So I have been thinking about this post, just to offer a bit of advice and let my readers know about our experiences. I hope it will help especially if you are starting your journey as a parent and thinking, oh my goodness I want to go away but the thought of getting on a plane with all the baby stuff freaks you out or thinking about where to go in this country, so here are our experiences, I hope you enjoy reading about them, I have loved looking back at some old photos, we have had some great times.
Holidays abroad - Well I can't offer heaps of advice as we have only been on a plane with George once when he was two, but lots of parents do it and just remember unless you are going to the back of beyond there are supermarkets in other countries!! Or like us consider France we have been twice, the first trip was via Euro camp to Loire when George was fourteen months we went with my sister and her family and we loved it. It's so easy packing up the car with everything you need park up on the ferry, get out have a walk around then back in the car, or your other option is the Euro Tunnel which is even quicker, we haven't used it but my dad has and its again so easy and very quick! The second time we visited France we booked via Euro camp again and stayed near Paris so managed a trip to Euro Disney , we really loved this resort so much to do for the little ones and it was only a three hour drive from Calais. There are a few downsides weather can still be a little hit and some resorts are a long drive but personally we love road trips and enjoy the adventure and so do the kids! We have been on one lovely all inclusive holiday with George to Tenerife, it was just what we needed at the time I was half way through my pregnancy with Tilly and it was a restful break and a beautiful resort they did have a kids club but we didn't really use it I think George was a little young but for four on wards they are great. If they are your thing, look out for holidays abroad with a crèche or kids club so you can have a break and enjoy some time as a couple. Also look at going to a family friendly villa the website we used to book our Brighton trip Kid & Coe has properties all over the world all ready to accommodate families, look to book with a group of you or with family that way you take it in turns to babysit also going to a villa that is well equipped for a family takes off the pressure when worrying what to pack and that can be limited when flying.
Go in your own country - we have had some fabulous breaks away in the UK again I know the weather is not guaranteed but the kids still have a great time and you get quality time together as a family and that is the most important thing. One of our favourite places to visit is Norfolk I will list the website later in my post, we stayed in lovely accommodation near Wells-Next-The-Sea North Norfolk the owners are so friendly and they do not put their prices up during school holidays. It was all set up for a young family with everything we needed and we had a great time. We also love North Devon and have stayed at Woolacombe Bay quite a few times now, if you have pre-school children you can get some fantastic deals.
Festivals - We have been to the Big Feastival twice so far and booked for this year, loved it, you get to properly relax as there is so much for the kids to do, George and Tilly really enjoyed it and you can read all about our last visit here. Festivals are a great way to get away from it all and there is the balance loads for the kids to do but its also fun for the grown ups too! For my UK readers if you google family friendly festivals there are quite a few happening around the UK this summer.
Go camping - Again the kids love a bit of camping, yes the organisation and style of accommodation is a bit daunting as you feel like you need to pack the kitchen sink but its great fun. We hired a camper van when George was about ten months old it was great we toured round some of North Devon, it was such a memorable break away, you can cheat like we did and opt for having electric hook up which can help if the evenings are chilly so you can pop the heater on, but there is nothing better than enjoying the out doors and watching beautiful sun sets.
We have booked to go here for the end of May bank holiday weekend, I am so looking forward to putting our bell tent to good use again. The Cotswolds is only down the road for us. It's such a great way to spend time together and to enjoy all the fresh air.
Have a break just the two of you - My main advice is do not leave it as long as we did! Our first break away just the two of us was last year for one night thirty minutes down the motorway in Cheltenham!! We stayed at Hotel Du Vin and it was just what we needed to chill out we were probably only away twenty four hours but it did us the world of good and the kids were more than fine with their Nanny. This year we are taking it up a level and going to Sweden for a friends wedding in a few weeks, Nanny is coming to stay for the whole weekend and I know they will be fine I will miss them, but the thought of a whole weekend just us two is so exciting. To be 'us' again, cannot wait. So if you do have family or friends that can take over for a night or a weekend don't wait years like we did!! Do it!
Alternatively if you don't feel ready to leave your little ones, look for a hotel with a crèche or baby monitor system so you can enjoy some time on your own but still have some time with the little ones we have stayed at Woolley Grange Hotel near Bath it's a super hotel with lovely grounds for the kids to run around and a Spa to use while they are in the Creche which is great loads of toys and the staff are lovely. We have stayed there twice they are part of the Luxury Family Hotels with similar hotels around the UK.
Go on your own or with friends - us Mummy's need a break (I know dads do to but its not quite the same!!) So book a girly one I went to Croatia last week for my friends hen do and we had a ball!
I haven't laughed so much in ages and John did an amazing job looking after George and Tilly so if you can book a girly one or go on your own even if its just for a night and leave your other half to hold the fort! Don't feel guilty either although I did, I keep saying to John its his turn to get away now.
It is so important to get away and kids really benefit from it, for older children its so educational, we will at some point be taking our kids out of school for a holiday so they can experience the culture and see some of Europe. I refuse to pay the prices for flights during school holidays for the next fourteen years, but that is a rant for another day!!
I know from being a mummy for almost five years now holidays especially with babies and toddlers it's not the same, but it can be lots of fun and there are ways to make it a lot easier, I have done heaps of research over the years, so now I am going to share with you a list of great websites we have used for planning breaks and holidays, if you have any questions at all about the places we have enjoyed as a family please do not hesitate to contact me via email or comment below. If you have any places or tips you would like to share with my readers and I please do comment . I will from time to time be adding to this list or I may set up a separate page on this blog designated to travel tips.
Eurocamp holidays - www.eurocamp.co.uk
Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park- www.woolacombe.co.uk
Barnhouse Holidays Cottages - www.barnhouseholidays.com
Kid & Coe - Take The Kids www.kidandcoe.com
Far Peak Camping - Cotswolds - www.farpeakcamping.co.uk
The Big Feastival - www.jamieoliver.com/thebigfeastival
O Connors Campers Oakhampton Devon www.oconnorscampers.co.uk
Woolley Grange Hotel - Nr Bath www.woolleygrangehotel.co.uk
Luxury Family Hotels www.luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk/
Boutique Camping - www.boutiquecamping.com
So thank you so much for reading everyone it turned out to be such a long post but I had a lot to write about! I hope you have enjoyed this post and found it useful.