only (sorry rest of the world).
No cash alternative offered.
The prize is two Trunki Paddlepaks worth unto £24.99 each. Plus 2 Jellyfish wash bags worth £9.99 each.
Entry is via Rafflecopter.
Make sure your contact details are easily available.
The competition closes at on Sunday August 10, 2014.
One winner will be chosen at random from all the entries after the closing date.
The winner will be asked to provide their full name and address for the prize to be sent to.
If a prizewinner does not respond within a week of being contacted, the prize will be re-drawn and a new winner will be contacted.

Posted in Competition | 120 Comments

The Photo Gallery 194: Animals

poppy and rufus bed The Photo Gallery 194: Animals

In just a few days time this very lucky family are off on a Caribbean Cruise.
But sadly our bestest buddy can’t come with us. And whenever we go away he puts on this face. He really really misses us. Or at least he really really misses the kids. I’m just the mug who feeds and walks him every day.
This is his ‘so. You’re off again then. Ok’ face.

However, Ronin will in fact be going on his own little holiday for he is staying with the in-laws who live a mere minutes from our home and who love him dearly.
AND to make the transition that little bit easier, online ‘Beautiful and British’ company Poppy & Rufus have gifted him an amazing new bed.
Look at him. He absolutely loves it. It really is a luxury dog bed, for it hugs him on all sides, said sides don’t collapse when he leans his hulking body against it and, most importantly for me, it looks stylish in the house too.

When I asked him to pose for photos I couldn’t get him out of the darn thing!

vizsla in bed The Photo Gallery 194: Animals Vizsla The Photo Gallery 194: Animals poppy rufus dog bed The Photo Gallery 194: Animals

This post is for week 194 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is Animals.

If you’re new here and want to know what The Gallery is, go and read here, and then come right back and join in!

 You can also pick up The Gallery code if you want too, though it’s not a requirement for joining in.
And you could also subscribe to this blog to make sure you never miss a theme; they are posted here every Friday.

Now go forth and show some big blog love. Visit other bloggers, comment on their post if you feel moved to do so, and be inspired.
This virtual gallery of photographs is about enjoying each other’s work, so go make someone’s day. You will get out of this whatever you put in.

The link stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.
And absolutely ANYONE can join in.

You can also find The Photo Gallery on: Pinterest Google + Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

See you over there x



Posted in Pets, Reviews, The Gallery | 10 Comments

5 tips for making a family cruise stress free

H2O splash zone 5 tips for making a family cruise stress free

1. Do your research
Not all cruise ships are created equally. Some are specifically tailored for families – with their facilities, their shore excursions and their onboard shows. That’s the sort of ship you want.
Check out their kids clubs (even if your children are shy and say they don’t want to join in, I’ve found most eventually gravitate there and end up making great friends). Are the activities varied, are they age specific, can you read any reviews of them?
Now check out what else is there onboard for children to do? Are there sports facilities, what are the pools like, is there a movie screen?

Holiday Inn Southampton 2 5 tips for making a family cruise stress free

2. Make the start of your holiday as stress-free as possible.
We recently sailed from Southampton, which is a good 2 hour drive for where we live. Doing that drive just before you board can make everyone grumpy and irritable and heaven forbid if you get stuck in traffic. You end up dreading the start of your holiday.
However, we drove down the night before and stayed at the Southampton Holiday Inn, taking advantage of their ‘Stay and Cruise’ package; you travel to Southampton the day before, enjoy a night’s stay, parking for the duration of your cruise and transfer to and from the terminal (which is about a 5 minute journey) – and believe you me, it’s an absolute godsend at the end of your trip when the queue for taxis snakes around the terminal exit and you get to stroll to your own private taxi.
The package starts at £175 bed and breakfast and the hotel is spot on for families.
Our stay was gifted to us for the purpose of a review, but I’d highly recommend adding it on to your trip if you can afford it as it really did make the start of our cruise so much easier. An added bonus is that it’s situated right on the port so you can watch ships come and go; another great way to get kids excited about their trip.

royal caribbean ice show 5 tips for making a family cruise stress free

3. Switch off
Wifi onboard ships can be very expensive so tell yourselves this is the time to step away from all things online and have a blast.
It’s going to be a lot harder for teenagers to buy into that, but if you’ve picked the right ship with plenty for them to do, they will have forgotten about Facebook and FaceTime and be having some good old-fashioned fun instead!
Take advantage on the free onboard entertainment and get them to see things they wouldn’t ordinarily experience, like West End shows or ice skating extravaganzas.

4. Give the kids cool jobs
One of my children’s very favourite things to do once onboard is to ‘map’ the ship. Find out where everything is, suss out the best pools to visit, decide which restaurant we should try.
With older kids you can send them off to do it on their own; if your children are younger you can go on the adventure with them.
They love exploring the lifts, finding out where different decks lead to and discovering the shortcuts to their favourite places. Better still, give them a camera and tell them to photograph their favourite bits for you all to look at later.
If they really get into it, you can give them some A4 paper and get them to actually draw a map of the bits they’ve discovered on the ship.
On our recent cruise with P&O, I had the layout sussed by day 4. My 11-year-old had it sussed by day 1! Not only is it fun for them, it’s really useful for you!

air hockey e1405769754927 5 tips for making a family cruise stress free

5. Have family time
If you’ve picked the right cruise ship there will be so much for your kids to do, you’ll hardly see them. But try to leave some time for doing fun stuff together. Watch a movie all cuddled up on sun beds together. Pick a shore excursion you will all love. Have a ping pong tournament.

I think a cruise is such an amazing experience, especially for families. So much to see and do, the chance to be independent in total safety and the opportunity to explore different countries without the hassle of constant travel in-between venues.

Posted in Family Holiday, Travel | Tagged | 5 Comments

My top 10 travel essentials

travel essentials My top 10 travel essentials

We’re off on our travels very soon and all thoughts turn to packing.
No matter how many times I step on an aeroplane, I always always do that mad panic – have I got my camera, have I got stuff to entertain the kids, have I got mints for the husband to help with the ear popping thing.

Well this year I’m thinking of me. What do I need, what do I want?
And after years of travelling – with and without children – these are the things I just can’t do without. The things that make my travels so much more chilled out!

1. When travelling with my family I have four passports, four lots of boarding passes, credit cards, bits of paper with phone numbers on, sheets of information. Having a travel document wallet transformed my life. Everything in one place and not at the bottom of the cavernous bag I need to take everywhere with me. Amazon, £1.99

2. My trusty Panama hat. I bought this one from Monsoon years ago and they still sell it now, which is kind of a testament to how essential it is. Monsoon, £15

3. Travel of any kind plays havoc with your hydration levels – especially your lips. My favourite to have on hand is Burt’s Bees because it’s lush, it smells good and it’s all natural too. Boots, £3.69

4. I’ve used a lot of sun protection creams over the years but I always come back to this one. We discovered it one year in the States and now stock up whenever we can. Amazon, £8.41

5. I can’t wait to try out this Lifeproof cover for my iPhone I’ve been sent to review – photographs no matter what the conditions. Essential. Waterproof, shockproof, snow proof, dirt proof. It’s top of my list now on any journey. John Lewis, from £59.95

6. Whether you’re on an aeroplane or in a tent, if you want a decent nap an eye mask should definitely be in your luggage. John Lewis, £4.99

7. I don’t know how I ever managed before discovering dry shampoo. Now I don’t go ANYWHERE without it! Instant revival for your hair. Boots, from £2.99

8. Whenever I travel the first thing I want to do is kick my shoes off. And be able to kick them back on again in a hurry when needed. I’ve just ordered these Dr Marten sandals and am hoping they fit the bill. They look awesome. Cloggs, £50

9. Something else I’ve been sent to review while on holiday – this Old Bag Company beach bag which comes complete with a pouch for your magazine, your mobile phone and even one for your flip flops. And there’s acres of space for everyone else’s junk essentials. Old Bag Company, £47.99

10. I’m a recent convert to Bare Minerals make up and this tinted face primer with a massive 30 SPF is spot on. I’ve been using it here in England while it’s been positively tropical (!) and the last thing you want to do is apply make up, and it feels and looks wonderful. Bare Minerals, £23

So, there are my travel essentials, what are yours?

Posted in Lists, Travel | 6 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 194

Gallery logo The Photo Gallery: Week 194Hello and welcome to week 194 of The Photo Gallery.

This is going to be the last Gallery theme for a couple of weeks as I will be away sunning myself. I’m taking a break from the online world and diving headlong into two weeks with my family and being a mum and a wife.

So, this week the Gallery theme is something close to my heart: Animals.  

Your beloved pets, animals you encounter on a walk, wild animals, zoo animals, horses, pigs, lions, tigers and bears. Oh my!

The Gallery started back in 2010 when I kicked it off for the first time with this post: Photo Gallery Week 1. There were loads of comments but when I moved this blog over to WordPress, Intense Debate ate them all up. But suffice to say some of you guys who still join in today were back there with me on that first week. And that is just amazing!

I set the Gallery up because I love photography. And I wanted to give everyone else an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around them.
And it has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

See you on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Or by joining in the Gallery communities over on Pinterest and Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here and want to find out what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter visit here.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to Sticky Fingers and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | 1 Comment

A day in Bruges with kids

Bruges chocolate shop A day in Bruges with kids

A town which smells faintly of chocolate. What’s not to love?!
Bruges is all the things I had heard it would be: Pretty, historic, interesting.
Rambling cobbled streets are lined with medieval masterpieces of architecture and the canals, which snake through the town, give it an almost fairytale feel.
Added to that, Bruges is famed for its beer, its art and promises a day you won’t forget.

But how do you enjoy a day in Bruges with children in tow? How do you make this gem of a day trip interesting to them too?

Well first of all, Bruges is small enough to fit everything in in one day; it’s very walkable and everything is within an easy stroll. And it’s enchanting enough to make even a wander along the streets an interesting journey.
My family and I spent the day here during a recent cruise with P&O, and Bruges was one of our stop off points.
So here are my top tips for what to do when in Bruges for a day with children in tow:

1. Head to the Market Square
This is the heart of Bruges where you will find your fill of medieval buildings which loom above you.
The square is pedestrian only, but you have to keep on your guard for the mopeds, bicycles and horses and carts which come whizzing through like scurrying ants on their way to somewhere important.
You will also find lots of restaurants offering Belgium delights such as moules et frites (mussels and fries), local beer and waffles.
But if you wander off the main drag you will find the prices reduce significantly – if you want to experience the full-on tourist bit by sitting in the square, you will pay the price!
Also when travelling with kids, mussels make for great comedy photos . . . (see below).

moules et frites 764x1024 A day in Bruges with kids not a fan of moules 765x1024 A day in Bruges with kids

2. Take a boat ride
These boats which navigate the canals are excellent value for money.
They’re relatively cheap (about 7.60 Euros for an adult, 3.40 for a child) and your ‘captain’ and guide will share lots of interesting information, facts and history as you snake around the water seeing a whole other side of the town that you could miss on foot.

Bruges boat A day in Bruges with kids

3. Ride a horse-drawn carriage 
The sound of horses hooves clip clopping on the cobbled streets is very hypnotic, and you can climb onboard for an alternative tour of the town.
You can find them in the Market Square and the ride takes around half an hour and cost about 39 euro per carriage (you can fit up to five 5 people in one carriage).

4. Buy the chocolate. All the chocolate.
It’s everywhere. Shops upon shops of the stuff. From the Belgium shells we all know and love to chocolate slabs, fancy filled chocolates – even chocolate boobies much to my children’s delight.
For yes, chocolate is big business here in Bruges and you will find all manner of sweet treats to buy and take home (if you can make it last that long that is!) I can highly recommend the giant chocolate crispy wheels (around 150 Euros).

Bruges chocolate shop2 A day in Bruges with kids

5. Eat freshly-made waffles
We found the street vendors were actually rather better than the restaurants. PLUS you get to wander around the cobbled streets with a larger than life tray of sweet treats, scooping it up with a plastic spoon. The kids thought this was a highlight!
They’re around 5 Euros each but my goodness me they are worth the price! And no you won’t want to share it.

IMG 6090 1024x1024 A day in Bruges with kids

Bruges waffle 764x1024 A day in Bruges with kids

6. Climb the Belfry 
There are 366 (one for each day of the year) steps to the top of the Belfry Tower and once you’re at the top there are gorgeous views over Bruges. It costs about 8 Euros for an adult and 6 for children. Just make sure you leave some time after eating that waffle . . .

Also, don’t do what I did and FORGET to take your camera. Actually I forgot the camera battery but was really lucky to have spent the day there with another family, and the mum had just bought herself a new camera and didn’t really know her way around it so offered it to me to snap away with. THANK GOODNESS!
So thank you Fiona, you are a star and I am indebted to you!

Bruges tour A day in Bruges with kids Bruges buildings A day in Bruges with kids Most famous dog in Bruges A day in Bruges with kids

The most famous dog in Bruges (according to our boat tour guide). He is always sat there on his first floor balcony, on his cushion, fast asleep, ignoring the tourists who snap away at him all day long!

Posted in Family Holiday, Travel | 12 Comments

The Photo Gallery 193: My View Right Now

poppy field The Photo Gallery 193: My View Right Now

I very very rarely know which photograph I’m going to use each week for the Gallery.
Every single week I set the theme then do the ‘oh bugger, what photo am I going to use’ on a Tuesday as I realise I set a theme I don’t have a picture for.
But not this week. This week I chose the theme weeks ago. And I chose it when I happened upon this sight while we were on a family camping trip.

It was a ‘STOP everything and let me get my camera out’ moment!

This post is for week 193 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is My View Right Now.

If you’re new here and want to know what The Gallery is, go and read here, and then come right back and join in!

 You can also pick up The Gallery code if you want too, though it’s not a requirement for joining in.
And you could also subscribe to this blog to make sure you never miss a theme; they are posted here every Friday.

Now go forth and show some big blog love. Visit other bloggers, comment on their post if you feel moved to do so, and be inspired.
This virtual gallery of photographs is about enjoying each other’s work, so go make someone’s day. You will get out of this whatever you put in.

The link stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.
And absolutely ANYONE can join in.

You can also find The Photo Gallery on: Pinterest Google + Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

See you over there x



Posted in The Gallery | 17 Comments

11 family friendly days out in England

Family days out in England 11 family friendly days out in England

With the school summer holidays fast approaching if you’re anything like me, you’ll have a spreadsheet prepared for things to do, places to visit, people to see – all designed to fill those six weeks that stretch like infinity in front of you!

Yes, that’s right, I produce a spreadsheet because it’s the only way I can keep track of what we’re doing, what I’ve planned and who we can fit it.
Otherwise it would be chaos. Or even more chaos than usual.

So, I thought it would be helpful to not only list some great places to visit as a family, but show what actual parents thought of them.
From the horse’s mouth so to speak. With all the inside knowledge you need to know.

So, here you go. 10 of the UK’s top family friendly days out in England, in no particular order. As well as a few other days out thrown in.

legoland easter island statues 11 family friendly days out in England

1. Legoland, Windsor
I’ve visited here a couple of times with my kids and they utterly adore it.
But what are the pros and cons? What should you watch out for? And what should you avoid?

Pink Oddy took her two young boys during October, so experienced the park in the not so warm!
Franglaise Mummy offers up some top tips for visiting the park.
The Mum Blog talks ticket prices and visits with slightly older children.
Sticky Fingers (that’s me!) reviews the Legoland hotel and a day in the park.
My Gorgeous Boys offers practical tips for visiting with younger ones.
A Strong Coffee offers tips on visiting during peak season.
Romanian Mum visits with a four-year old.

cadbury world 11 family friendly days out in England

2. Cadbury World
A world of Chocolate in the heart of Birmingham, the visitor attraction is not a factory tour, but is on the site of the factory.

Sticky Fingers visits with three school-age children
Me and My Shadow gives a guided walk through.
Baby Budgeting visits at Christmas time.
Not Supermum visits with teenagers.

harry potter studios 11 family friendly days out in England

3. Harry Potter Studios
This requires no introduction really! Set at the Leavesden studios where the films were made over 10 years, it’s a celebration of film making showing how the movies were made.

English Mum offers her top 10 tips on visiting the studios.
Sticky Fingers (woo hoo, me again) visits with a HUGE Harry Potter fan and posts a photo-heavy review.
Really Missing Sleep visits with two boys.
Chelsea Mamma gives a step by step tour of the attraction
Mellow Mummy takes her four-year old to visit.
Joanne Mallon compares Harry Potter Studios to Chessington World of Adventure.
Mum of 3 World visits with her family of Harry Potter fans.

Drayton manor 11 family friendly days out in England

4. Drayton Manor theme park
Based in Tamworth, Stafforshire, this park is set in 280 acres and features a mix of thrill rides, a zoo and Thomas Land for younger visitors.

Sticky Fingers visits the park with school aged children and tries out the hotel.
Olivers Madhouse reviews the park’s Thomas Land.
Monsters Fun House visits with very little ones.
A Mother’s Ramblings tries out the Ben 10 roller coaster for size.
Single Parent Dad offers 10 tips for visiting the park.

alton towers 11 family friendly days out in England

5. Alton Towers theme park
Famed for its gardens as well as it’s thrill rides, this theme park in the heart of England also boasts a water park and hotel complex.

A Day in This Dad’s Life visits with 3 young children.
Sticky Fingers photographs the  bits of Alton Towers you don’t normally see photographed.
Mellow Mummy and ET Speaks from Home both take a look at Cbeebies land.
92three30 reviews the Splash Landings Hotel and water park.

6. Sealife Centre, Birmingham
Set in the heart of Birmingham’s canal district, this aquarium is perfectly placed for a family day out. It’s also close to the stunning new Birmingham Library – a day out in itself!

A New Addition met the new penguins there.
Mutterings of a Fool visited with littlies.
Parenthood Highs and Lows shares her visit to the centre.

7. Thorpe Park
Based in Surrey and aimed at the teenage audience, the park is home to many high-octane thrill rides.

Mummy Barrow offers some top tips (and a couple of whines)
Franglaise Mummy asks whether it’s any good for younger children.
Chelsea Mamma visits with teenagers and little ones.
Mamma Owl spends Father’s Day at the park with her big kid (and 5 smaller kids!).

Day out in London 11 family friendly days out in England

8. London
With so much to see and do in the capital, where do you head first? Here are some ideas.

The Syders
go sightseeing in the capital, including the Tower of London and a Thames cruise. While Mummy to Boyz headed for the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. There’s another Science Museum review from NixdMinx along with lots of tips and information.
Mummy Barrow gets the fright of her life when she visits the London Dungeons.
Kidding Herself offers lots of information on visiting the Royal Academy of Arts.

9. Blackpool Tower & Pleasure Beach
Theme park based on the west coast of England, in Lancashire along with the tower which was inspired by the Eiffel Tower.

Typecast visits the relaunch of the tower and offers lots of tips and information.
A New Addition offers some great photos of the Pleasure Beach, while You’re Not From Round here reviews Nickelodeon Land

10. Peppa Pig World
Situated in the New Forest, Hampshire, and aimed squarely at fans of the pig family. Oink oink.
One Tiny Leap offers tips on how to survive Peppa Pig World.
Mama Owl writes an honest view of visiting with a family.
Pink Oddy takes two youngsters to the park.
Mellow Mummy takes her three-year old for a birthday treat.

11. Chessington World of Adventures
Theme park, zoo and aquarium all rolled into one venue in Surrey.

Rollercoaster Mum reveals how she’s graduated from Legoland to Chessington!
Really Missing Sleep visited during the Easter holidays.
Global Mouse Travels offers 20 top tips for visiting the park.
One Blue One Pink takes two little ones to the park.
Mama Mummy Mum visits with four girls.

You could also visit:

CASTLES
Alnwick Castle in the heart of Northumberland: Reviewed by Knees Up Mother Brown who visited with two small children and 92three30 visited on a Bank Holiday weekend.
Kenilworth Castle in the West Midlands: Reviewed by Bubba Blue and Me who visited during school half term with her three-year old and In the Playroom  who visited with her three young boys.

SAFARI PARKS and ZOOs
Chester Zoo
as reviewed by Katie Cupcake and Knees Up Mother Brown who charged around the zoo with a double buggy hired for her two children!
West Midlands Safari Park reviewed by Always Be A Friend who visited during winter time.
Longleat: Chelsea Mamma visits and meets Steve Backshall at the venue, while Practically Perfect Mums offers a breakdown of what you can expect there.
Juggle Mum gets down with the beasts to visit Knowsley Safari Park while Munchies and Munchkins and New Mum Online visit Bristol Zoo.
The Princess and the Pickle offers some lovely photos of the elephants at Woburn Safari Park and finally In the Playroom takes some great shots of London Zoo.

OTHER DAYS OUT

Of course, you ask bloggers for their days out reviews and you get INUNDATED!
So here are a few more you might like to consider:
Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff. 
Flamingo Land, Yorkshire
Moors Valley Park 
The Gruffalo Trail, Essex
Hatton Adventure World, West Midlands
Hampton Court Palace
Plymouth National Marine Aquarium
Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire
Gullivers Kingdom, Matlock
Conkers, Leicester
Mersea Island, Essex

Posted in Days Out, Travel | 15 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 193

Gallery logo The Photo Gallery: Week 193Hello and welcome to week 193 of The Photo Gallery.

Last week’s theme of The Great Outdoors showed me how you all lead such amazingly different lives.
Some jog along the sea shore, some travel lots, some look out onto an urban landscape day in day out and some have the most beautiful tree-lined vistas on their doorstep. Yes, yes, I have a bit of a thing for trees!

So, this week I’ve set the Gallery theme as: My View Right Now.  

Be that outside your window, on your way to work, on your morning run/jog/amble, on the school run, on your holiday. Show us what you see.

Can you believe the Photo Gallery is on it’s 193rd week?
I still love it as much now as I did back in 2010 when I kicked it off for the first time with this post: Photo Gallery Week 1. There were loads of comments but when I moved this blog over to WordPress, Intense Debate ate them all up. But suffice to say some of you guys who still join in today were back there with me on that first week. And that is just amazing!

I set the Gallery up because I love photography. And I wanted to give everyone else an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around them.
And it has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

See you on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Or by joining in the Gallery communities over on Pinterest and Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here and want to find out what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter visit here.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to Sticky Fingers and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | Leave a comment