Spring is finally here, thank goodness! I feel ready for lots of Spring days out enjoying the sun.
This month was Mothers Day in the UK and I wrote about a wonderful afternoon tea I enjoyed at the Manor House Hotel in Castle Combe, Wiltshire. Often proclaimed as one of England’s prettiest villages, it’s easy to see why as Castle Combe has so many charming half-timbered houses, a river running through the village, traditional English pubs and beautiful countryside. You won’t find pavements or lamp posts here but you will find a quaint English village of a bygone age. Often seen on screen in movies and TV programmes, it’s a popular location for filming.
On Mother’s Day itself I spent the day at Dyrham Park, also in Wiltshire, a National Trust property with a deer park, magnificent country house, chapel and wonderful gardens. The kids ran free down the hills in the sunshine and it was truly a bucolic and beautiful day.
Ham House is another National Trust property, this time in London. One hot Summer’s day, when staying in London, instead of heading into the centre for the museums we visited Ham House in Richmond. We spent a lovely day exploring the house, the gardens and the fascinating royal history.
Also in London, I shared my experiences of taking children to the Royal Albert Hall. This London cultural institution has a fantastic programme of child-friendly concerts. We went to see Disney’s Broadway Hits, which turned out to be surprisingly grown up but still a delight.
If you’ve never been to Lanzarote you may think of it as a destination for year round sun worshippers, but this Canary Island also has a rich artistic and architectural heritage thanks to one of its most famous inhabitants, Cesar Manrique. Combine this with Lanzarote’s volcanic Timanfaya Park for a sightseeing trip full of imagination and inspiration.
A place that really inspired me was Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral in Florida. The opportunity to see the Atlantis Space Shuttle and meet an astronaut who has lived on the International Space Station was truly fantastic and an experience I know my children will remember for a long time to come (as will I). If you’re heading to Florida, it’s just over an hour from Orlando and well worth a visit.
Not quite reaching space, AirHop is apparently the world’s largest trampoline park, in Bristol, England. Open to all ages, it’s an incredible place to go for a bounce!
In March I had the opportunity to learn chocolate making at the Chocolate Tart Cookery School in Bristol. A most delicious and educational afternoon, it was a real treat.
My 3 most popular posts in March were:
Captiva Island, Florida. If you are travelling to Florida, look beyond the theme parks to the fabulous wildlife and beaches of South Seas Resort, Captiva Island. Manatees swimming in the marina outside your room, dolphins playing in the waves, herons patrolling the sea front and the beaches made of shells make this a simply wonderful place to stay. Sunsets here are out of this world and the cocktails are pretty good as well.
Brighton, YHA Youth Hostel. You may not have considered a youth hostel for a city break but YHA Brighton was a great spot for several families to get together. The hostel was once a Regency hotel where royalty stayed and has en-suite bathrooms, sea views and a great bar and cafe area.
Spend the night in a haunted castle, St Briavels YHA Youth Hostel. Who wouldn’t want to spend the night in a haunted castle! What an experience. If you are going, check when they are doing the Medieval Banquets they are well worth joining in. St Briavels is owned by English Heritage and operated by the Youth Hostel Association so your stay is also in a good cause.
Youth hostels, be they city breaks or in haunted castles, were a popular read this month! I’ve booked to stay in 2 other YHA hostels that I haven’t visited before, YHA Beer in Devon, England and Port Eynon in Wales. Port Eynon YHA is in a converted lifeboat station right on the beach, you literally could only be nearer the sea if you were in it.
In April I am heading to the historic city of Porto in Portugal so let’s see how I get on port tasting with children in tow!
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing have a wonderful April.
March round up
AirHop Bristol /Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe, Wiltshire/Kennedy Space Centre/Lanzarote/Ham House, Richmond, London/Chocolate Tart Cookery School, Bristol/Brighton YHA /St Briavels Haunted Castle YHA/Royal Albert Hall, London
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