When you think of places to fill a child with glee Brussels may not come to mind first. However, the combination of chocolates, waffles, chips, comic books, the birthplace of Jean-Claude Van Damme and a statue of a small boy weeing may change your mind! There is also the bonus of it being perfectly acceptable to say ‘Manneken pis’ as many times as possible without anyone being able to tell you off!
I am writing this to wholeheartedly apologise for making your life more difficult on Sunday evening.
I travelled home on the Eurostar from Brussels to London on Sunday evening after saying goodbye to my husband who is working abroad. I then proceeded to board the Eurostar on my own with my three young children in tow.
In early February on a grey rainy afternoon we found ourselves trudging through the forest looking for a huge den to accommodate all 9 of us along with my (rather heavy) cast iron fondue set. This adventure is best not to be taken too seriously - you don’t want to go far carrying a cast iron fondue set and there is always the threat of the meths spilling out everywhere - but the hot bubbling reward at the end is worth it!
If you want to thoroughly wear your children out take them to National Trusts Anglesey Abbey. To keep them occupied there is a 2-story tree house, woodland xylophone, secret garden, willow tunnel, discovery cabin to route around in, hammocks to lounge in, fortresses to protect, hay bales to run on and a dream dome for you to contemplate why you haven’t got quite as much energy as these little people! That’s all just in Hoe fen - then there is the rest of the gardens, the house, the mill and the restaurant.
This 16th Century Manor House is the boys favourite National Trust property. The interior was created by a collaboration between the National Trust and the BBC to reflect the house’s use through the ages. This is not a great spot for a Heritage purist, but if you are a little person who likes dressing up, playing chef and climbing in four poster beds, then it is the stuff dreams are made of.
If you ever find yourself unsuccessfully trying to persuade your little people out the door into the great outdoors, you may need some geocaching in your life! Treasure hunting, orienteering, a secret quest and scampering around in the leaves with the thrill of the find around the corner – what’s not to like?
Built 4500 years ago with what must have been a deep love or honour for its long-forgotten cause. The largest prehistoric stone circle in the World, with deep ditches and hundreds of stones, some of which are truly enormous. All worked by hand with simple tools and brute strength. If you can’t feel the wonder or the magic of this place then you are dead inside!
There are few places more magical than sunrise at Stonehenge. Standing there as others would have 5000 years ago, watching the same sun rise up between the stones – it doesn’t get more atmospheric than that.
Our trip to Dancing Ledge was about as idyllic as it could possibly be. A scenic coastal walk, a spot of rock climbing and then a swim in a crystal-clear pool with the tide lapping on the shore only feet away.
The lost gardens of Heligan are as magical as the story behind them. Hidden away under decades of weeds they were discovered and now thrive. Complete with its own jungle, rope bridge, magical gardens, sculptures, woodland, giant exotic plants, rare breeds and the best holiday actives for children imaginable.
Strolling across the sand causeway to Burgh Island from the mainland is simply not good enough. You have to time it so that you wade knee deep through the water, otherwise where’s the fun in that? You will be rewarded with an island to explore, panoramic views to wow and then a pint and packet of crisps in a 700 year old pub. You could even get the sea tractor back to shore to complete the adventure.
Arguably one of the Devon’s finest unspoilt beaches. Set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with dunes and rocky cliffs providing shelter from the wind and panoramic views onto picturesque Burgh Island. At high tide a ring of pale and fine sand frames the sea then at low tide it becomes a golden expanse, dotted with pockets of shallow water and fantastic rockpools for poking about in. A reputation as one of the best surf spots in Devon and to top it off a Gastrovan serving up culinary treats.