A deserted beach, fresh air and no screens!
One balmy evening, last September, we stood atop a sand dune on the ‘Forth Riviera’ looking down at a white sandy mile-long beach and saw not one single person. It was hard to believe we were just a thirty minute drive east of Edinburgh. As we admired the stunning views of the Forth estuary and the Bass Rock, the kids bombed down the sand dune on the sledges they’d just borrowed from the ‘glamp site’. Continue reading
In these difficult economic times, there is a growing trend for families to take their holidays all together: grandparents, parents and grandchildren.
It makes perfect sense. Share the costs with people you know and trust, bring your family closer together and create happy long lasting memories – especially for young children. Ideal some would say, but be aware there can be pitfalls…
Secrets to a happy holiday with friends
There are many benefits to holidaying with friends such as shared costs, larger properties, friends on tap for the kids, joint childcare opportunities and a guaranteed social life. But there are many potential pitfalls too which could affect your friendship and even your marriage… Continue reading
Young children and airports – not always a happy combination. Of course, there’s nothing in the world quite like being met off a flight by your kids but travelling with them, well, that can be… stressful.
Airports are just inherently exciting to kids of all ages, the plane landings, the take-offs, the general buzz and activity, the uniforms, all those nooks and crannies, the cool shops and the ride-on luggage trollies, screens to see, buttons to push.
Then, all we ask them to do in this purpose-built adventure land is to stand still, be quiet, don’t touch, queue and wait and queue and wait and get up off the floor and behave! At least on the plane, they are securely strapped down.
The pressure builds while all the other passengers watch. And judge. Kids just know that you must be on your best behaviour, even if they are not. They know you’ve been temporarily de-clawed and don’t they just love it? They have a captive audience of your hostile jurors.
Finally, boredom, frustration, stress, sugar and tiredness sets in and one of them pukes just as you start boarding…
However, there are some ways to smooth the ride from Check-In to Boarding…
Are we nearly there yet?
In the last 5 years my family has undertaken three epic family road trips around Europe (from Scotland to Portugal, and from Scotland to Croatia twice).
1) Treat the car journey as the start of your holiday.
The key to a successful long car journey with kids is to think of it as the start of your holiday and make sure you all enjoy it. This is a chance to spend family time together, to talk, to share each other’s time, ideas, music etc. (Our book, the Family Travel Journal can help stressed and tired parents out here!) Essentially kids just love having your undivided attention.
Every time you complete a journey that is actually fun for the children, the easier it will be to sell them on the idea of travelling by car next time.
“There’s a snake up there Daddy!”
No one even bothered looking up. Sam, 8, had been attention-seeking all day… Continue reading
Stunning lochside country hotel on the banks of Loch Awe
Perhaps best visited without the kids…..but children are very welcome!
This hotel is a former winner of “Most Romantic Hotel”, Taychreggan Hotel is a stunning haven of peace nestling in its own bay on the shores of glorious Loch Awe. The hotel lies at the end of a seven mile single track lane where you find yourself pausing to give way to fearless Red Deer in no hurry to get where they’re going. Then, as you order your glass of wine and wander down to the hotel’s private jetty or the lovers’ bench out on the promontory – the only sounds you will hear are wildlife and the gentle murmurings of fishermen chatting half a mile away out on the Loch… So this place is probably best for older kids then, though children are welcome. Continue reading
Centre Parcs Whinfell Forest is not cheap but overall it’s good value for money. There is simply so much to do for the kids and for families to do together while still remaining relaxed. You never feel like you’re just ferrying the kids from activity to activity.You can join in with many sessions like football or rock climbing or tennis or drop them off for a lesson or one of the kids activities clubs and spend the afternoon in the luxurious Spa. You can eat in or dine out, book a babysitter and go the pub or enjoy a sauna and an early night… We just love these kind of weekends where the kids are worn out having the time of their lives, then we can collapse on the sofa with a bottle of wine and a movie.
The staff, mostly recruited locally too, are really superb which makes such a difference.
In May we spent two nights in pods the Ecocamp site in Glenshee near Blairgowrie in Perthshire.
“A wooden tent” is how the owner describes his pods and you can’t argue. The pods are high enough to stand up in, they won’t blow away and have electric heating, lighting and a window with glorious views of the Glen and their three resident Llamas. It’s quite a special location to spend a few days with friends, dog walking, mountain biking, skiing etc. Continue reading
Lands of Turnberry is a self-catering enclave of extremely spacious and well appointed apartments and lodges within the luxury Turnberry Resort. Although separate from the main hotel we had full access to the spa facilities and, if we had wished ‘privileged access’ to the world famous golf courses. The Ailsa Craig views are stunning, the beaches are great, there’s an attached farm for the kids, a supervised kids room in the hotel, an evening baby sitting service while you enjoy the top class restaurant or spa. We loved Lands of Turnberry but the extras can add up… Continue reading